Page 1

August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

1


2

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

3


C O N T E N T S

August

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR......................................................6

20

CONTRIBUTORS ...........................................................................6 PAST EVENTS ................................................................................7 FASHION Fashion Forward: From Summer to Fall Fashion ...............8

36

FOOD Syracuse Eats: The Chef & The Cook ............................... 10 WBOC WBOC Leading Woman: Cindy Ormond ........................ 14

16

HEALTHY WOMAN What is Positive Psychology? ............................................. 16 Beauty: Educate Yourself About Sun Damage................ 18 In Her Own Words: Jessica Bruneau................................. 20 ON THE COVER Fanny Villarreal ......................................................................... 23

23

FOR A GOOD CAUSE A Taste of David's Refuge ................................................... 32 SYRACUSE READS Saved by Grace ........................................................................ 35 INSPIRE Jenniffer Benedetto ............................................................. 36 Marsha Tait ............................................................................ 38 Nancy Avery Dafoe .............................................................. 40

14

4

38

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

UPCOMING EVENTS ................................................................ 44 MOVERS AND SHAKERS ........................................................ 46

32

40

10

The Education Edition


Bryant & Stratton Full Page ad

August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

5


LETTER from the Editor S

H

ello, readers! Welcome to The Education Edition. This month has a special meaning to me for a couple reasons. As a journalist, I consider myself to be a perpetual student. Education — in any way, shape or form — is so important to me. I hope to never stop learning. Secondly, this month marks my third year participating in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Xtreme Hike fundraiser. For those who have read my letters in the past or follow me on social media, you know this is a cause that’s grown close to my heart. The CF Foundation’s mission is to add tomorrows for those diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Groundbreaking research is funded by efforts like the Xtreme Hike. Last year, I was able to beat my original fundraising goal of $2,500, raising more than $3,000! I couldn't have done that without the support of my friends and family. This will be my third year raising awareness and funds throughout the summer, and then taking on the High Peaks at the end of August. On Aug. 25, we'll be hiking a total of THREE mountains: Gothics, Pyramid and Sawteeth. If you want to be part of the climb to a cure, you can donate to my personal fundraising goal by visiting: https://goo. gl/9yzw69. You can also donate to my friend and coworker Linda Jabbour’s personal fundraising goal by visiting: https://goo.gl/ ri6esg. Lastly, please join me on Monday, Aug. 6, for my last fundraising event of the summer at Ye Olde Clipper Tavern (313 Sand St. in Syracuse). There's an all-you-can-eat pasta bar from 4 to 8 p.m. for $10. A quarter of all food proceeds will go directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I hope to see you there!

Lorna

6

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

Y

R

A

C

U

S

E

www.syracusewomanmag.com

OUR TEAM Publisher

Steven J. Pallone Alice G. Patterson

David Tyler

Editor Lorna Oppedisano

Design Andrea Reeves

Photography Paul Carmen Alexis Emm

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jessica Bruneau Nichole A. Cavallaro Rachel Foster Susie Ippolito Lorna Oppedisano Jaime Weisberg

Advertising sales Linda Jabbour Renée Moonan 315.657.0849 315.657.7690 ljabbour@eaglenewsonline.com rmoonan@eaglenewslonline.com

ADVERTISE WITH US Unlike any other publication in the Syracuse area, our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, home matters, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local Syracuse women. Ads are due on the 15th of the month prior to publication. The print magazines will be distributed locally in over 350 locations and will be in your inbox electronically by the middle of every month.

The publication is available free of charge.

CONTACT OUR HOME OFFICE 315.434.8889 | 2501 James Street, Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13206

The magazine is published 12 times a year by Community Media Group, LLC and Eagle Publications, 2501 James St., Suite 100, Syracuse, NY 13206

Copyright © 2018 Community Media Group, LLC. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publishers. Syracuse Woman Magazine is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Community Media Group, LLC and will not be returned.

The Education Edition


PAST SWM Events

1

2 1

3 3

2

5

6

4

7

8

1-3) SWM cover photographer Alice G. Patterson of Alice G. Patterson Photography recently hosted a group photo session for local solopreneurs, shot on Skaneateles Lake. Follow Alice on social media for opportunities to take part of similar shoots in the future. 4-6) Ride & Run for the Rescue was held on Saturday, June 23, at Long Branch Park in Liverpool. The event benefited The Rescue Mission.

9

August 2018

7-9) DeRoberts Plastic Surgery hosted an open house on July 11 at its offices in Syracuse. It was a night of information about the latest technology in aesthetics and plastic surgery procedures.

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

7


FASHION FORWARD From Summer to Fall Fashion

Stretching Your Wardrobe By Nichole A. Cavallaro

T

he easiest way to make your summer pieces more fall-appropriate isn’t to ditch them altogether, but to dress up new ways to wear them. Here are some of the simplest ways to stretch your wardrobe and make all your old favorites work until winter:

into fall. I got my military green jacket from our local Urban Outfitters six years ago and, by now, it’s paid for itself.

Add deeper colors

Maxi dresses are easy and cool for those hot summer days and nights. Before you relegate them to the back of your closet, refashion your maxi dresses by adding long sleeves. Whether it’s a belted blazer, a chunky knit sweater or even a knotted chambray shirt, the trick to wearing a maxi dress in the fall is layering up and defining your waist to offer added structure. The end result is a beautiful and casual fall outfit.

I love the deeper colors that come with the changing of the leaves. The pastels and neons of the spring and summer give way to rich jewel and earth tones. Don’t worry if your closet isn’t already stocked with turquoise, plum and oatmeal. You can add a couple pieces to extend the life of your lighter summer clothes. Stay on the lookout for low-cost pieces in jewel tones that can pull a summer wardrobe into fall. A pair of rustcolored skinnies, a turquoise statement necklace or a mustard scarf can all inexpensively add a pop of fall-appropriate color.

Add tights or leggings

Buy boots

Keep your maxi dresses

This can be a fun way to play with pattern, color and texture for the fall. By stocking up on tights — which generally cost an affordable $6 to $15 — you can extend the life of your favorite summer skirts and dresses. Look for opaque tights. I love cable-knit versions with tons of texture. If you’re not into tights, try leggings. They’re perfect to wear under your summery tunics for more coverage, while still staying fashion-forward.

Layer up

Layered looks aren’t only fashionable; they’re also completely functional. As you layer up your summer clothes, you create new looks that will actually keep you warm in a brisk breeze. Try this rule: Layer long over lean. Match up longerlength tops (think tunics or boyfriend cardigans) over leaner bottoms, such as tights or skinny jeans. The Long Over Lean rule helps you avoid bulkiness that can sometimes result from overenthusiastic layering. Then, just add a sweater or jacket, a light scarf and a pair of boots to finish your perfect fall outfit.

Invest in a statementmaking jacket

My favorite place to spend my fashion budget is definitely in the arena of jackets, blazers and other toppers. They can eclipse summer fabrics and prints, making them more fall-appropriate. My advice is to purchase one statement-making jacket that really stands out but goes with all your summer clothes as you transition

8

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

A pair of boots is an autumn staple that easily makes all your summer outfits warmer and more functional. While you can spend a ton of money on good-quality boots, by purchasing a few pairs of lowercost fashion boots (more about looks for the fall than function in the winter), you’ll extend everything from dresses to jeans to shorts. Boots are an ideal item to stretch your wardrobe, so allocate some of your fall fashion budget to scoring a couple pairs in different heights.

Ignore the rules

One of the reasons fall shopping can be so expensive is all the supposed “rules” that surround dressing in cooler weather. Whether it’s not wearing white after Labor Day, skipping tights with open-toed shoes or even pairing black with navy, these silly rules severely limit the scope of your fall wardrobe. Feel free to wear white after Labor Day (a chic, yellow-toned winter white looks perfect with jewel tones) or wear your favorite open-toed booties with a pop of colored tights. Don’t spend too much time thinking about whether or not an outfit is fall-appropriate. Focus on what’s weather-appropriate and makes you feel great, regardless of the rules. It would be really easy to blow your fashion budget on buying new clothes for the fall, especially with so many tempting displays and sales. But the turning of the leaves doesn’t require a completely new wardrobe. By adding darker colors, richer textures and a little added warmth, your summer clothes can stick around for another season, while you save money to splurge on functional winter clothes. SWM Nichole A. Cavallaro is a Syracuse-based fashion blogger. Read more of her work at eneverythingnice.blogspot.com.

The Education Edition


Everson 1/2 Page ad

Where is this ad???

August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

9


SYRACUSE EATS The Chef & The Cook

Jason Jessmore, DeAnna Germano & Mark Germano THE CHEF & THE COOK CHEF OWNERS

It’s really the progression of our careers and where they’ve landed us.” — DeAnna Germano, The Chef & The Cook co-chef owner

10

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


Photography by Steven J. Pallone August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

11


SYRACUSE EATS The Chef & The Cook

Culinary Education By Lorna Oppedisano

12

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

Photography by Steven J. Pallone

W

ife-and-husband team and culinary creatives DeAnna and Mark Germano met fellow chef Jason Jessmore when the three worked as the opening chef team at Sky Armory. Since their early days together, the trio has been inspired to take an interactive approach to presenting culinary service to their guests. Now, years later, they’re teaming up to do just that at their new restaurant, The Chef & The Cook. “This is our space to do what we want and show what we know,” she said. “We’re going to show the progression of a cook to a chef.” In the time since their work at Sky Armory, DeAnna has kept busy with Chef4Rent, which provides local home meal delivery, catering and food truck services. She plans to continue running this business. Jason was most recently chef at Aster Pantry & Parlor. When the restaurant closed, he approached DeAnna and Mark about working together in some way. They realized opening a restaurant together was the perfect opportunity to have control over both the food and bar. It gave them a chance to make a home for what they truly believe in, DeAnna said. The team started brainstorming with the concept of dual menus. They liked the idea of having something for everyone, from the pickiest to the most adventurous diner. In more than 15 hours of meetings devoted to picking the restaurant name, they discussed at least 50 to 60 options, DeAnna remembered. With the dual menu concept in mind, they knew they wanted the word “and” in the name. Eventually, they landed on The Chef & The Cook. “As soon as we figured it out, it just clicked,” DeAnna said. “As soon as we figured out what it is, the concept fell right in line.”

Spring pea and parmesan dish paired with Alverdi pinot grigio.

The Education Edition


Photography by Steven J. Pallone Photography by Steven J. Pallone

Chef owner DeAnn Germano shucks an oyster. Raw oysters and shrimp cocktails are available at the restaurant’s outside oyster bar.

Smokey muscle dish paired with Empire Brewing Company’s White Aphro.

August 2018

The team got to work and opened in late spring at 7 Syracuse St. in Baldwinsville. With no set cuisine in mind — only the promise of creative, innovative and fresh dishes and drinks — guests are offered three menus: the cook’s menu, the chef’s menu and the seafood bar menu. The cook’s menu offers more traditional items, while the chef’s menu boasts more flair and gastronomy. DeAnna, Mark and Jason brought on two cooks to teach and mentor. One attended school at Paul Smith’s College, where DeAnna studied, and the other draws his skill set from experience in kitchens. “We can train them and show them all these really cool things, from really basic to really high end,” DeAnna said, adding they can learn from each other, as well. The Chef & The Cook team doesn’t just plan to teach their staff. A trip to the restaurant will offer guests an educational culinary experience, too. Whether it’s watching the finishing touches of a dish or drink be completed table-side, engaging in conversation with a chef or perusing a book from the chef’s library, guests will have the opportunity to learn as well as eat. The team plans to change the menu at least seasonally, if not more frequently. They plan to source as locally as possible, including using herbs from the garden right outside the restaurant. With touches like that, the trio hopes to show that chefs do more than just cook, DeAnna said. “It’s really the progression of our careers and where they’ve landed us,” DeAnna said. SWM For more information on The Chef & The Cook, including menus and hours, visit facebook.com/ thechefandthecookbaldwinsville. Connect with them on Instagram @thechefandthecook. Call the restaurant at (315) 303-4159.

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

13


wboc leading woman Cindy Ormond

Celebrating Love By Rachel Foster

C

Photography by Alice G. Patterson

indy Ormond knows how to throw a good party. The owner of Ormond Entertainment, Cindy specializes in putting on memorable wedding receptions for couples throughout Central New York. It’s her calling, she said. “The stars aligned. The signs were clear,” Cindy said. “This is what I needed to do.” She hadn’t always planned to enter the wedding entertainment industry. Cindy was initially going to be a nurse. During nursing school, however, she found a different path.

One night, at a karaoke bar, a woman offered Cindy a job as a hostess with The Karaoke Krew, a growing Upstate New York karaoke business. Cindy had loved singing for fun throughout her life, but never thought of incorporating music into her career. The thought intrigued her and she took the leap. After a few years working with The Karaoke Krew, she bought the business. Cindy renamed the venture Ormond Entertainment and shifted its mission. She offered DJ services for events, all while maintaining a weekly karaoke show. The business was big and booming, quickly earning Ormond Entertainment a glowing reputation in the region. “There was a point, though,” Cindy said, “when I discovered bigger wasn’t necessarily better.” Working at all types of functions — from school dances to corporate events — Cindy and her team felt they were stretching their expertise too thin. They decided to downsize and specialize in what they really loved: love. They put their focus on weddings. “I would dare say that, as human beings, we have a responsibility to amplify love,” Cindy said. “We have this opportunity to create these moments that people in that room will cherish for years to come.” Her business model is different than most; Ormond Entertainment boasts not just a DJ service, but a variety of other entertainment-related services for weddings. All these services, including a photographer, are centralized within one company. Ormond Entertainment made this distinction after Cindy had her own wedding in 2007 and realized what would be most helpful to brides and grooms on their big day. Ormond Entertainment only takes on 25 weddings each year, allowing Cindy to work closely with each client. Months of planning go into each wedding reception. By the time the wedding rolls around, Cindy has spent countless hours with each client. Many of them, she said, have become dear friends. She takes the time to understand and connect with each client, so she can help them create a personalized wedding reception in their vision. An extensive job like this could become taxing. Cindy loves her work, putting a lot of herself into it in the name of love and celebration, but she also knows her limits. There are certain times she won’t answer her phone and focuses her thoughts on cultivating her own celebration with her family. Her husband, Tim, is a business partner in Ormond Entertainment, and their daughter, Kayleigh, always inspires Cindy to set a good example. Having immense love in her own life — for her family, friends and Central New York — allows her to amplify love in the lives of others. Cindy’s kind, passionate and loving spirit led her down the path she is walking today. “You never know what unusual yet grand opportunity will cross your path,” she said. SWM

We have this opportunity to create these moments that people in that room will cherish for years to come.” — Cindy Ormond, Ormond Entertainment owner

14

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

To learn more about Ormond Entertainment, visit ormondentertainment.com. Women Business Opportunities Connection (WBOC) is a nonprofit organization that has been supporting the Syracuse and CNY area for more than 25 years. To become a member, visit wboconnection.org or follow the organization on Twitter at @ WBOConnection. Syracuse Woman Magazine is a signature sponsor of the WBOC. The Education Edition


MY

Lemp Jewelers 1/2O Page L AG S ad MY

W AY

C AV I A R C O L L E C T I O N S

EcoChic Boutique

ok Facebo se n o s u u rac Join ChicSy o c E t a

the look you want

for less

Eco Chic 1/4 Page ad 4314 East Genesee St. DeWitt, NY 13214 315.445.CHIC (2442) www.EcoChicBoutique.biz

Summer Clearance up to 75% Off Fall Items Arriving Soon Open Tuesday - Saturday 11-6pm August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

15


healthy woman What is Positive Psychology?

W

ith its rise in popularity in education, the corporate sphere and personal development, you may have come across the field of positive psychology. Alternatively, you may have been unwittingly exposed to positive psychology theory through popularized terms, like grit, mindset or flow. Regardless of its growing presence, as a positive psychology practitioner, I find the first step in my work is clarifying what positive psychology is — and, maybe more importantly, what it is not. Often misconstrued as positive thinking, positive psychology is actually a scientific field of study, one that taps far past optimism and promotes the experience of a full range of human emotion. A quick search on Google will yield a myriad of results to define this broad-reaching field of science. Taking a collective approach, I define positive psychology as the scientific study of optimal human function, happiness, wellbeing and success — an exploration of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals, communities and organizations to thrive.

16

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

My favorite short answer: it’s the science of the good life. Positive psychology is a much younger scientific study than the broader field of psychology. Its roots began in the late 1990s, when the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Martin Seligman was president of the American Psychological Association. Martin recognized that the post-World War II landscape of psychology focused solely on a disease model, aiming to help individuals recover from mental illness and trauma. While those are necessary and important pursuits, the removal of illness didn’t necessarily lead to wellness; ending suffering did not equal flourishing. The medical community has become well-versed in how to diagnose and categorize what’s wrong with an individual, but no one was studying what was right and how to get individuals beyond a neutral point. Martin worked with the University of Michigan’s Dr. Chris Peterson to co-author, “Character Strengths and Virtues,” a counter-manual to the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” The latter diagnosed and classified mental disorders. In essence, it explained what can go wrong. With “Character Strengths and Virtues,” the authors sought to categorize what was right and looked at strengths in an empirical and rigorously scientific manner. This manual became the foundation of the VIA Survey of Character Strengths, a self-assessment that’s been taken by more than 5 million people in 190 countries,

The Education Edition


helping individuals understand their character strengths and how they can be utilized. During the birth of the field, Martin also developed the PERMA theory of wellbeing, seeking to understand the path to a flourishing life and how people enable it. He established that there are five key elements that enable flourishing: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement. Positive psychology interventions and strategies aim to make small shifts over time in each of these areas which, in turn, aim to increase our capacity to move north of neutral, to a thriving life.

Putting strategy in action A major aspect of flourishing is the ability to build and access resilience during times of stress or struggle. Here is a tool you can utilize the next time you find yourself ruminating on or replaying a worry. First, take some slow, calming breaths. Stress impairs the function of your prefrontal cortex, the area of your brain where rational thinking occurs. Next, break the worry into three categories: best-case scenario, worst-case scenario and most-likely scenario. Due to a phenomenon

August 2018

called the negativity bias, our natural disposition is to narrowly focus on the worst-case scenario and then we replay the scenario on a loop. Taking a moment to recognize there are multiple futures that could unfold helps break that loop. If time permits, you can even assign probabilities to each of the three scenarios. Once you put your worry into perspective, formulate the following thought: “Given the most-likely scenario, I can (fill in the blank).” Our biggest fear is not what is going to happen; rather, we fear we won’t be able to handle it. You now have a much more probable vision of the future and an action plan for when it happens. Sometimes, you will even find your best-case is your most-likely case and wonder why you were worrying in the first place! SWM Jaime Weisberg is an applied positive psychology coach and certified resilience trainer. She is certified to facilitate flourishing skills groups, a transformative group-learning experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human development from Cornell University and a certificate in applied positive psychology from The Flourishing Center in New York City. To learn more about her company, Northbound Coaching & Consulting, visit headnorthbound.com.

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

17


beauty Educate Yourself About Sun Damage

What You Should Know By Susie Ippolito

A

s the summer begins to fade into fall, we say so long to our sunkissed skin and watch our complexions return to their natural hues. Almost. If you look closely, you will notice a few new marks that don’t fade with the season and some older marks that have become larger and darker in color. You may also notice a change in your overall skin tone, elasticity and texture. That’s because while we were enjoying our fun in the sun, the sun was at work wreaking havoc on our skin. Unfortunately, these concerns are mere vanity in comparison to the reality of sun-damaged skin.

Is it really that serious?

Yes! According to Dr. Brian Raphael of Empire Dermatology in East Syracuse, a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained dermatologic surgeon with a speciality in skin cancer surgery, sun damage is very serious. As much as we like to joke about getting our daily dose of vitamin D, we would be better off investing in a supplement and protecting our skin. Take a moment and contemplate how much better pale skin looks than a permanent scar and other long-term damage to the skin.

18

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

“The sun works in a variety of ways to age your skin,” Brian explained. “It creates a reaction that leads to degradation of the cells that maintain the elasticity of the skin.” This results in skin that is less bouncy, less resilient and may even sag a bit more than if we had taken proper precautions. If that’s not enough, he added that “our skin also reacts in a way to protect itself for future damage by creating a thicker epidermis.” Translation: that bronze glow is temporary and quickly replaced by thicker skin that is dull and dehydrated. I never lay in the sun, so I’m not in danger of sun damage… said no dermatologist ever.

Incidental sun damage is as detrimental to the skin as a full day of fun at Green Lakes. Incidental includes any time we are outside, like walking from the car to the office, into and out of the grocery store, and everything in between. Brian is quite clear in his advice about daily sun protection. “It is recommended to wear SPF 30 or above every day and — regardless of the brand or SPF number — it only lasts two to three

The Education Edition


hours,” he said, strongly suggesting reapplying every three hours at minimum. Brian’s top sun safety tip is, simply put, to “seek shade.” When should we be concerned?

Brian cautioned we should visit our dermatologist any time we notice something suspicious. He advised a monthly self-check practice to notice any changes in moles on the skin. “Look for anything new, changing, bleeding, itching or worrisome,” he said. Even if you do not have a history of skin cancer, Brian also noted that “it is beneficial to have a checkup with a board-certified dermatologist to get a baseline.” Once you know the starting point, you can make more careful observations about potentially dangerous changes to the skin. A better way to get that J.Lo glow

Did you know that even J.Lo’s glow is faux? Yup. Her long-time makeup artist, Scott Barnes, is rumored to custom mix it for her in a blender. Lucky for us mere mortals, we have local organic spray tan expert Reena Nyquist to make us into bronze beauties.

August 2018

Organic tanning? Really?

Yes. Really. According to Reena, by going organic, we avoid harsh chemicals that can be as damaging to us as laying in the sun. Non-organic spray tans contain chemical preservatives in the form of parabens, which are linked to a number of women’s health issues. As an added benefit, Reena pointed out the organic spray used in her salon “is paraben-free, gluten-free, sulfate-free, nut-allergen-free and 100 percent vegan,” which results in a much more naturallooking tan. She also notes it will “not give you that orange look like non-organic products.” That is reason enough to go organic! As it turns out — like our favorite cocktails — all forms of tanning are best enjoyed responsibly. SWM Read more from Susie Ippolito at susieippolito.com.

MAGIC NUMBERS • Look for SPF 30 and above • Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours • Avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Look for 100 percent organic spray tan for the best results • Shower eight to 10 hours after spray tanning, then apply SPF

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

19


in her own words Jessica Bruneau

The Meaning of Teaching

Photography by Alexis Emm

S

20

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

ince I was very little, I’d wanted to be a teacher. I played school with my friends, my siblings, my dolls — with anyone willing to sit at a pretend desk and follow my directions. I didn’t know what I would teach until I was in high school and had an English teacher who changed my life. I became a teacher because I had some special teachers who clearly sent me the message that who I was was valuable, that I was capable of hard things, that my voice mattered. It was always my goal to send that same message to my students: “I see you, I love you, you matter.” I went to college to become an English teacher. Then, with all the idealism and hope in the world, I started my first teaching job. Until you stand in front of a classroom and try to impart wisdom to 25 children who don’t care who you are yet, you have no idea what teaching really looks like. What begins to become clear is if you can tough it out and stay the course — if you’re willing to stay late and lose sleep — there’s this beautiful magic that happens between you and your students. I live for the moment when what started as a lesson becomes something they embody, something they own, and — for even the briefest moment — they don’t need me anymore. Watching a student get it and then celebrate herself is the whole magic of teaching. What breaks my heart is how little room there is left for that magic in many classrooms right now. Those moments are what I lived for, but they were not enough to sustain me.

The Education Edition


As a middle school English teacher, one of my goals was to always hold the space for my students to be themselves. I saw part of my job as being the person who told them, “I love you for exactly who you are, even if you’re a little weird, so don’t change. Do not let middle school ruin you and make you conform.” I sent this message through books, writing and the love I hope I showed every student who walked through my door. I walked away from the classroom about three years ago. Sometimes I wrestle with guilt — the idea that I abandoned kids who need me, that I jumped from a sinking ship instead of going down with it. But, every day, I begin to understand more that I showed my students it’s OK to take risks, to stay true to yourself and not let middle school change you. I loved giving everything I had to my students, but when your own cup is empty, what can you give? The traditional school system takes and takes and takes, and rarely gives. I sat on a beach in Costa Rica four years ago, wracked with sobs, knowing a change was coming. I didn’t know what would change and didn’t yet realize I was mourning the fact that I would leave the classroom. Through that next year, God dropped new opportunities in my lap and it became clear I had other paths to follow. When I left the classroom, I thought I was leaving teaching, which felt like a death of something I had wanted my whole life. I began my own business selling essential oils and completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training.

August 2018

I was worried I would lose or miss those magical moments, the ones when a student finally understands and embodies what you have been teaching them. But that experience does not belong only to a classroom. And school-aged students are not the only people in the world who need the message, “I see you, I love you, you matter.” My life looks so different now, but, more than ever, I feel like a teacher. More than ever, I get to teach students they are capable of more than they could have ever dreamed. I get to experience that magic moment all the time. Four walls, a desk and standardized tests do not a teacher make. I still lose sleep over students I care about. I still pour my time and heart into planning yoga classes and preparing resources for my oily team. I still have goals to meet. I still have to use my alarm clock — but only sometimes! And every time a student does a headstand for the first time, texts me to tell me how they supported their own wellness with an oil, breathes instead of yells or kicks all the toxins out of their home, I still get to experience the magic. The difference is my cup is so full, it’s overflowing. I’m able to give and give and give, and I continue to receive, receive, receive. Yoga tells us everything is the teacher. I count myself lucky to have learned from so many and blessed to sometimes be one of them. SWM Connect with Jessica Bruneau about Young Living essential oils, yoga, tutoring and more at jessicabruneau.weebly.com. Connect with Jessica on Instagram @thejesslifeever.

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

21


22

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


COVER STORY Fanny Villarreal

fanny villarreal YWCA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Photography by Alice G. Patterson

Education is very important — all kinds of education.” — Fanny Villarreal, YWCA executive director

YWCA executive director Fanny Villarreal stands at the YWCA offices in Syracuse. August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

23


COVER story Fanny Villarreal

Fighting Racism with Education By Lorna Oppedisano

W

hen YWCA executive director Fanny Patricia Villarreal Torres moved from her home country of Peru to the United States, she arrived with a sealed envelope from the U.S. Embassy in Peru. Upon arrival, she handed the envelope to the customs officer. Remaining stone-faced, he looked through its contents. A few minutes later — what felt like an eternity to Fanny — he stamped the papers, and told her, “Your name is Fanny P. Villarreal.” Without any questions or discussion, he’d shortened her name, changing her identity. Earlier this summer, Fanny shared this anecdote during a group discussion she led about racism. When she received the invite, she started to think about the topic. People read about racism quite often, she thought to herself. It’s a subject present in the media on a daily basis. “But I think it’s more powerful when you actually tell your own story,” Fanny said.

Finding community Fanny moved to Syracuse when she was 25. It wasn’t something she initially planned, but looking back now at age 52, “God has his own ways to do different things,” she said. Once she realized she wanted to stay in the area for good, Fanny set out to find a job. Though she’d earned a law degree in Peru, she wanted a job that would give her an opportunity to improve her English and familiarize herself with her new home. While she’d learned English growing up, Fanny was surprised to find the English spoken in the States was slightly different than what she knew. “My ears needed to get accustomed to the way we speak here,” she said. “I could understand, but I was afraid to talk. So, I didn’t talk.” Fanny got a job as a cashier at Nojaim Brothers Supermarket on Syracuse’s west side. Finding herself building connections with other Spanish-speaking people at the new job, she quickly realized she could help them. “I learned that there were a lot of people who needed a lot of education and a lot of support,” she said. “So, I learned, myself, how to help them.” Fanny became a social worker of sorts for her coworkers. She quickly worked her way from cashier to manager. Her boss, Paul Nojaim, noticed her passion for helping the Latino community. One day, he told her, “You have a lot to offer to your own community, so I got you an interview at Catholic Charities.” Fanny was surprised — and initially not excited — about the prospect of a new job. She didn’t want to leave the community she’d built through her position at Nojaim. But Paul saw potential for Fanny to be of value at Catholic Charities. He urged her to take the interview. She did and was offered the job on the spot. Returning to Nojaim after the successful interview, Fanny was upset she’d have to leave the job she’d grown to love. Paul offered an alternative: she could work at Catholic Charities during the day and keep her position at Nojaim in the evening. She accepted his offer. Along with working the two jobs, Fanny also took classes to improve her English. “It was a lot of things I did in order to help my community and better myself,” she said. 24

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

A mission of education When Fanny first moved to Syracuse, people warned her to watch out for racism. Though she didn’t encounter any racism while working at Nojaim, her fellow employees told her she would undoubtedly have to deal with it eventually and would have to be strong. After beginning to work for Catholic Charities, Fanny moved out of the city and to Chittenango. When she went to church, she could feel everyone’s eyes on her. At first, she didn’t understand why, but began looking around. Soon, she realized everyone else was the same except her, she remembered. “That’s when I understood what everybody was saying to me [about racism],” Fanny said. Then, she began to notice a pattern. At the grocery store near her home, employees followed her around the store until she confronted them. Not wanting to get into an argument, she told them, “I’m not buying anything in this store,” and left. She drove from Chittenango to Syracuse, taking her business to Nojaim. While she was shopping for new clothes, Fanny noticed people talking about her. She realized they were suspicious she might steal something, when she was simply trying on clothes. “And all these things that happened to me, I can assure you they happened to everybody else,” she said. Rather than internalize the way she was being treated and let it fester into anger and resentment, Fanny made it her mission to teach Central New Yorkers about Latino culture. “I think education is very important — all kinds of education,” she said, explaining that education about different cultures and traditions is equally important to an academic education. Fanny created Nosotros Radio, a not-for-profit dedicated to bridging the gap between the Latino and Central New York communities. She’s celebrating 25 years of Nosotros Radio this year. “That’s my first baby,” she said with a laugh. Fanny co-founded the Aurelia Crespo and Carlos Lavezzari Latino Americano Scholarship Fund, administered by the Central New York Community Foundation. She also co-founded the Syracuse Latino festival, creating another avenue of education for the public. This year’s festival is planned for Aug. 11 in Clinton Square. In 1998, Fanny became the executive director of the Spanish Action League, continuing her role as educator and connector in that position. While she realizes no one person can change the entire world, Fanny stressed the importance of making an impact on your space in it. “What I can do is, I can change and educate people who are around me,” she said, adding she strives to affect everyone from her two children to her coworkers to her community. “That’s where I live. That’s where I care. We all could do that.” In her efforts to educate people, one of the most important and impactful tools Fanny utilizes is open and honest conversation. Continued on page 26 YWCA executive director Fanny Villarreal stands in the gymnasium at the YWCA offices in Syracuse. The Education Edition


Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Nosotros Radio

When: Saturday, Oct. 13 Where: Marriott Syracuse Downtown

Photography by Alice G. Patterson

Find more information at facebook.com/nosotrosradio

I can change and educate people who are around me. … That’s where I live. That’s where I care. We all could do that.” — Fanny Villarreal, YWCA executive director

August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

25


COVER story Fanny Villarreal

Fighting Racism with Education from page 24

Leading the YWCA After the Spanish Action League, Fanny worked as the family and community development director at P.E.A.C.E., Inc. Then, about six years ago, she accepted the position of executive director at the YWCA. The organization’s mission — “eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all” — fit perfectly with her own mission and the work she’d accomplished so far in Central New York. Now, each day of work is different — from managing finances to programming to reports and more — but they all have one thing in common: collaboration with her passionate staff. Every member of the YWCA staff has the mission at heart, she explained. “If you don’t believe in the mission, if you don’t breathe the mission, if you don’t think on the mission, then it’s not worth it,” she said. She added that the YWCA staff are excited to wake up and go to work each morning. “That shows,” she said. “And when you’re working with people, it’s very important that you provide this love, this positive message, this great energy.” The nonprofit offers programming for both girls and women, all centered around education in some way, Fanny said. The programs for girls range from the Girls Inc. program, aimed at helping girls ages 5 to 18 become smart, strong and bold, to STYA, also known as Successful Transition from Youth to Adolescents. Fanny and her team collaborate with a number of local organizations, including Upstate Medical University, REACH CNY, the Syracuse City School District, Syracuse University and National Grid. The YWCA also offers a women’s residence program. They provide both temporary and permanent housing to 55 homeless women — some with children, some single — with the aim of helping them get back on their feet and be successful. Once the YWCA staff members ensure the women are ready and willing to make changes in their lives, the women are accepted into the program and assigned case managers. The case managers then work hand-in-hand with the women to establish goals and make plans to achieve those goals. “It’s amazing,” Fanny said.

26

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

Choosing happiness America really is the land of opportunities, Fanny said. “You know why? If you really want to do something here, you can do it,” she said. For Fanny, that includes creating a Latino radio program and festival, owning her own home, establishing and growing a successful career and raising a family. “My kids are my world,” she said with a smile. She emphasized the importance of one particular goal: making a conscious decision to be happy. Years ago, when she moved to Syracuse, Fanny made that decision herself. Every time she helps and educates another person — from her sons to community members to staff members — she reinforces her choice. “If you wait to have a car to be happy, if you wait to have a husband to be happy, if you wait to have money to be happy — whatever it is that you might think — you’re never going to be happy,” Fanny said. “You’re always going to look for something else to complete whatever it is that you’re thinking. It’s an individual decision.” SWM For more information on the YWCA, visit ywca-syracuse.org. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/ywcasyracuse. YWCA executive director Fanny Villarreal stands in the art space at the YWCA offices in Syracuse.

Photography by Alice G. Patterson

Everyone — herself included — makes assumptions and preconceived notions, she explained. When those ideas aren’t questioned and explored, they can lead to prejudice, which, in turn, can lead to racist thoughts and actions, Fanny said. Letting yourself be vulnerable with open conversation can put a stop to the cycle, she explained. “When your conversations make you feel uncomfortable of the topic, that’s when you actually are opening up,” she said. “That’s when you are like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, I feel uncomfortable because one time, I thought about this, and I was wrong.’ That’s when you open up your mind — your heart — to listen to the other person.”

The Education Edition


August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

27


28

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

29


Alice G. Patterson Full Page ad

30

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

31


for a good cause A Taste of David's Refuge

A Taste of Goodness Interview by Rachel Foster

D

avid’s Refuge is a nonprofit organization serving parents and guardians of children with special needs. The fifth annual A Taste of David’s Refuge fundraising event is planned for September 21. This event gives guests a “taste” of the services David’s Refuge offers and helps to fund respite weekends for parents. We spoke with David’s Refuge Executive Director Kate Houck to learn more about the organization and the event.

all expenses paid. We send them out to dinner both nights of their stay and have a gift basket waiting for them in their room. The magic comes because we rent out the entire bed-and-breakfast. All the rooms are filled with couples who are on the same journey.

SWM: Can you give us a brief history of David’s Refuge?

Kate: David’s Refuge is in a time of growth. Our ability to execute our services really comes from events like this. Right now, it costs David’s Refuge around $600 just for one couple to go on a two-night stay. We can go into this event knowing $100,000 will come from it. It certainly gives us the confidence to keep booking those locations and keep offering our services.

Kate: David’s Refuge was started by Warren and Brenda Pfohl about six-and-a-half years ago. Their middle son, David, was diagnosed with a fatal genetic disorder at age 8. So, they understood firsthand the trials and tribulations of raising a child with special needs. After David passed, they decided to convert the wing of their home that had been David’s bedroom into a bed-and-breakfast, with this heart of wanting to pay forward the love they had received in the 13 years of caring for David. That’s where Caring for the Caregiver was born, right in their home. Forty-three couples came through their door in one year, so they knew they had uncovered an unmet need in our community.

SWM: How does David’s Refuge serve its guests now? Kate: We partner with bed-and-breakfasts. We send couples for a two-night getaway,

32

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

SWM: Talk about the importance of A Taste of David’s Refuge.

SWM: What can people expect from this year’s event? Kate: It’s really meant to give this taste of what David’s Refuge is all about: connecting with people around you, having a great time and giving yourself a little break. We bring in the support of local restaurants. We do dessert stations. We have a silent auction and a live auction. A lot of our bedand-breakfast partners donate two-night stays, so we can auction those off. A man who owns a party barge on Cazenovia Lake is going to offer up his boat for a night with him. We get some really unique and fun items.

This year, we’ll have a new location, which offers bocce ball courts and a fire pit, so we’re going to do a s’mores station. We’re always offering up local food and local drinks, so it’s really a homegrown event. We allow people space to have fun. We don’t over-program the event, so they just have a chance to come and have a really fun Friday night out. We do about a 15-minute program, and that’s it. We’ll have our founders speak, which is always exciting, and then we allow our honorary chairs to have some time on the mic to tell their story.

SWM: What excites you most about this year’s event? Kate: I’m always excited about our honorary chairs, because it’s really nice to hear the actual perspective of a family we’ve served and see how David’s Refuge has impacted their life. I’m always the most excited about the connections that will take place because of the stories that are told. A Taste of David’s Refuge is slated for Sept. 21 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Redbarn20, Windridge Estate 2527 Route 20 East, Cazenovia. Tickets are $125 per person. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit davidsrefuge.org/events/a-taste-ofdavids-refuge.

The Education Edition


August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

33


34

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


SYRACUSE READS Saved by Grace

A Look into Exodus House Local career, life and relationship coach LeaAnn Fuller, founder of Fuller Life, learned about Exodus 3 Ministries through her Adopt-A-Mom program. Little did she know, the connection would inspire her to compile stories of women who have overcome addictions with support of Exodus House into “Saved By Grace: Opening Doors for Wounded Women Walking.” This month, LeaAnn shared with us a sneak peek of the book.

Deeper Than The Addiction By LeaAnn Fuller

As people, we never know where drug addiction might appear in our lives. We never think it can happen to us or anyone we love. We feel that if we raise our children right, teach them right from wrong, tell them to just say no, they will stay away from drugs. We tell them and even try to show them the dangers of using drugs. It’s all with the hope that we can protect our children, family, and friends. I was introduced to the Exodus House and Debra Person through my Adopt-A-Mom for Christmas program in 2016. I started AdoptA-Mom for Christmas back in 2011, when my mom was extremely ill from cancer. My whole family knew it would be her last. It was heartbreaking. It was hard to make the best of her favorite holiday when I knew it would be her last. By 2016, we had worked up to 50 gifts a year, but I wanted to impact more women’s lives and make a bigger difference, not only for the holidays, but year-round. The women of Exodus House were nominated by a friend of the house to receive gifts for Christmas. It took but five minutes from the time we dropped off the gifts to hear from Debra. We spent a few moments together and had an instant connection. We both had a good idea of the impact we could make together on the women of Exodus House, but didn’t realize the impact we all could have on the world. This initial connection — coming from such a small act of caring, kindness, and giving — would eventually lead to the beginning of a movement to impact the world of addiction. I can tell you that I am no expert on drugs or drug addiction. Before meeting Debra and the women of Exodus House, I had never

August 2018

seen the true depths of the toll addiction can have on a person. I’d only seen the death and destruction on TV shows, movies, or the news. When I saw all the horrible things on TV that were happening to people because of drug addiction, I’d always wondered why someone would do that to themselves. One thing I’d learned for sure is drug addiction has no prejudice; it can ruin your life, regardless of whether you are white or black, young or old, man or woman, rich or poor. I wondered what would drive someone to make that choice to pick up those drugs. What drives a person to choose to do something that can and very well may kill them? What part of dying looks fun? After meeting Debra and the women of Exodus House, I learned drug addiction isn’t a life anyone would choose. Drug addiction appears as an escape from something that is often far more serious. Really, addiction of any kind is an escape from who we are and what we have buried deep down inside. According to Exodus 3 Ministries’ mission, the organization “is committed to providing holistic services that support the process of positive change, investing in the spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being of women and families.” To learn more about Exodus 3 Ministries, visit exodus3ministries.org. SWM For more information on LeaAnn Fuller and My Fuller Life, visit lovingyourfullerlife.com. Look for “Saved By Grace: Opening Doors for Wounded Women Walking” on Amazon and LeaAnn’s website.

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

35


INSPIRE Jenniffer Benedetto

jenniffer benedetto

Photography by Alexis Emm

SYRACUSE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT TEACHER

36

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


Teaching Education Appreciation By Lorna Oppedisano

“E

Now, three years later, after hard work and new methods — veryone has a story and everybody has gifts. That’s how I including more field trips, more community interaction and stronger try to teach,” Syracuse City School District teacher Jenniffer relationships with students and their families — graduation rates Benedetto said. “I educate and inspire with that mindset, have increased. with love and determination.” “The relationship piece is key, especially in alternative ed,” Jenniffer didn’t always dream of being a teacher. In fact, growing up, Jenniffer said. she didn’t particularly love school. Education wasn’t part of the backbone Class sizes are small, with no more than 15 students per class. of life, she explained. Jenniffer’s school days start by greeting each student with lots of That began to change when she attended Onondaga Community energy. For children who don’t have a lot of experience being a student, College, where she earned two degrees. She’s always admired her just walking into a space can cause anxiety, she explained. English teachers. At OCC, Jenniffer’s instructors told her she was a Being someone who didn’t always feel comfortable in school, talented writer. She began to read more and eventually fell in love Jenniffer hopes sharing her own experiences can help her students. with education. “Sometimes I felt like an outsider looking into the world of She earned a master’s degree at the State University of New York education,” she remembered. “I didn’t realize my own intellect until College at Cortland. While student teaching in the Syracuse City I went to college. And I thought, ‘There’s got to be more young people School District shortly before who feel like me.’” graduating, she was offered She uses small group learning a permanent position with stations to cover different topics the district. each day, and has also adapted I didn’t realize my own intellect until I went Jenniffer spent the next 13 years the Cultural Voices program to teaching high school English at to college. And I thought, ‘There’s got to fit the alternative education setting. Nottingham High School, Starting in fall 2019, be more young people who feel like me.’” where autonomy led to success in Jenniffer plans to be part of creative approaches to teaching, — Jenniffer Benedetto, Syracuse City School Peer Assistance and Review, she explained. a district program aimed to District teacher “That’s really been a theme provide support, guidance and throughout my career,” she said. evaluation for first-year teachers. “I’ve been able to do some things She hopes her experiences as I wanted to do and have the freedom to do it.” an educator will help young teachers. About 12 years ago, the Nottingham administration asked Jenniffer “I’d like to do something to impact the school system and teaching if she would be interested in creating a community-wide dialogue class, even more,” she said. since she had such a strong connection with the students. Jenniffer hopes to inspire people to stay in Syracuse. There’s a great Along with a fellow teacher, Jenniffer worked to create Cultural deal of potential in the area, she explained. She’d like to see young Voices, now a New York State Recognized Program of Excellence. people stay and become teachers and leaders. The class — typically a semester in length — connects high school Through her 16 years of teaching, Jenniffer’s made lasting students with doctoral and masters students, and centers around the connections with her students and their families. She mentors them skill of dialogue communication. long after the school year is over. Whether it’s being part of a book “And I tell them, ‘That will open doors for you in life, not just in club, looking over a resume or job application, or bringing them to a school. Maybe in your personal life, on the job [or] in college,’” march or rally, she’s happy to help them find their voice and have she said. it heard. About three years ago, Jenniffer was given the opportunity to help “They have a voice. They just need a platform,” Jenniffer said. pilot a new program at the district’s Johnson Center. “And I’ll be the conduit for that.” SWM “Whatever was here before was not working,” she explained. “Kids were not earning credits. Kids were not graduating.” For more information about the Syracuse City School District, So, Jenniffer and a few other teachers created the alternative high visit syracusecityschools.com. school program EPIC, Engaging People in Innovation and Creativity. They approached the project with a question in mind: how can we help and connect with these students for whom the traditional, larger high school setting hasn’t worked?

August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

37


INSPIRE Marsha Tate

marsha tate LITERACY CNY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Photography by Paul Carmen

We, on staff, have the privilege of being able to see people’s lives transformed.” — Marsha Tait, LiteracyCNY executive director

Transforming lives. Strengthening communities. 38

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


A Life Made for Literacy By Lorna Oppedisano

T

hough Marsha Tait didn’t set out with the intent of developing a career in the world of adult literacy, looking back at her family history, one might think it was destiny. Her mother was the child of two immigrants, both of whom came to the United States speaking little English and learned the language on their own. Her father grew up on a farm in Canada. For his family, school was less of a priority than work. “Although he became self-educated over the course of his life, he actually dropped out of school in the eighth grade and thought of himself as an uneducated man, and would refer to himself that way,” Marsha remembered. “And, so, I could see how a person who had not graduated from high school or gone on to higher ed would feel inferior and would lack confidence in the world, no matter what they accomplished or achieved.” Now, as executive director of LiteracyCNY, Marsha works to help people in the Central New York area who struggle with literacy. She moved to the area to attend Syracuse University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. After graduation, she spent some time working in the corporate sector, building a base of management and business skills. When the time came for the next step in her career, Marsha felt drawn to the nonprofit world. She was hired as director of development at The Salvation Army, where she worked for about 18 months. Eventually, she decided she wanted to return to the corporate sector. “I had made up my mind that I could do more good as a board member than as a staff person,” she remembered. As it happens, though, life had other plans in store for Marsha. A friend on the board of Literacy Volunteers of America, a national adult literacy organization headquartered in Syracuse, reached out to Marsha. The nonprofit was in need of someone with senior management experience to fill in as president for three months. Marsha fit the bill and was hired. Thinking back, she joked she could have fit what she knew about nonprofit management and governance into a thimble, and she had no experience in the field of adult literacy. But, because of her family’s history, the job was a good fit. “The issue resonated with me immediately,” she said. Marsha could relate to both the population of students the organization served — those new to the English language and those seeking to further their literacy skills. She ended up staying on permanently as president.

August 2018

During her time with the nonprofit, Literacy Volunteers of America merged with another national adult literacy organization, Laubach Literacy International. Marsha was part of the team that facilitated the merger and became senior vice president of ProLiteracy Worldwide, the new resulting organization. When ProLiteracy’s president eventually retired, the incoming president asked Marsha to relocate to Washington, D.C. Having built a life in the Central New York area, she wasn’t ready to leave. She’d begun taking a few classes at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She decided to take the opportunity to go back to school full time, earning a degree in public administration, along with certificates in advanced study in conflict resolution and health management and services. While studying, she’d joined the board of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse. Shortly after she graduated, the organization’s executive director became ill. Once again, Marsha found herself stepping into a temporary three-month position. “And now, here I am, eight years later,” she said with a laugh. As executive director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Syracuse, Marsha had the opportunity to be creative. She brought strategies and ideas she’d learned at the national level to the local organization. Since she began steering the organization, they’ve expanded instructional programs, increased student enrollment, moved to the Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center and changed the name to LiteracyCNY. The nonprofit offers two approaches: one-onone tutoring with volunteers and small group classes taught by professional instructors at the Syracuse Educational Opportunity Center and in remote locations hosted by partner organizations. Marsha loves the immediacy of this work, she said. “We, on staff, have the privilege of being able to see people’s lives transformed as they acquire skills they never thought they could acquire,” she said. Throughout her life, Marsha’s seen the result of adult literacy on a personal, local and national scale. The total sum of her career adds up to helping end intergenerational poverty in her community, which in turn gives people the chance to excel past entry level positions and achieve a living wage. “You can’t address issues like intergenerational poverty unless you provide people with the opportunity to improve their literacy and educational skills,” Marsha said. “And, so, we’re a key part of the solution.” SWM

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

39


INSPIRE Nancy Dafoe

nancy dafoe

Photography by Paul Carmen

LOCAL WRITER AND ENGLISH EDUCATOR

40

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


The Power of Writing By Lorna Oppedisano

F

rom the moment she envisioned herself in an occupation, writer and English educator Nancy Avery Dafoe knew she would be a writer. “I wanted to do everything,” she explained, “and writing is a way to jump into whatever interests you at the moment.” After starting her career in traditional journalism, Nancy channeled her passion for writing into entrepreneurship. She founded DaFoe Newsletters, a public relations firm specializing in advocacy journalism. Each project had a cause behind it. Nancy used her writing, editing and self-taught photography skills to create content for employers around the state, including school districts and hospitals. Though she was faced with the typical struggles of an entrepreneur — some months were easier than others — owning her own business gave Nancy more time with her young children. Having flexibility also gave her the opportunity to coach her daughters’ softball teams. The experience helped her realize she was skilled at and enjoyed working with children. Though she loved DaFoe Newsletters, Nancy decided to take the next step down her career path. She earned a master’s degree in teaching and English and began teaching high school English at East Syracuse Minoa Central High School. During her 16 years at the school, Nancy taught primarily seniorlevel classes, including her favorites — Advanced Placement English, creative writing and journalism. She also began her writing career while still teaching. Nancy’s students suggested she write a book about her writing processes and techniques. So, she penned “Breaking Open the Box: A Guide for Creative Techniques to Improve Academic Writing and Generate Critical Thinking” and “Writing Creatively: A Guided Journal to Using Literary Devices.” Eventually, Nancy transitioned to writing full time. If the atmosphere around teaching was different in the state and across the country, she might still be in the classroom, she said. “I was ready to write about the experience and write about other things,” she said. “And, my whole life, I’d wanted to write.” As she left teaching, she was in the process of writing “The Misdirection of Education Policy: Raising Questions about School Reform.” “I think educators should definitely read this book, but I also think parents should read it to better understand what’s happening in education and why it’s happening,” Nancy said. The next book she published was even closer to her heart. While Nancy was teaching and developing her career as an author, her mother developed Alzheimer’s disease. She wasn’t diagnosed until the disease had greatly progressed, Nancy remembered, adding that her father hadn’t wanted to admit his wife was ill. Nancy began writing poetry as a way to deal with what was happening. Before she knew it, she practically had a book of material. August 2018

Adding to what she’d written, Nancy wrote “An Iceberg in Paradise: A Passage Through Alzheimer’s,” a memoir about her experiences. She learned a lot about the disease and herself through the process. “It exposes the disease for what it is: a disease and not something that people should shy away from,” Nancy said. “What I hope it does is it helps people help other people with it.” Throughout her life, Nancy has written a number of novels, most of them in the genre of literary fiction. A mystery she discovered about two works of literature she’d read inspired her to write “You Enter a Room,” the first in a series centered around both a murder mystery and the literary mystery Nancy discovered. The story can be interpreted on a couple different levels. “I think it’s fun because it’s a smart novel,” Nancy said. The sequel, “Both End in Speculation,” is due out in November and Nancy is currently writing the third installment. Not one to take on only one project at a time, Nancy is working on several, including ones through her consulting business, Dafoe Writing & Consulting. A few months after retiring from teaching, Nancy founded the business. She aims to help other people of all skill levels with their writing. “I just like to do different things. It’s probably why I like all these different genres,” Nancy said. “I like being in different places and different adventures.” SWM For more information about Nancy and her work, visit nancydafoebooks.com.

For Aspiring Writers Though Nancy is retired from full-time teaching, she occasionally teaches through the YMCA’s Downtown Writers Center. For more information on the center, including workshops and events, visit syracuse.ymca.org/dwc.html.

Nancy displays her works at the YMCA’s The Downtown Writer's Center. SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

41


parent SYRACUSE

Pick up the latest edition at hundreds of CNY locations!

Syracuse Parent Magazine is your local resource for information, tips, recipes, parenting trends and more when it comes to families in Central New York! Find our more at syracuseparent.net or call (315) 434-8889.

42

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

The Education Edition


August 2018

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

43


UPCOMING SWM Events Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5 Syracuse Summer Theatre at the OnCenter Presents Pippin When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. What: Syracuse Summer Theatre’s production of the Tony award-winning Broadway play. Contains adult themes; parental guidance suggested. Cost: $30. Where: Bevard Studio, 590 S. State St., Syracuse. Info: syracusesummertheatre.com.

Wednesday, Aug. 8 FIT Boss: Ignite the Passion When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. What: Includes keynote speaker, Todd Durkin, breakout sessions, fitness pavilion, lunch and more. Cash bar. Cost: $150. Where: Sky Armory, 351 S. Clinton St., Syracuse. Info: fitbosssyr.com.

Fridays, Aug. 3 through Aug. 31 Food Truck Fridays When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. What: Food truck fare presented by the Syracuse Food Truck Association and music. Cost: Free admission. Where: Everson Plaza, 401 Harrison St., Syracuse. Info: everson.org/connect/events.

Wednesday, Aug. 8 Happy Hour + Fitness Expo When: 5 to 8 p.m. What: Happy hour following FIT Boss: Ignite the Passion. Cost: Free admission. Where: Sky Armory, 351 S. Clinton St., Syracuse. Info: fitbosssyr.com.

Saturday, Aug. 4 Eastwood Market Day When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. What: Includes more than 50 vendors featuring antiques, handmade jewelry, clothes, homemade foods, handmade items and more. Cost: Free admission. Where: United HealthCare parking lot, 100 Eastwood Road, Syracuse. Info: eastwoodneighbor.com.

Wednesday, Aug. 8 Workout on Walton When: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. What: Pop-up workout session in Armory Square. Multiple workout classes available. Cost: Free admission. Where: Armory Square, Syracuse. Info: fitbosssyr.com.

Monday, Aug. 6 Jowonio Open Golf Tournament When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. What: Benefits the programs of Jowonio School. Includes captain and crew tournament, prizes and more. Cost: Check online for pricing. Sales close Aug. 3. Where: The Links at Erie Village, 5904 N. Burdick St., E. Syracuse. Info: jowonio.org. Tuesdays, Aug. 7 through Aug. 28 Downtown Farmers Market When: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. What: Outdoor market includes more than 50 farmers and produce dealers selling fresh, seasonal vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, cheeses, baked goods, flowers, plants, handcrafted items and more Cost: Free admission. Where: Clinton Square, downtown Syracuse. Info: downtownsyracuse.com/farmersmarket. Tuesday, Aug. 7 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Kickoff Expo When: 7 to 8:30 a.m. What: Includes information about Making Strides campaign, how to get involved, personal stories, fundraising ideas, breakfast and more. Cost: No admission charge; RSVP online. Where: Museum of Science and Technology, 500 S. Franklin St., Syracuse. Info: Rebecca Flint, SyracuseNYStrides@Cancer.org or (315) 433-5635. Wednesday, Aug. 8 1 Million Cups When: Doors open, 8:30 a.m.; presentation, 9 to 10 a.m. What: Presentations by local early-stage startup companies aim to draw feedback from peers, mentors, educators and advisors. Open to the public. Cost: Free admission. Where: Syracuse CoWorks, 201 E. Jefferson St., Syracuse. Info: 1millioncups.com/syracuse. 44

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

Wednesday, Aug. 8 Drones Over Downtown When: 4 to 7 p.m. What: Hosted by GENIUS NY and The Tech Garden. Includes networking, drone demos, contests and more. Where: The Tech Garden patio, 235 Harrison St., Syracuse. Info: centerstateceo.com/news-events/2018-drones-over-downtown. Thursday, Aug. 9 I.M.P.A.C.T. Workout with Todd Durkin When: 10 to 11 a.m. What: Workout with FIT Boss keynote speaker, Todd Durkin. Cost: $40. Where: Sky Armory, 351 S. Clinton St., Syracuse. Info: fitbosssyr.com. Thursday, Aug. 9 C&S Presents: Savoring Science When: Cocktails and auction at the MOST, 6 to 7:30 p.m.; seated dinner, wine and dessert at Citronelle, 7:30 p.m. What: 17th annual fundraiser benefits the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology. Cost: Check online for pricing. Where: The MOST, 500 S. Franklin St., and Citronelle, Walton St., Syracuse. Info: most.org. Thursday, Aug. 9 Golfing for his Kids When: Shotgun start, 10 a.m. What: 14th annual tournament to benefit Father Champlin’s Guardian Angel Society includes 18 holes of golf, lunch, dinner, contests and more. Cost: Single golfer, $125; foursome, $500. Where: Radisson Greens, 8055 Potter Road, Baldwinsville. Info: guardianangelsoc.org/events. The Education Edition


Saturday, Aug. 11 Fourth Annual Cause for the ‘Cuse Charity Golf Tournament When: Check in, 11 a.m.; shotgun start, 1 p.m.; event ends, 7 p.m. What: Raises funds for Terakeet’s Cause for the ‘Cuse, a clothing and school supply drive benefiting Syracuse City School District students. Event includes 18 holes of golf, golf cart, drink ticket, lunch ticket, dinner, raffles and more. Cost: $100. Where: Drumlins Country Club, 800 Nottingham Road, Syracuse. Info: terakeet.com/about/community/cause-for-the-cuse.

Saturday, Aug. 18 Asian Elephant Extravaganza When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. What: Include keeper chats, elephant demos at Asian Elephant Preserve, examples of Southeast Asian music and dance and more. Presented in partnership with the Syracuse University South Asia Center. Cost: Free to members and with zoo admission. Where: Rosamond Gifford Zoo, 1 Conservation Place, Syracuse. Info: rosamondgiffordzoo.org/upcoming-events.

Sunday, Aug. 12 CNY Pop Festival When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. What: Features guests from sports and entertainment, food, local businesses and more. Cost: General admission and VIP tickets available. Check online for pricing. Where: F Shed at The Market, 2100 Park St., Syracuse. Info: superpoweredpop.webs.com.

Saturday, Aug. 18 Sensory Friendly Time When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. What: The MOST turns down noise, turns off flashing lights, shuts off air compressors and turns on the house lights so people with sensory processing challenges can enjoy the MOST and sensory friendly activities. Cost: Members, free; nonmembers, $5. Where: Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology, 500 S. Franklin St., Syracuse. Info: most.org/learn/sensory-friendly-time.

Sunday, Aug. 12 Wealth, Women & Wine When: 2 to 4 p.m. What: Annual event includes networking with local minority female business owners. Cost: $10. Where: Aloft Syracuse Inner Harbor, 310 W. Kirkpatrick St., Syracuse. Info: Find event on eventbrite.com. Monday, Aug. 13 Crystals for a Cause When: 5 to 8 p.m. What: Help SWM account executive Linda Jabbour raise funds and awareness for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Central New York Chapter with this Touchstone Jewelry party. Featuring food and wine from Dani’s Dessert & Wine Bar. Where: 56 Oswego St., Baldwinsville. Info: Contact Linda Jabbour at ljabbour@eaglenewsonline.com. Saturday, Aug. 18 Fighting for a Future Charity Fundraiser When: 6 to 10 p.m. What: Benefits Rinaldi Foundation and the West Area Athletic Education Center. Cost: $30. Where: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, 246 W. Willow St., Syracuse. Info: Find event on eventbrite.com. Saturday, Aug. 18 If We Eat They Eat Fundraiser When: 6 to 9 p.m. What: Evening of fun and fundraising benefits We Rise Above the Streets Recovery Inc. Includes dinner, Care for the Homeless fashion show, bake sale and more. Business casual attire. Cost: $25. Where: Salt City Coffee, 509 W. Onondaga St., Syracuse. Info: facebook.com/weriseabovethestreetsrecoveryoutreachinc.

August 2018

Monday, Aug. 20 Clear Path Warrior Classic Golf Tournament When: 7 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. What: Inaugural event benefits Clear Path for Veterans. Cost: Single, $250; foursome, $950. Where: Shenendoah Golf Club, 5218 Patrick Road, Verona. Info: clearpath4vets.com/calendar/clear-path-warrior-classic. Wednesday, Aug. 29 Lunch and Learn: Out of the Vault When: 12:15 to 1 p.m. What: Bring your own lunch and learn about work in the Everson’s permanent collection. Cost: Pay-what-you-wish admission. Where: Everson Museum of Art, 401 Harrison St., Syracuse. Info: everson.org/connect/events. Wednesday, Aug. 29 Women’s Day at The Great NYS Fair When: Mini-fair, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; check online for luncheon time. What: Includes mini-fair, program and luncheon. Cost: $20 includes luncheon, fair pass and parking. Where: Great New York State Fair, 581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse. Info: nysfair.ny.gov/your-visit/special-fair-days. Thursday, Aug. 30 O Yoga and Lululemon on the Community Plaza When: Truck show begins, 5:30 p.m.; class, 6:30 p.m. What: Seventh annual event features Lululemon Syracuse truck show, yoga class and food from CoreLife Eatery. Bring your own mat. Cost: Free admission. Where: Everson Plaza, 401 Harrison St., Syracuse. Info: everson.org/connect/events.

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

45


movers AND Shakers Junior League participates in National Volunteer Week

lunch, networking opportunities and an executive panel discussion. Keynote speakers included Dr. Kaushal Nanavati, director of integrative medicine and thrivership at the Upstate Cancer Center and assistant professor in family medicine at Upstate Medical University, and Jeramy Freeman, CEO of Freeman Formula, LLC. For more information about how the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association can help local businesses improve worksite wellness, contact Denise McGraw or Kristin Thompson at SyracuseHeartWalk@heart.org or visit heart.org/workplacehealth.

AHA event helps fight heart disease in women

The Junior League of Syracuse participated in National Volunteer Week this past April with a variety of community-impacting experiences. A highlight of the Junior League’s participation in National Volunteer Week was the sixth annual STEM Expo on Friday, April 20, at Danforth Middle School. League members hosted 50 sixth-grade girls for a morning of exposure to a variety of STEM fields and applications. League members participated in We Rise Above the Streets “Sandwich Saturday” on Saturday, April 14. They provided donations of snack foods and hygiene products, as well as made and distributed sack lunches for more than 50 people. Monday, April 16, traditionally known within the league as #JLSMyMonday, members participated in a volunteer activity of their choice to support National Volunteer Week. Wednesday, April 18, members shelved and boxed up textbooks at Blodgett High School. Saturday, April 21, the JLS 2017-2018 new member class wrapped up National Volunteer Week by packing boxes for distribution at the Food Bank of Central New York.

Summit helps businesses improve health and bottom line On Tuesday, June 12, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association hosted more than 130 people representing dozens of Central New York businesses that share the mission of keeping employees healthy in the workplace. The first annual Executive Wellness Summit at the DoubleTree Hotel in East Syracuse brought together local companies and health experts to discuss the best ways to create a culture of health in the workplace. The day featured expert speakers, breakout sessions tailored to companies at different levels of workplace wellness, a heart-healthy 46

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

A crowd of more than 100 women and men took part in the American Heart Association’s Handbags Helping Hearts event Wednesday, June 13, at the Stickley, Audi & Co. showroom in Fayetteville. The event raised $20,000 for Go Red For Women. More than 30 handbag packages were up for auction, including bags from designers like Kate Spade, Prada, Michael Kors, Coach and more. Many of the bags were filled with goodies, including gift cards to local restaurants and services, accessories, wine and more. The bags and the items inside were donated by local individuals and businesses. Each package had “purse-onality” and signified someone or something important to the donor. The main event of the Syracuse Go Red For Women campaign will be the Go Red For Women Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 25, at the Oncenter Convention Center. For tickets or more information, call (315) 728-7542 or visit syracusegored.heart.org.

Libraries soon to lend sports equipment It was recently announced that White branch library in Syracuse’s Northside and Mundy branch library on the Near Westside are participating in a pilot program that allows youth cardholders to “check out” recreation equipment. This is part of the Transforming Communities Initiative to improve children’s access to safe exercise and combat childhood obesity that was announced on June 22, 2018. Available sports equipment will include footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, kickballs, volleyballs, soft bouncy balls for younger kids, beach balls, Nerf balls and hula hoops, among other items. The Education Edition


The equipment that will be made available at the libraries was collected through donations from St. Joseph’s Health employees, along with support from YWCA’s Soccer for Success and Syracuse University Recreation Services. Trinity Health announced its Transforming Communities Initiative in Syracuse in early 2016, less than one year after St. Joseph’s became a member of Trinity Health.

Crouse expanded lobby

St. Camillus honors individuals and organization

Following several months of construction, Crouse Health recently re-opened a newly expanded main entrance and reception area in the Irving building. The space includes additional seating for visitors, a larger Jazzman’s Café with more nutritious offerings and a single entrance and exit area, which will help to better coordinate visitor flow in the main lobby area.

AHA donates equipment to local schools

The Centers at St. Camillus and affiliate Integrity Home Care Services, was held on Thursday, June 14, at Bellevue Country Club in Syracuse. The evening honored Michael J. Byrne, Shirley Cruickshank and the Syracuse Auto Dealers Association, Gino Barbuto, President. The event raised nearly $25,000 in support of St. Camillus health care programs and services.

CNY brewery to be featured in national ad campaign Bullthistle Brewing Company was photographed and videotaped on July 9 for the Brew Central national advertising campaign. Launched in 2013, the Brew Central campaign brings together stories, traditions and tastes behind craft beer, hard cider, wineries and spirits in Central New York via a website and ad placement in some of the nation’s premier beer magazines, including Beer Advocate, Ale Street News, Beer Connoisseur and All About Beer. Bullthistle Brewing Company will also be featured in the next installment of the YouTube series, “Stories on Tap”. Bullthistle Brewing Company represents the newest partner in the initiative to be featured, a collaboration of ten Central New York Vacation Region counties that include Chenango. August 2018

During the last two weeks of the 2017-2018 school year, the American Heart Association donated recess equipment to ten schools in the Syracuse City School District. Kit donations were made possible by local companies raising money in the Children’s Heart Challenge. Seven teams completed the challenge: Carrier, Fust Charles Chambers LLP, Hancock Estabrook, Hearts & Hats, St. Joseph’s Health, Syracuse Police and Upstate Medical University. Content has been edited for style and clarity.

SYRACUSEWOMANMAG.COM

47


Audi ad

Profile for Lorna Oppedisano

Syracuse Woman Magazine August 2018  

The Education Edition

Syracuse Woman Magazine August 2018  

The Education Edition

Advertisement