a bit about me:
My inspiration has always been empowering children to smile. Whether it’s through helping them learn and master a skill, encouraging them to read a story to discover how to overcome a challenge, or providing tools for them to experience pleasure in using music to communicate emotional feelings, it’s all about smiles.
Through my professional training in special education and school psychology, I have watched children’s self-esteem soar and their ability to learn increase. Through Para-verbal Therapy, which I learned and practiced at New York State Psychiatric Institute, hard-to-reach children have broken through their isolation and begun to communicate using pleasurable, non-threatening sound and movement materials.
Combining these skills has enabled me to personally “adopt” and sponsor twenty-three special education seventh grade students in the “I Have a Dream” Program in New York City. Through “hands on” individual work with these students, and their teachers, I believe I have enhanced the students’ education and feelings of self-worth through high school graduation in preparation for higher education and job opportunities.
A personal inspiration is love of travel, mainly to “off-the-beaten-path” countries. I delight in observing similarities and differences in people and their way of life. Then I’m delighted a second time by celebrating them through story. I also love learning about animals, especially ones that I don’t see in my back yard. Whether scouring the countryside in Borneo for baby orangutans—stolen and sold as pets—to rehabilitate them back into the forests, discovering the playfulness of baby lions, watching a yellow-plumed Macaroni penguin sit off all alone, feeling different, from Adelie short-haired penguins in Antarctica, or learning how warthogs, porcupines, aardvarks, and skunks all share the same underground home in South Africa, it’s all exciting adventure, chock full of stories.
Other passions include being a member of The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, where I screen and vote on best films of the year. I believe that film informs my writing. I am a member of SCBWI, the Bank Street Writers Lab, and Greenwich Pen Women, who named me recipient of the 2016 Owl Award. I am a board member of Family Centers and the policy committee where I work with a group of diverse parents of children attending Head Start.
My biggest passion is the next generation of my family—three grown children and eight grandchildren, all creating amazing lives in their own thoughtful and unique way.