MEET THE FOUNDER
Lisa C. Buckley, Founder and Chairman
My three children have shaped me into the woman I am today – through their lives, I have found my own. My degree in elementary education, teaching and civic involvement have all had an impact, but my children are my true mentors. Motherhood has brought me some of my greatest joys and deepest sorrows. Knowing what I know now, would I do it all over again? Without hesitation, yes.
In the midst of incomprehensible grief, I was determined to find what some have termed “collateral beauty” – grace in the wake of tragedy. We all search for our why, our purpose in life, and losing Tim made mine crystal clear. I don’t profess to have all the answers, but I do know that Tim’s journey has taught me so much, and it is time for me to share. I learned that we are all unique and our differences should be respected. I learned that we all have gifts and the potential to use them.
Above all, I learned to walk alongside my son, without judgement, and to respect his path. This wasn’t an easy task, and some days were more challenging than others. I learned that I wasn’t in control, and I learned to take things one day at a time.
It is through my deepest pain and my unending love for my children, Tim, Allie and John, that The Tim Buckley Project was born. I am taking that love, combining it with my years of experience working for a private non-profit, and finding the collateral beauty. Tim is still teaching us lessons every day, and through his Project, we have the chance to share them with others.
Wendy Visgilio, Vice-Chairman
I have had the privilege of raising 4 amazing children, the youngest of whom has special needs. He shows our family unconditional love, true affection without any limitations, every single day. I believe that it is so important for everyone to receive this type of love, as it has given me the strength, confidence and belief that I am remarkable.
For youth that struggle with any number of things, this is a very powerful tool. Whether they are challenged Intellectually, emotionally or physically, having the gift of unconditional love can mean all the difference in the world. I have been involved in many organizations throughout the years and this particular opportunity with The Tim Buckley Project is so exciting to me. This is not only an opportunity to empower youth that may be vulnerable, but also to spread Tim’s message of unconditional love.
Debra White Swanski, Secretary
The Buckleys were our first family friends, and our relationship spans over 20 years. Their children an extension of our own, raised alongside one another. We watched them grow while we grew, sharing our joys and challenges, never expecting to be touched in such a way. We saw their efforts to save their son. Their compassion, their hope, their love and their unending commitment were as remarkable as their beautiful boy.
I am incredibly grateful to be a part of The Tim Buckley Project, drawing upon my time in the non-profit sector supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities, along with experience founding my company, Wiser Living. I am eager to support this project, whose mission I so firmly believe in, and whose focus is so timely and important.
Patrick Gingras, Treasurer
I live in the tight-knit community of Old Lyme with my wife, Katie, our children, Connor and Annie, and our tireless puppy. While I did not know Tim personally, the support I witnessed for the Buckley family had a lasting impact on me. This was further magnified while talking with Lisa about her vision, passion and determination to memorialize Tim with The Tim Buckley Project.
I am honored to serve as Treasurer, and I look forward to turning my professional experience as Co-President and Co-Founder of Brenton Point Wealth Advisors into a positive force in our community.
Allison Buckley, Board Member
Some of my scars, like the one on my knee, are visible. Others can’t be seen with the naked eye. A lifelong athlete, I suffered a catastrophic knee injury in college that took away my superpower, my source of strength and my purpose. But nothing compares to suffering the devastating loss of my brother, which took away a piece of my soul.
I’ve since begun coaching youth sports, which has allowed me to rediscover my passion. And through The Tim Buckley Project, I can remember my brother, the first person to offer a hand to someone in need, even when he himself needed support. I am confident that Tim would be proud of the message and purpose of this Project, and I am proud to honor my brother’s life by giving others a chance to be remarkable.
Katie Colburn, Board Member
Through my work in the elementary school and with the Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau, I have had the privilege to meet many remarkable young people. My eyes have been opened to the many struggles children and adults can face and how beneficial alternative support can be. I’ve also seen how much the smallest gesture or act of kindness can change someone’s life.
I am honored to work with my friend, Lisa Buckley, to turn an unthinkable tragedy into a platform to touch others’ lives. As I remind myself daily, “helping one person may not change the world, but it can change the world for one person.”
Missy Colburn Garvin, Board Member
I have worked for a private non-profit for the past 15 years, and it has been both challenging and incredibly rewarding. My eyes have been opened to the struggles that people encounter, whether related to financial woes, mental health, addiction or the overall challenges of daily life. I’ve learned that what makes someone remarkable is the way that they choose to approach their struggles.
While I didn’t know Tim Buckley well, I am lucky enough to know his mother, Lisa. Tim’s ability to face his challenges head-on shines through in Lisa. I have witnessed her take tragedy and pain and turn it into something amazing: The Tim Buckley Project. I am honored to be a part of this journey.
Jeannie Goldberg, Board Member
At a time when my oldest son was struggling in the public school system, the Buckleys offered wonderful support and advice. My son soon transferred to the private school Tim attended and is still thriving there today. Like all parents, I have learned so much from my three amazing boys. One has special needs and another has an autoimmune disorder, so I have seen first-hand the healing powers of alternative therapies. Over two decades as a pediatric nurse has also given me a unique perspective.
I look forward to sharing my experiences through The Tim Buckley Project and particularly Project Paws. Animals do not care if you are popular, athletic, smart, funny or healthy. They just provide unconditional love and acceptance – something that everyone should feel. Animals played a large role in Tim’s short but remarkable life, and I hope his namesake project will help them play an equally important role in the lives of others.
Ann Thompson Heller, Board Member
My own life journey has had its share of obstacles that, like a ripple effect, brought pain and suffering to many. I entered recovery from substance use disorder at the age of 19 and have since joined my family and loved ones on a journey of health, healing, and recovery. I’ve learned that struggle brings with it the chance to learn, and that discomfort can help us move in the direction of greater contentment and inner peace.
I’ve also learned that, just like pain, healing is a personal, family and community process. As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a recovery and mental health advocate, I now have the privilege of joining others on their journeys of health, healing and recovery. I look forward to reaching even more people through The Tim Buckley Project, bringing joy, promoting resilience and helping others learn the skills they need to move through life.
Brenna Visgilio, Board Member
My parents instilled in me at a very young age the importance of giving back. I started finding ways to contribute in high school and continued throughout college, where I had the opportunity to establish Love Your Melon, a cancer awareness movement, on campus. I loved the platform it provided to interact with families facing childhood cancer and bring smiles to children in incredibly difficult situations.
I know that The Tim Buckley Project, and Tim’s legacy, will also inspire young people to work through the challenges they face. I am especially excited to be involved with Project Paws, as a common thread in my friendship with Tim was our shared love of dogs. Just like Tim, these emotional support and therapy animals show non-judgmental loyalty, and so many of us can benefit from their lessons and love.
Emily G. Reynolds, Board Member
We often have ideas about the direction we want life to go and a desire for the kind of life we want to live. There is a story in us all; parts of it are beautiful, while other parts may be filled with struggle and even pain. It’s in those moments that we may find ourselves on the ‘rotary of life,’ going around and around, unsure of where to get off. It is amazing how this can lead to unexpected roads, bringing people and experiences into our lives at just the right time.
Over the last two years, these roads have led me to the Buckley family and The Tim Buckley Project. After years working in community mental health, I stepped away to tend to my growing family and began volunteering in our community. During this time, I also opened a private practice, where I continue to be a fierce advocate for those affected by mental illness or substance use disorders. Becoming a part of the Tim Buckley Project is an opportunity to use my skills and passion for helping others, and to honor a young man by supporting the social and emotional wellness of all people.
Matt Luxton, Board Member
From the time I was young, I was part of a loving family that included numerous foster children. Seeing the positive impact that a nurturing environment can have on children, some of whom had special needs, left an indelible mark on me. I’ve always felt a duty to give back, and I previously sat on the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Bar Association, and served as its President and fundraising co-chair. The Bar Association is dedicated to providing access to justice for underserved persons and communities, and I’m proud to have played a small role in that mission.
I recently moved from San Diego to Stonington with my wife and two children (and various animals) to be the General Counsel of Electric Boat Corporation. I had been searching for a meaningful way to give back to my new Connecticut community, and I’m excited to support the Tim Buckley Project. I especially connect with the Project’s focus on serving families that are striving to provide a nurturing environment for young people who are struggling with mental health disorders. I look forward to putting my skills and past experiences to good use.
Danielle St. Germain, Board Member
I am a devoted mother of two young men, loving partner, dedicated 5th grade teacher and passionate pet parent. Along life’s journey, I have been lucky enough to cross paths with people from all different backgrounds, and each has taught me to look at the world a little differently. I’ve also learned to think outside the box and to follow where life leads, even if it may not have been part of my original plan.
One thing I had never planned was training a therapy dog. But from the time we rescued our family dog, Puddin, it was clear that she was meant to help others. Her compassion is indescribable. Both Puddin and I love working with kids and helping them reach their full potential using humor and creativity. I have a deep appreciation for organizations that strive to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable populations, and I am so glad that Puddin led me toward this opportunity to make a difference. She and I are proud to be a therapy team in training with Project Paws and The Tim Buckley Project.
Catherine Dunlavey, Board Member
I’ve spent the last six years studying, working, and travelling in Scotland. During that time, I’ve learned that one of the most profound traits we can nurture in work and in our daily lives is curiosity. Knowing the Buckleys my whole life and growing up with Allie and Tim, as children and young adults, I was always amazed by Tim’s intellectual curiosity and his undeniable penchant for history and geography. During my time abroad, in addition to traveling and studying, I also played volleyball competitively and despite a busy schedule, I’ve been in a unique position to counsel individuals impacted by mental health and substance use disorders through technology, which wouldn’t have been possible had I not been open and curious to learning about something new.
The Tim Buckley Project feels born of the same desire and curiousity to bridge a gap in resources and support for families and to learn and do more for the community by fostering curiosity and normalizing the conversation about mental health and wellness. I strongly believe that both topics should be a part of daily language. I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of the foundation and I’m looking froward to helping continue its mission to support families with unique and meaningful initiates.