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.



Julie O’Brien

I feel blessed to be raising my three children in the close- knit community of Old Lyme, along with my husband Shane. As an active community member, involved with our schools, and a dedicated and experienced Board member with many local non- profits, I am aware of the growing mental health challenges that our youth are experiencing. Meeting the social emotional needs of our children has become a primary focus in education.

Becoming involved with this Project is something close to my heart. I believe that many families have been impacted with the struggles of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder.  Tim will forever be remembered as the funny, smart boy, with the glasses and infectious smile.

As a foster family for kittens, through Forgotten Felines, and proud owners of two beautiful Portuguese Water Dogs, Lyla and Brie, our family recognizes the importance of the human animal connection.

I am currently training Lyla to become a Therapy Dog. Her gentle nature, and playful but calm presence will be a gift to all those that she touches.


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.


Renee Molnar, Board Member

I live in Guilford with my twin daughters Allie and Emmie and my husband Chris, we have lived in Guilford for over 22 years and love our small town. I have spent the last 20 years supporting middle school students as School Counselor in several different schools in the CT river area and am currently the middle school counselor at Lyme Old Lyme Middle. Helping youth has always been my passion, watching them learn, grow and develop their own unique sense of self is my passion. I have spent the last two years training my own pup, Blu, a silver labrador retriever to become a facility dog at LOLMS. We started our training at just 9 weeks old and have met some pretty incredible people along the way. Blu has been working at the middle school for the last 2 months and he is really enjoying his time with the students and seeing the smiles on their faces. I first came to know Lisa Buckley through my partnership with LYSB and we quickly developed a strong friendship over our passion for dogs and the importance of helping youth who are struggling with mental health. It is the shared belief that taking a proactive approach with providing as many supports for students in the school setting as possible will hopefully provide the  foundation and skills necessary for students to  positively cope with stressors.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop


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.


Katey Mann, Board Member

The Tim Buckley Project’s mission is one I am passionate about, as I spend a lot of my time fostering the human-animal bond. I live on a small farm with my husband, our chocolate labs, Mali & Alice and our miniature donkeys. Since 1998, I have had therapy dogs registered through both Pet Partners and Therapy Dog International. In my professional life, I also spent 25 years a school social worker with both middle and high school students.

In 2015, I left the public school system to expand my work with therapy animals. Currently, I volunteer at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center and work part-time at Waterford Country School on their children’s farm and wildlife center. I also volunteer with my two chocolate Labrador therapy dogs, which is how I first learned about the Tim Buckley Project. As a Board Member, I am excited to help develop programs that celebrate therapy animals’ power to calm and heal.


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.


Elizabeth Maynard- White (Tiger), Board Member

I am a true believer that love is freely given, it cannot be bought; it is something in your heart, offered to others.

My name is Liz, but people know me as ‘Tiger’. I am a proud therapy dog handler with Pet Partners. Along with my 4 year old English Mastiff, Duke, we find great fulfillment spreading love. Beach walks are one of our favorite activities. Duke is happiest when he is working and meeting new people. Beach walks are one of our favorite activities. As a team, we never stop learning, and we welcome every new adventure.

We all have a unique journey, and we often find our calling in the most unlikely circumstances. Prior to becoming a therapy dog handler, I worked on obtaining an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice with the hope of connecting with troubled youth. As an adolescent, I experienced my own challenges. By the grace of God, I found a positive direction.  A family members terminal illness allowed me to witness the power of the human animal bond. Bringing Duke to an assisted living facility changed my focus, and I began the process of training Duke to become a therapy dog. Training requires tremend ous patience, and dedication.

If you can change one life, then you have achieved the riches of love. With Duke by my side, we strive to put a smile on the faces of the people we meet each day. If for one moment we bring happiness and a smile, our job is complete.

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