Monday, October 27, 2014

Passion, Peace and Purpose: Joanne D’Alessandro, Artist


Joanne DeAlessandro, is a Faux Painter by trade, but that’s not her true passion. Often a true artist has many more talents than one, and this is certainly so of Joanne D’Alessandro. Says Joanne, “I’ve always been a crafter. ”  But take one look at Joanne’s true passion, and it’s clear that Joanne D’Alessandro isn’t really a crafter, she’s an artist.

 Joanne makes beautiful framed photographs of St. Padre Pio and the Blessed Mother; Shadowboxes with dried or pressed flowers arranged around the images in beautiful spirit-led designs.

 Inspired to begin creating these lovely works of art after dreaming of St. Padre Pio, Joanne’s Art has become her passion. After that dream, Joanne began praying to Padre Pio. Joanne told her parish priest about the dream, trying to decipher what it meant. Soon after, she dreamt of the Miraculous Medal.

Around seven years earlier, Joanne had been called to care for her ailing father, who was suffering from terminal Colon Cancer. Not long after her Father’s passing, Joanne’s Grandmother had a stroke, and Joanne took to caring for her. Later, she cared for an aunt who also had Cancer. Then, Joanne herself took ill. She chalked it up to care giving.  But after months of exhaustion she was diagnosed with a Parathyroid Adenoma. That’s when she asked for Padre Pio’s intercession, praying for her health and also for employment as she’d been unemployed during her illness, and believed she could not go back to her faux finishing business after her recovery.

Joanne’s Father had spoken of Padre Pio when she was growing up but it wasn’t until after his death that she realized his devotion to him. Padre Pio prayer cards were found in his wallet, and relics among his belongings. Joanne believes it was her father in her dream sitting beside her in a church pew, instructing her on what to do when it was her turn to greet Padre Pio, urging her to ‘go up to the Altar and kiss his hand.’ Following that dream, Joanne felt a greater curiosity for Padre Pio and decided to visit The National Shrine for Padre Pio in Barto, Pa. There, she learned about the “odor of sanctity” that was present all around Padre Pio when he was alive, and was said to emanate from the stigmata he bore for over 50 years. The Stigmata are the wounds of Christ: holes in the hands and the feet, and a wound in the side; bleeding wounds, which were also the hallmark of St. Francis of Assisi, author of the well known Prayer of Peace, The Prayer of St. Francis.

 The next morning, she awoke with visions of framed photographs of Padre Pio, surrounded in dried flowers to signify the Odor of Sanctity. Devotees today, including Joanne, have smelled the odor of sanctity, which can be described as a strong odor of flowers, or incense, when no flowers are present. (The presence of the Blessed Mother has been said to be “felt” by those devoted to her, through the scent of Roses.)

 She couldn’t get the images out of her head. Her mother urged her to go ahead and create a few, even though she was unsure how to go about it. Joanne made six frames and returned to the Shrine in Barto. The owner loved them, and told Joanne to make as many as she could before September 23rd, Padre Pio’s feast day. There was to be a celebration at the shrine and the owner wanted to offer them for sale. Joanne went to work, creating 12 more frames, making, as she says, “a bargain” with Padre Pio: If half of the frames sold, she would continue making them, to venerate a Saint whom she feels very strongly, is a “powerful” Saint, swiftly answering prayers and taking souls on as his spiritual children.

 They all sold, and the shrine even took orders for more.

 Joanne kept her end of the deal, despite health challenges, which continue to some degree.  After all, Padre Pio himself once said that

 The grain of wheat does not yield anything unless it suffers and decomposes; it is the same for the soul and for nations who need trials and sufferings so as to rise up purified and renewed.”

Joanne has found peace and a sense of purpose in creating her own unique works of art, encouraging devotion to a modern day Saint. She has partnered with her mother who has realized her own strong sense for design, and a sense of purpose herself in assisting in the step by step process of gathering, drying and arranging the hand chosen flowers, and carefully cleaning the glass, envisioning and creating one of a kind designs. Joanne says, “St. Padre Pio has a way of bringing people together” and as so many ‘chance’ meetings following the dream, so often involve Padre Pio, Joanne relates, “There is no such thing as coincidence.”

After she dreamed of the Miraculous Medal, abandoned on the floor of a church, she began making framed photographs of various icons of the Blessed Mother to encourage a Devotion to the Queen of all Saints, to whom Padre Pio himself, (never seen without a rosary in his hand) was intensely devoted. 

An avid viewer of EWTN, (always on in the background as she makes the frames) Joanne has a real interest in the lives of the saints. “God gives us the saints for us to use at our disposal. The saints can’t help us unless we ask. And if people don’t know about a particular saint, they can’t ask for help, and therefore they can’t help you. More People have to know about Padre Pio. So I said, ‘Padre, I’m a laborer, I’m not a marketer. I’ll do the work, you help me sell them’ ” And then she returns to Padre Pio’s mantra. “Pray, Hope, and Don’t worry.”

  He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist.”
                         -St. Francis of Asissi

Joanne D’Alessandro is an artist.

Her works can be purchased by
 contacting her directly:  Follow her on Facebook at

Monday, July 21, 2014

Do No Harm: In Remembrance of Chuck, "CC" Keiser

Who was CC Keiser? For those who knew him, he was someone with much to share. But after a battle with cancer, he requested there be no memorial service when he died. He was cremated, but his family gathered at CC's step Father's grave and, after each said a few words of remembrance, three Chinese lanterns were lit and set afloat.

   Chuck Keiser, or CC as he was known, was the co-author of an essay that started a grass roots movement. He was from Pennsylvania, a guy in the neighborhood, like you or like me. A guy who started a movement.  It was a quiet movement. An unobtrusive movement. An organic movement. A movement you may know nothing about. It was a movement he did nothing to promote. 

   The movement he authored, with his California internet friend Clyde Grossman, is called Do No Harm. I caught wind of it when I picked up a free bumper sticker at a yoga studio I was visiting for the first time. It was a round disk shaped sticker with the word “Harm” on it, and the circle was outlined in red, with a red line running diagonally through it. It meant “no harm”. Underneath was a website: .  When I went to the website, I found this essay; the essay that started it all:

“We seem to be living in a world that is getting less hospitable every day. Look closely at any endeavor our species has engaged in and it appears we are unaware of the harm we do, we ignore the harm we do, we intentionally do harm for our own gain, or sadly in some cases we do harm for our own pleasure and enjoyment.

Has no one taught us to do no harm?

If we haven't been taught to do no harm, we see no harm in doing harm. We cause harm and shrug it off. We cause harm and laugh about it. We cause harm and brag about it.

Sadder still, our children bear witness to our actions and never learn to do no harm themselves. Above all else we must teach our children, by example and instruction, this basic moral principle of life.

We must begin to make better choices and treat each other, the other creatures who share this planet with us, and this planet we call home with greater respect and compassion.

We believe that the first and most basic moral law is, "Do no harm." Because we can feel pain and suffering, we can imagine the pain and suffering of others, and we can act accordingly to minimize the harm we cause.

What does "do no harm" mean? Ultimately it means to give thoughtful consideration to our actions. “Do no harm” simply means to consider how our actions may affect the world we all share, to be compassionate in our dealings with all creatures, and not to thoughtlessly despoil our planet.

Doctors are asked to “first do no harm,” why not lawyers, businessmen, religious leaders and politicians? Why not us? Why not now?

It sounds like a simple idea because it is a simple idea, but it may be effective over the long run. Will “do no harm” solve all the problems in our world? Perhaps not, but this is an effort to decrease the suffering in the world and to increase the kindness.

We hope that “do no harm” becomes that little voice that guides our actions.

And we hope you will join us and spread the message "Do no harm."

Show everyone you care and use “Do no harm” to sign-off in your correspondence in place of "Best Wishes", "Yours" or "Regards."

If you have a web site, be proud of your support and add the words “Do No Harm” to the top of your home page where everyone will see it.

Be bold and creative in thinking of ways to expose as many as possible to the “Do No Harm” message, but please, do no harm in doing so.

It is not necessary to mention the source of the message. This is certainly a case where the message is far more important than the messengers. All we ask is that you practice do no harm and take every opportunity to share the words "do no harm" with others.

If you wish to include this essay or link to the “Do No Harm” web page, please do; or if you wish to change the wording or write your own, that's equally OK with us. If we are to change our world for the better, we simply must share the “Do No Harm” message with family and friends, with neighbors and our community.

You can add a comment , or if you wish, send us your own thoughts or reflections and we will add them to this web site.

Sometimes, all you really need to do is ask:

Please . . .  do no harm!

c.c.keiser & clyde grossman “

   This essay made sense to me. I expect it makes sense to everyone. Everyone, that is, who has suffered at the hands or words or actions of another, which is everyone. Everyone who’s seen harm done. Which is everyone. Everyone who’s done harm, which is everyone. How many of us have seen harm done or sensed it, and done nothing to end it? Or done nothing to prevent it?  How many have remorse for harming, not by doing something, but by doing nothing? What keeps us from doing something? Saying something?

   The Do No Harm website, was launched by the two Internet friends in June of 2006. In December of 2006, Anita Creamer, of the Sacramento Bee wrote a story on the movement. She called it a Bold Step Toward the Gentle Side. She told of CC and Clyde’s friendship and how CC had written the essay and shared it with Clyde, Clyde edited it and they began the website.

Anita wrote,

“It’s a gentle, non-judgmental reminder, that whatever we do ripples out into the world around us affecting other people.”

   As simple as that is, there are those who show concern. Those who wonder whose agenda you are pushing. But that wasn’t CC’s intention.

   It seems the message is a reminder only, and as the authors intended, it’s up to the individual to interpret it in the way their life dictated, and that this might happen by personal reflection.

   The bumper stickers, and eventually wristlets and buttons serve perhaps only to perk up our ears; to entice us only to go online and see what it’s all about. The rest is up to us. Once you know it, you can’t un-know it.

   Myself, that’s what I did. I also chose to be a distributor of the stickers and wristlets, too. All the benefactor asked, was a contribution towards the cost of shipping. And the benefactor? I’m not sure who that is. I think what happens, is folks just step up and assign themselves roles.

   In February of 2007, Renee A. James wrote an article for the Morning Call reflecting on the trend of kindness for the sake of kindness. Her story was called Free Hugs Do No Harm. She tells of the Free Hug movement, which began in Sydney Australia, and like the Do No Harm Movement, it met with some question. Kindness for the sake of kindness? Non-harming for a better world? CC was on to something.

   Getting back to CC - the reason for this story. What kind of guy was he? He was private. Maybe even shy. He describes himself, in a post he wrote for the website Dudeism, as what the Myers-Brigs personality inventory calls The Counselor. ‘Heavy,’ he says, ‘on the introvert.’ 

In his own words, he says,

I am not a Buddhist…I am not a teacher…I am not a leader and I am not comfortable in the spotlight. All I want is to do is help…help create a kinder, more compassionate world to live in. That is primarily why I wrote the first draft of the Do No Harm essay that Clyde Grossman turned into a bonafide Movement with a web site and everything….in fact in matters such as these I do not believe there are any true teachers…some may serve as guides, but no one can really “teach” how to become aware of your own existence…how to control and create your own universe. How to truly be at peace with yourself and the universe you create. No one can teach you that but yourself.
All anyone else can do is try and give someone else a helping hand up…and say…here…look what I found.”

   In 2010, In my own desire to share what I found, I began a Do No Harm Facebook page.  I contacted Clyde and asked him if it would be appropriate. True to the Do No Harm essay, he didn’t give me any parameters, nor did he want to have a role. But we kept in touch periodically. I didn’t know CC was also on Facebook, but he was. And I didn’t know he had died, until Clyde let me know. His niece made this post to the Do No Harm page:

“Sadly, yesterday his battle with cancer ended. He was a brilliant man who preferred to live a simple life and keep to himself. I know the impact he has had on my life and many other; There will be no services, no donations, nor flowers. I kindly ask for everyone to please continue on with his vision for a better place. Continue to Do No Harm and please keep spreading the word.”

   Sadly, I  know no more. Although his story “Flippin’ Pennies” appears on the Dudeist website, “A Lifestyle Magazine for the Deeply Casual,” His name doesn’t appear on the About Us page as a contributor, and as I look a little further, I don’t see much else. In order to Do No Harm, I’ll not look any further. As his niece noted, he liked to keep to himself. Everything I’ve gathered here has already been written, and his own words sum him up better than I could, having known him not:

 All I want is to do is help…help create a kinder, more compassionate world to live in.” I guess that’s why he wrote the essay.

   On the one hand, I wish I could have met him, but on the other, he wasn't a picket sign sort of guy. The way he preferred it is the way it played out. It's like that  zen-like saying about water; although it's ever so much softer than rock, its persistent flow can wear away at the hardest of rock.

Please. Do No Harm

Meet Rachelle Mee-Chapman, Your Magpie Girl

Meet Rachelle Mee-Chapman: Rachelle offers soul care for creative souls. 
Soul care? What might that be? 

Well it’s a number of things and perhaps not the same thing for each soul she treats. It’s not like she’s a doctor, but she kind of is. She’s got a few potent prescriptions she offers to those who may not fit the mold they once did, or those who may feel lost. There’s even a prescription for those who know exactly who they are. It’s the celebration prescription. Take three daily, or as many as needed. And it’s ok to share them with those who they haven’t been prescribed for. Her prescriptions are sneaky like that. I know, I’ve been slipped a few in my morning email, and in my evening web crawls.

So who is this Rachelle Mee-Chapman? She’s a minister. Well, she was a minister. For 15 years—having practiced the religion for thirty. Somehow, at the end of that 15 year mark, she decided otherwise.  In her time of contemplation, she happened upon nesting Magpies that were not silent. She took a page from their book, and started her own quest to fly, to find as she says, her tribe.

An artist herself, she followed her passions for all things “sparkly” and her website, Magpie Girl which was all about crafts, soon morphed into a support system for the formerly “churched”, for those who were “relig-ish”, artists, and those on the fringe. But you don’t really have to be any of those. You just might be an open-minded curious type or one who had an inkling deep inside that they were alright as they were, but maybe needed it gently coaxed to the surface where it could be celebrated; those who needed their beaks filed a little bit, so they could  crack open their shells. Perhaps they are yogis, perhaps they’re nature lovers, or commercial Artists or artists of living. Perhaps they’re buttoned up dentists. 

Rachelle is the mother of two young daughters and with her husband, they Co-parent of one “full fledged adult.” She has  two “very silly' dogs. In order to get to know her a little more, to delve a little deeper into who this Magpie girl from  Seattle Washington is, I asked her a few questions, and she graciously obliged me with a few answers. Here are a few more facets, of the many faceted, Rachelle Mee-Chapman:

1.As the intention of your website has changed from Arts and Crafts and all
things Sparkly, to something seemingly different, what remains the common
thread as your focus is now people.

[Rachelle Mee-Chapman]

“When I was transitioning out of the pastorate, I started a personal blog
called Magpie Girl. My tagline was "distracted by sparkly things." I sold
vintage, I made zines and strung rosaries, and I told stories about the
process of stepping out of institutionalized faith while still being a very
spiritual person. I sank into art and beauty, and that helped me find my

I often say, "When faith failed me, art saved me." That's the connecting
thread from pastoring to sparkly things to life coaching in the area of
creative spirituality. The whole time I was seeking connection to the
divine. Art became the conduit for that, and following a trail of "sparkly
things" lead me to the work I do now.

Now the Magpie Girl blog has turned into a website for my coaching practice
with e-courses, an online community, and events. And soon be transitioning
again from Magpie Girl: Care for Creative Souls to Rachelle Mee-Chapman:
Care for Creative Souls (*your magpie girl.) “

2. What has surprised you the most about the flock that has emerged as
you've created this space for these creative souls to fly?

[Rachelle Mee-Chapman]

“When I opened the virtual doors to Flock, I thought we'd have to do a lot of
work together unpacking anger and hurt over things that happened in our past
church-based lives. And while I'm happy to support people in the grieving
and deconstructive process, I found that the women who came to Flock were
much more ready to move *forward* than I had expected. Also, they aren't all
"formerly churched." Some are still in the institution, and some don't have
any formal religious background. So it's much healthier, more proactive, and
diverse than I had initially expected. “

3. I have a wall hanging I created that says "Everyone wants to Paint. Be
ONE." Then in a little frame within it, I have collaged, "What's your
Medium?" Do you agree that everyone wants to "paint", and can you give me your take on why so many are hesitant to exercise their creativity?

[Rachelle Mee-Chapman]

“I haven't met a person yet who doesn't want to create. Even my very "I'm not
creative" husband creates craft cocktails and gets so much joy out of the
process of fiddling, refining, and presenting his art!
( My personal mythology includes the
passage, "In the beginning, God created..." So in my understanding we are
birthed out of creative energy, and that impulse to create continues within
in us.

People become hesitant to be creative largely because of commercialism and
perfectionism. We think the only reason to create something is to sell it.
And we think that the only reason to be creative is if you want to become a
great master of your craft. But creativity is something we do naturally as
children, without fear -- until we are exposed to these ideas through TV,
school, etc. Learning to see creativity as being purposeful just because it
brings joy, helps us express our self, or is intriguing to us, helps us make
the shift from creativity as profession to creativity as life.”

4. Who are you most inspired by?

[Rachelle Mee-Chapman]

“Vincent Van Gogh. I have a huge coffee-table book of his letters and
paintings. He was a minister starting out, and after a crisis of faith and
vocation found his way to art. I go through season where I'll read his
letters in the morning. I even have a little moleskin journal where I write
letters to my "Dear Vincent..." I even entertained the idea of writing a
book called "Letters to Vincent." But so far it's a personal practice and
I'm happy to keep it that way.”

5. In the Movie "Monument Men" a team Is assembled to save all of the great
works of art that Hitler would either have stolen or destroyed. Some died in
the quest. Do you feel that it's important to know anything about classical
art to create art of importance? Or is the personal experience of Now
knowledge enough?

[Rachelle Mee-Chapman]

“I do think that knowledge of different art forms expands your vocabulary. It
doesn't have to be classical art, but the more exposure one has to art and
artists, the richer your own work becomes. For instance, reality TV is
pretty low brow -- but Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance have
been so meaningful to me! They've taught me so much about perfectionism and
the myth that we have to "be the best" and the tyranny of "only one can be
the winner." And watching the artists work and hearing how they came to
their art form is always very inspiring. SYTYCD in particular has immensely
expanded my dance vocabulary, and now I can enjoy so many different kinds of
dance in live performances. I couldn't have learned those lessons or gained
that language without being exposed art history and a variety of different
kinds of artists.

That being said, I do love art from the impressionist and post-impressionist
eras, and I'm learning more about abstract and modern art. I just went to a
Miro exhibit with a friend who is a sculptor and gained so much appreciation
for the complex and daring process. It helped me understand sculptures I've
seen in the past -- like the Rodin museum in Paris. And I appreciate the
modern public art pieces that are scattered around my city so much more now.
Much of my writing is peppered with examples and metaphors that came to me
in museums. I'm always scribbling in the blank edges of the exhibit

So That’s a small taste of Rachelle Mee-Chapman. If you’d like to know more, or feel what care for the creative soul feels like stop by Magpie girl, and see if your wings are there. They might be. Or you just might have them tucked halfway under your shirt, and need a little help unfolding them. Go see.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On the Way to Find Out: 3 Young People Exploring their Crafts

In a world that asks you to be many things, wear many hats and play many roles, the power of your own uniqueness is important. As human beings, sensitive to the world around us, we want to connect, but at the heart, we all want to be recognized for who we are: what we bring to the table simply having been born. Whatever it is that animates us uniquely, the spirit of who we are, is our most precious gift. To allow that  to shine fearlessly is our quest. I'd like you to meet 3 young people in our neighborhood, who are making a difference by being themselves, JUST LIKE YOU.

Margot Somers: Age 18, Senior, West Chester East High School, West Chester, PA
Margot is a musician, writer, and all around creative. She has a quick wit and a dedication to developing her craft, exploring many musical genres. 


"Margot, in one sentence: How has the study of music contributed to your development?"

 "Music has given me something to be passionate about and made me realize that the parts of life that truly matter aren't always the standard parts." 

Emily Wilson: Age 19, Freshman, University of Charleston,
Majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Emily is always smiling, has an uplifting personality and an infectious sense of humor. Her Willingness to be vulnerable, and share her sensitivities encourages a level of comfort around others which allows relationships and people  to blossom. She is a Storyteller and singer, writer and appreciator of beauty.

"Emily, Can you give me one sentence on the power of storytelling?"

"Storytelling validates the abstractions that float around in our crazy human brains and creates crucial interpersonal connections."

 RJ Burrell, 23, Philadelphia 76'ers Flight Squad Trick Artist 
RJ is an elite performer for the Philadelphia 76'ers. His Job is to electrify the crowd and he does it with his personality, martial arts, basketball and gymnastic ability, not to mention FEARLESSNESS. Above all else, RJ is kind and hospitable and always willing to lend a helping hand. He truly cares about others and is committed to being an inspiration. He is a bright light.

"RJ, One sentence on the importance and power of what you do as part of the flight squad from your perspective, as it relates to purpose and your personal happiness."

"I believe that if you do what you love you'll never have to work a day in your life. As I glance into the future, I imagine generations to come choosing their occupation based purely on inspiration and love."

*Many Thanks to Margot, Emily and Ron for your Willingness to take part!*

"Well I hit the rowdy road, and many kinds I met there-
Many a story told me how the way to get there-
But on and on I go, the seconds tick the time out
There's so much left to know when I'm on the road to find out"
        - Cat Stevens, On the Road to Find Out

24 Personal Insights from Kids and Young Adults ages 3-25

I recently became involved in The  Idealist community, a place where dreamers convene to connect and collaborate. There are job postings on the website, and I found one I was interested in. It came with a unique application process. It asked only  3 open- ended questions, and then asked for a 1-2 minute video which communicates the applicant's vision for the future of education. It also asked for any other additional links the applicant would like them to see. This application invigorated me, but with so much possibility in how to present my ideas, 

I was a little overwhelmed and felt a little stuck. So I decided instead, to listen.

   As a student of Interpersonal Communication, I've learned the importance of listening; of being present. And from my own experience, Ive learned that listening for inspiration, for me, most often comes in silence. At the end of the physical practice of yoga as we lay in savasana, or 'corpse pose" allowing our  minds and bodies to rest, I listen, as Rumi says, to a voice that doesn't use words. In this silence, a few days back, as I rested beside a nine year old girl, who had practiced alongside me, I had the notion that instead of presenting my own insights I'd listen to the kids themselves. I'd ask them each one unique question, and instead of adding my own thoughts to theirs, I'd ask 3 professionals in the field of education each a unique question, regarding inspiration, motivation and learning. 

   I'll begin with our first professional, Jack Ricchiuto, known across the US and globally for his experience as a writer engaged in shifting conversations to new narratives. He teaches groups and individuals to reach their potential. Perhaps the voices of these young people can begin a conversation that might shift the current state of education into a new narrative.

Jack Ricchiuto
 Writer, and Engagement Artisan in Leadership and Professional Development, Entrepreneur

Jack, How do you motivate people?

From my books and writing:
"It's my experience that people are motivated by their own sense of interest and passion. This is strongly supported by the research on internal locus of control that is the foundation for positivity and engagement in organizations, communities and schools.

 I don't meet people motivated by other people's interests and passions unless they resonate or align with theirs. In this sense, intrinsic motivation is a redundancy.

As facilitators, we can create the space for people to discover their intrinsic interest and passion and when we do,  they discover their motivation and are energized by it in sustainable and resilient ways."

Terrence Ives, 23
  Senior, Wilkes University, Business Management
 What do you think helps young people develop most in learning settings? 

  "Autonomous work environment."

Stephanie Trebets, 24
  Cleveland State University, Business Management

In the context of happiness and recognizing your gifts,  abilities and strengths as they relate to your life satisfaction, what part of high school was most beneficial? 

" Hmmm...that's a good question! At Lake we had art done by students displayed all through out the that was a cool way of using talents & showing some color & diversity. 
We also had a forum book published every year with art, poetry, letters, or stories...that was nice because you could read & share things if you wanted but also were able to publish anonymously."

Carmen Centrackio, 19
  Kent State University, Electronic Media Production and Journalism
Question: You knew right off the bat what you wanted to study in college . A lot of kids don't. What opportunities did you have in your schooling that encouraged this certainty in you? "

"Hey Aunt Glo! No problem! We had a lighting and sound club back in high school and I was a part of that. We did a lot of technical and behind scenes work to help out on the plays in the school district. And I also took a journalism class as a freshmen. I was torn between the two, so I combined them. "

"My major is electronic media production. There is journalism behind it becuase my career field is used in the production of news, movies, and tv."

"And sports. That's a HUGE one."

"Well, I played soccer and softball since the age of 6. I wanted to keep that connection. Televising professional sporting events require production specialists to broadcast these events. Audio technicians, camera man (footage filmers), technical directors, and TV graphics are crucial for my career field. There wouldn't be a broadcast if one of those was missing. My dream job is to work for Fox Sports as a live sports audio technician."

Tommy Ives, 5
  Kindergarten, Goshen Friends School, West Chester, Pa
Tommy, what is your favorite thing to learn about and why? 

"I like to learn about the planets and the earth because I'm learning this in school and it's really cool!" 

Lindsey Ives, 21
  Junior, West Virginia University, Psychology and Disability Studies
When researching something that interests you, Are you more energized by getting expected results or unexpected results?

"When researching something, getting the expected is nice but discovering something new is empowering. Getting the results you expect is nice but sometimes it can be dull. When we do research, our goal isn't necessarily to confirm what we know, and we should be just as open to discovering something else, even if it proves our previous belief false. 😢" 

Rosie Orlando, 6
 Kindergarten, St. Mary's School, Mentor, Ohio
What would Happen if Schools stopped having art class?

I'd go crazy?  I'd miss my teacher! 

What would happen if there was no Library class? 
(No hesitation)
I'd go crazier!

Samantha Dewey, 16
Grade 10, The Baldwin School
Samantha, How do you think the study of the sciences and literature informs the work of an artist?"

"I'm still a young artist so I guess I'm not quite sure how they influence me but I know that emotional experiences influence my art because when I'm doing my work I  will connect with feelings which then are translated onto whatever I'm doing. I'm not quite sure how literature and the sciences influence me but I think that they're all connected with art through things like the Fibonacci sequence and writing.  

"Hmm I think that like art, science can be human interpretations where we interpret the things around us in order to understand them. Like black holes, we don't understand them but in order to get some sort of concept we interpret them as funnels of nothingness as a sort of shape which is the same with art, we interpret a hand on a canvas as a square with five different tubes coming off of it. "

Steven Orlando, 25
  Entrepreneur, owner of the start up  NewCell:
For you, what was the most effective learning experience you received in High school? 

"A class taught by actual business owners about business- where the sole purpose was to teach students  the reality of entrepreneurship and the free market. It was a normal class with normal class credits, however, it was taught before school because these business owners needed to head into work."

Avery Ives, 19 
 Freshman, West Virginia University, Fashion Merchandising
When tackling projects, do you think the process or the outcome is more important?
"The outcome"

Dr. Curtis Jack Orr
West Chester University College of Communication Studies, Professor Emeritus, Communication and Leadership Consultant, C Jack Orr and Associates, Taught the Flagship Class, "Inspirational Communication"
 Dr. Curtis Jack Orr's mission is to help students and clients develop economically, socially and spiritually by thinking in new terms about problems and possibilities. 

How do you inspire your students, in a word? 


Brian Orlando, 24
 Senior, Cleveland State  University, Mechanical Engineering Phillips Co-op 
Hi Brian: question: 

What single experience or opportunity or teacher had the biggest effect on your ongoing development as it relates to your goals and dreams for your future? 

In college I had a math (calc 1 and 2) professor that really pushed me to do my best. He would work problems out and really connect on a personal level with his students. He entered me into an honors math society and told me that he thought I would make a great engineer. He had the biggest impact on me educationally. 

 Tina Orlando, 21
 Junior Cleveland State University, Middle Childhood Education (specializing in Math and Science)
What part of college was/ is the most instrumental in supporting or helping to develop a positive approach to your future goals? 

"I would say right now in college, my Methods courses are helping me develop a positive approach to my goals. I'm doing field work, so I get the opportunity to be in the classroom with 7th and 8th grade students. I get to see how they interact with each other educationally and with their teacher. It's funny, all this time I thought my mentor teacher had great classroom control but after hearing from multiple students, I found out that they have a very unhealthy relationship with their teacher. The students don't feel comfortable asking questions in class and their grades suffer because of it. This experience pushes me that much harder to get my teaching license and be the best teacher I can be. I want to have a relationship with my students that help them feel comfortable and confident in my classroom, whether they are comfortable with the material we are learning or not. All through high school, and even as far back as middle school, I feel that my teachers, the good and the bad, have inspired me to teach. I want to make a positive difference in my future students' lives. I want them to want to learn! I want to make my lessons engaging and memorable! It is such a rewarding career if you are in it for the right reasons. So I think the field experiences I am currently going through are motivating me the most."

William Orlando, 9
 Grade 4, St. Mary's  School, Mentor Ohio
What is the Most important thing you have learned in scouts this far? 

Be prepared in case something happens, like if you're camping and your clothes get wet, have extra clothes.

Bobby Ives, 3
 Preschool, Goshen Friends School
When you have free play time at school, what is your favorite thing to do? 

(via his mom) "Bobby says his favorite thing is painting pictures because he likes art, and free time he like the sensory tub and the tool bench"

Tori Orlando, 16
 10th Grade, Lake Catholic High School, Mentor, Ohio
Question: Aside from relationships with your friends, what interactions in school or school sponsored events and activities  have helped you to recognize your own strengths and abilities ? 

"Something that has helped me notice my strengths and abilities is playing Lacrosse. It pushes me to stay fit and healthy. It also helps me meet new people and not be nervous in talking to someone. "

Matthew Morich, 23

 Lakeland Community College, Linguistics

Question: At what point in your college experience did you decide to study linguistics and why?

(to be continued...)

Jessica Morich, 22

  Junior  Cleveland State University, International Relations with a minor in Women and Gender Studies, and a Focus in Latin America,  Assistant House Parent  for International Students at the Andrews School, Willoughby, Ohio

Jessica, From the perspective of one who guides international students as they navigate education in a foreign country, what do you think the most beneficial experiences outside of the classroom are for them, ( in regards to their development)  and how have you benefited from working with them? 

"Honestly, the biggest beneficial experience they have is living and rooming with people of other countries. Some of them have American roommates to help assimilate them. But some have roommates of other countries as well, and they learn just as much from them. In terms of activities, I'd say the day-to-day life stuff. They go shopping or navigate their way through Downtown Willoughby. They play video games on an English server and learn slang and dialects from other players. "

"I've benefited a lot from them, too. They tell me what their homes are like, and it simultaneously makes me grateful for where I'm from and jealous of where they're from."

"My residents are actually what guided my next career step, which is getting my TESOL certification and moving to China to teach English next year. 😊"

Dominic Orlando, 6
 Grade 2, St. Mary's School Mentor, Ohio
Who is your favorite teacher and Why?
I think it's ummmm, hmmmm. I think it's probably Mrs, Seagal
Because she lets us do our homework in school sometimes.

Gary Schoeniger 
 Gary is a lifelong advocate of entrepreneurship education, as well as an entrepreneur and small    business owner himself,  founding The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative after piloting an initial program in NE Ohio.

What's the most surprising thing you have learned from someone you've mentored?

"Overall, I would say it is the ability of ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things by embracing an entrepreneurial mindset. What exactly is an entrepreneurial mindset? Broadly defined, it is the underlying assumption that an individual can empower themselves by solving problems for others."

"One can empower oneself by solving problems for others."

Gary is also a mentor to my nephew Steven Orlando, and taught the High School Free Market class Steven spoke of 

Joey Centrackio, 18
 Senior, West Geauga High School
Hi Joe, it's Aunt Glo! I have a question : As far as taking pride in learning, ( any subject or personal interest) what approach has benefitted you most, and helped you to really recognize your own personal abilities? "

"The hands on approach has has been most beneficial for me during the learning process. I can take in information more accurately if I have an expert in that specific field, with me, explaining it all as we go."

Carrie Orlando, 20
 Lakeland Community College, Undecided
What one word would you use to best describe the part of your high school education that was most beneficial to your sense of self and how it relates to your roles as student and waitress? 

"I don't know if this is considered one word or two, but I'd say. Community- oriented. That's probably what was most beneficial for me for what I'm
Doing with my life right now. "

Andrew Centrackio, 18
 18, Senior, West Geauga High School
Hi Andrew: it's Aunt Glo. Question. How would you characterize the method used by the person who has been most affective in helping you to realize your talents and gifts? 


Gina Centrackio, 14
  8th Grade, West Geauga Middle School
Hi Honey: Question: 
As far as school goes, what part of it supports you most in taking pride in what makes you unique?"

"Hi! That's a good question; probably my friends would support me the most, because we give confidence to each other to be happy and "unique"! :) how come?"

"Because your opinion matters to me. And I'd like to include your answers in a series of questions I'm compiling to see what's important to kids and what 's most beneficial to their reaching their potential." 

Nicholas Orlando, 24
 24, BI Solutions Engineer at TMW Systems and Owner Quick Booth Photo Booths
A question: 
As it relates to your sense of  personal satisfaction in your job setting, what element of your high school experience was most beneficial to your belief in your abilities to develop and innovate? "

"Geez, good question. I'd probably attribute the one or two classes I took on HTML, and web design kind of sparked the creativity side of my job. Other than that, I don't know that I would really attribute much of anything from high school as an influence on my future as it relates to innovation."

Christopher Orlando, 17
 10th grade, Riverside High School
Hi Chris it's Aunt Glo! I have a question for you: 
From a personal or academic standpoint, (you choose) What drives your curiosity the most? And how important is it to your well being? "

"What drives my curiosity the most would have to be the 'what ifs' in life, what if I do this, and this happened? Because everything that has happened, because of the 'what ifs' in life. 

My curiosity is very important to my well being as I couldn't necessarily function without it."

Julia Dewey, 20
 Sophomore,  Brown University, Human Biology 
Hi Julia: Question: As a student of the sciences, what is the importance of art to its study and its potential for developing theories that lead to advancements in medicine, engineering and automation?

"I think art probably has a role in a variety of ways. As a student, I think it's a good way to not only relax from the stress of study, but also to help to visualize processes that are otherwise invisible. In general visualization through art is important now, and has been historically significant for the progress of medicine. The use of art to explain to the general public things that only the privileged few had access to was paramount in getting people to believe things like germ theory and  the efficacy of vaccinations. Also, prior to dissections becoming commonplace, art was a valuable way of learning anatomy. For now, art is a valuable tool for learning about the invisible, as well as a useful treatment or coping mechanism for some types of illnesses. "

A Great Big Thanks to all my Children, nieces and nephews for
 sharing their personal insights with me. I value your 
Contributions! And to our Professionals for sharing their passions with us, and the insights they've gained by simply doing what they love.