Agreed to Differ, Resolved to Love and United to Serve

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2014 CWU Human Rights Award: Marge Pellegrino 


Marge Pellegrino has developed and run 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 the kids had never gone before). Each week the children and youth journaled and discussed what went well and what could be done better. In 2008, Marge was able to take one of her students -- who'd never even been to an airport -- to the White House to receive an award. The program was hosted by the Pima County Public Library from 2000 to 2012. Since 1999, Marge has run The Hopi Foundation Owl and Panther project. 


Refugee survivors of torture are referred and with a group of fabulous volunteers and community partners they are able to create a sense of a safe community and belonging. The families served engage in expressive arts (art, drumming, writing, dancing, drama) and are taken out into nature. All of this helps them get to a place where they can begin to heal.
Marge’s book Journey of Dreams grew from her refugee work and her hope is that the book helps readers be more welcoming to refugees, and help them understand why they might be here. Her other children's writing is about community engagement, personal boundaries and moving through grief and loss. Marge serves as an example of someone who makes everyday decisions based on its impact on the environment (human rights abuse comes often around greed over natural resources).

As an accomplished author, she has published three additional children’s books, contributed to several magazines, published teacher resources, additional writer’s handbooks and has received awards for her writing.

Marge has spoken in forums including: Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference, Feb. 2014; Las Cumbres Offering of Hands conference 2013; SUNY Oswego Living Writers Series 2012; La Luz End of Life conference 2012 and Cochise County Writing Conference 2012. Marge continues to be sought after for speaking engagements and to facilitate workshops throughout Arizona and the nation.

 
Church Women United in Tucson was proud to acknowledge her accomplishments in providing for children, youth and families by presenting her with the 2014 CWU Human Rights Award. 


For more information on Marge and her amazing work, visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23415097.