Wendy was named for the heroine in the story of Peter Pan. Like her namesake she loves to tell stories, enjoys going on adventures, and believes in magic. Wendy is empathic in that she can read emotions and imagine herself wearing other people's shoes, whether the shoes are bigger or smaller than her own feet. She has the curiosity of a child, while being grounded in practical and analytical thinking, and she likes to help solve problems. She is creative, energetic, fun, and passionate about helping kids.
Wendy began helping children face adversity by listening to her own daughter and son as they faced challenges, like bullying, fickle friends, and tough teachers. When her young nephews, 5 and 7, lost their father on 9/11, she helped the boys and her sister move through the loss and trauma. As Wendy's children became more independent, she experienced a calling to leave the adult world of business and find a creative way to help at-risk youth achieve well-being.
One of her first assignments was to start an after-school walking club to help an unusually obese child get more physically active, make friends, and increase self-esteem. Serving initially in Pawtucket, Wendy ended up supporting a number of elementary-aged students experiencing traumatic life situations.
Then in 2016, Wendy was challenged the most unimaginable kind of adversity, when her 19-year-old son, Neil, was diagnosed with DIPG, an aggressive, rare, inoperable form of the brain stem cancer. Doctors said it would take his life within 3-6 months. Her family faced this situation by pulling together and providing Neil with positive support throughout his illness. Neil fought an epic battle and survived for almost a year.
Neil's story continues beyond his passing, as his spirit guides Wendy and her family to help numerous organizations bring hope and joy to children experiencing life threatening illnesses and other life challenges. Wendy was guided back to her Storywalking with a higher sense of purpose.
Wendy has a BA from Colgate University and an MBA from The Tuck School. When she became a mother she realized how much she loved children. She became certified in RIPQA afterschool teaching methods, and now she applies her passion to developing creative literacy programs for in-school, after-school and summer enrichment. Her stories and lessons combine walking, environmental education, and spirituality with social emotional learning (SEL) to nurture the personal development of each child she meets.
Wendy designed and taught after-school programs for Child Opportunity Zone (COZ) in Pawtucket and North Kingstown public schools, Lincoln School in Providence, and the Compass School in Kingston. She taught summer programs for COZ and the Kent County YMCA (Hasbro Summer Learning). She partnered with The Empowerment Factory and Groundworks to develop and pilot in-school environmental science programs in Providence schoolls. These programs were documented and shared by the Rhode Island Environmental Education Association (RIEEA) as examples of best practice in Environmental Literacy (EL). Wendy is a member of RIEEA and the Rhode Island Afterschool Leadership Circle (ALC). She is also a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings healthy living magazine, writing articles about children, health, and environmental issues.
Wendy travels to elementary schools and other organizations around Rhode Island to facilitate Storywalking programs - storytelling, walking field trips, nature art and animal puppetry workshops. She tailors her innovative hands-on curriculum to be relevant to each grade level and each school's local ecology. She also offers facilitator training for schools and organizations interested in bringing the empowerment of Storywalking into their communities. Learn more about the programs.
Email Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401 529-6830 to learn how she can help your kids.