Marge Pellegrino Posted over 1 year ago Do you think you have done something in your life to improve this world? If so. Could you explain? I've developed two programs, one for at-risk teens and children and one for survivors of torture and their families. Word Journeys gave the teens job skills and confidence -- they trained as mentors, helped write curriculum, facilitate logistics, and each worked with one of the elementary students during fun literacy activities and trips to culturally rich destinations and into nature (places our kids never went before). They journaled each week and discussed what went well and what we could do better. In 2008, I got to take one of my students who'd never even been to an airport -- to the White House to receive an award. Budget closed that program down last year, but we had a great 12 year run and I still hear from and write letters of recommendation for some of these mentors. Since 1999, I have run the Owl and Panther project. Refugee survivors of torture are referred and with a group of fabulous volunteers and community partners we create a sense of a safe community and belonging. The families we serve engage in expressive arts (art, drumming, writing, dancing, drama) and we get them out into nature. All of this helps them get to a place where they can begin to heal. http://bbc.in/17G9Ve4 My book Journey of Dreams grew from that refugee work and I hope it helps readers be more welcoming to refugees, and help them understand why they might be here. My children's writing is about community engagement, personal boundaries and moving through grief and loss. I serve as an example of someone who makes everyday decisions based on its impact on the environment (human right abuse comes often around greed over natural resources.) My husband and I have raised a son who is centered and thoughtful who will take what he embraces from our example forward into the world.