Friday, May 21, 2021

Sande Hart - Innovator and Activist

I'd like to introduce you to Sande Hart whose generosity of spirit includes all the world's women.

In her own words....  
On Sept 11th, 2001, as I was trying to make sense of what was happening in NY,
the moment the 2nd plane hit I heard, 
“gather women’.  I did not know where I was to find these women or who was whispering in my ear. I had no experience of being in circle. I was the youngest of 3 sisters, missing out on what “sisterhood” looked like since they were a generation older. So I clearly had no idea what to do with the women once I gathered them.  Regardless, I had my marching orders. I found the women, opened my front door, and got out of the way. We named her S.A.R.A.H., as in the Mother of All Nations. We gave her the acronym Spiritual And Religious Alliance for Hope, and when the IRS incorporated us years later, they inadvertently added “The” in front of our name, which affirmed our sacred task.


We spent the first 13 years addressing the communal fear and distrust through dynamic programs that were very localized to Southern Ca, yet now we are entirely focused on global and universal problems and international in scope.  In that way we can, with integrity, think locally and act globally.

All of our programs tug at the roots of systems of domination and patriarchy. Along with Ann Smith and LauraSa Ava, we developed our signature initiative; The General Congress of Women to honor the Mothers Day Proclamation, which calls for “…a general congress of women, without limit of nationality to convene and address the great and general needs of peace”. S.A.R.A.H. fit the bill, and the Beijing 12 Critical Areas of Concern distinguishes our “great needs”.  We hold the vision for existing and/or new circles joining us and applying S.A.R.A.H.’s Four Essential Elements; Circle Principles, Agreement of Care and Caregiving, Financial Wholeness, and Recognizing the Ecosystem of our Interdependence; the very elements that S.A.R.A.H. can declare as our claim to success. If these accelerate an existing circle’s efforts or appeal to a woman to start her own circle, we will have realized our goal of growing sustainable circles.

Everyone has their healing work to do, and mine is to surround myself with women I can trust and with whom I can play and create projects and initiatives to move mountains.  This requires us to recognize our contribution to perpetuating domination systems and offer dynamic and creative ways to hold one another accountable, and support each other to show up with new bodacious and creative ways. We feel this is what our Mother Earth is asking of us; to show up in our glorious unique ways. Sisterhood in circle is our answer


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Celebrating one woman's story and Wings, the organization she founded in Guatemala.

Women's Perspective visited Wings and Sue Patterson in 2004 when we traveled to Guatemala for Semana Santa with Patricia Kraus and MayaWorks, to visit Women's programs in Antigua and nearby towns. We visited Wings then and celebrate with Sue Patterson now.

Congratulations on the momentous occasion of Wings 20th Birthday.

We invite you to watch the video on youtube

Who We Are - WINGS Guatemala

Sue Patterson

Sue discovered her passion for helping women as a Peace Corps volunteer in a rural area of Colombia from 1966 to 1968, helping them learn about family planning and how to access it. Sue has lived in Antigua, Guatemala since 1996, when she retired from a 24-year career as a US Foreign Service official. Since then, Sue has devoted her time and energy to improving the lives of underserved Guatemalans, especially Mayan women in rural areas, without access to education.

In 1999, a Guatemalan friend contacted Sue asking for help for seven women, all with at least eight children, who wanted to undergo a tubal ligation. Sue contributed from her own funds and wrote to friends asking for donations. Within a few months she had received more than $4,000. She discovered the lack of a non-profit organization focused on family planning in Guatemala, and that led her to found WINGS (Women’s International Network for Guatemala Solutions).

Sue continues to be an active member of the WINGS Board and has contributed fundamentally to the growth of the organization.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Currency of the Heart and Power of the Hands, 15 years of Knitting4Peace by Grace Gallant


Mary Ellen Garrett at the Amiguitos School & Community Center, Veracruz Mexico, January 2020
Knitting4Peace started with one woman’s vision, and continues with the involvement of thousands of volunteers, coordinated by a small part-time staff in Denver, Colorado. At the Chautauqua Institution in New York state in 2004, Susan McKee realized peace was only attainable if women stepped forward in new and radical ways. The next summer, at a mall food court in Chautauqua, Susan outlined her idea for the organization: “It felt as if something was nudging me to create a vehicle for women to prayerfully remember other women in global areas of conflict while simultaneously engaging in intentional, nonviolent action for peace”. She wanted to create a course of action for women to support other women through their hands and hearts. Thus, Knitting4Peace was born, creating a multi-national nonprofit organization committed to providing solace for those experiencing conflict around the world.

Knitting4Peace continues with the involvement of thousands of volunteers, coordinated by a small part-time staff in Denver, Colorado. The group is housed at the Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ in Denver, Colorado. Supporters across the U.S. make and donate requested items in their own communities, deliver them to other countries, or send them to the K4P offices to be distributed.

“We stitch for each other; we stitch for the recipients of the items we create; and we crochet, knit, quilt, and weave for hope, healing and peace in our world. The tangible items we create are personally delivered to adults, teens, children, infants, and families in local and global areas of conflict." - Knitting4Peace website
Recipients of knitwear, El Centro Humanitario in Denver.

The first knitting program was launched in June of 2006 when ‘Peace Shawls' were made for women living in conflict areas of Sudan. The recipients of the shawls then asked for items for their children, and the ‘Peace Pal’ dolls were born. They are the most popular item. This international organization spreads love to all people through collective action. Since its founding, 15 years ago, Knitting4Peace has provided blankets, mittens, hats, scarves, and unique “peace pals” to people in 82 countries. 

"We’ve delivered nearly 193,000 items, since our founding in 2006. We’ll pass 200,000 items delivered sometime this year, too, which means we’ve served many more people than that, as many items are shared among family members.” Mary Ellen Garrett, Knitting4Peace Executive Director
Peace Pals, Knitting4Peace’s small ambassadors of comfort and support, bring joy to all ages. 

The items are made on a needs-basis. Organizers find out which items are most needed and the information is relayed to the peace pods. Anyone who knows how to quilt, knit, or crochet can donate to this organization. The website provides patterns for ten requested items, including shawls, hats, mittens, or cute “Peace Pal'' dolls. The creators are asked to incorporate an element of 3 in their work; either 3 colors, a pattern of 3, or triangular shapes. The element of 3 represents the spiritual grounding of hope, healing, and peace, and the concept of the person making the item, the person receiving it, and the spirit of life which inspires compassionate service. Volunteers partner with hospitals, schools, and medical facilities. Those who deliver the items are called “delivery agents” and they give the handmade items to many U.S. community groups as well as to people in other countries.
A girl with her Peace Pal, Kenya 2019.

Mary Ellen Garret, the Executive Director of Knitting4Peace has plans to host more online events to support the organization’s volunteers, and add more high school peace pods. Knitting4Peace celebrates its 15th anniversary on June 26, 2021.

To learn more and get involved, please visit:

Follow Knitting4Peace on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Imagine a New Reality with Donna Goodman


Donna Goodman has spent her entire life learning about and advocating for the protection of our Earth and its children. She is an activist, author, and a teacher of sustainability, who has worked in over sixty countries. In our recent conversation, I asked Donna why she focused on water. She described growing up in Connecticut, exploring nature and backyard streams. Later in life, Donna co-founded a science education company teaching preschoolers about the invisible forces of nature, like gravity, magnetism and water. Through her work at a peace and sustainability NGO, Donna began to understand that: “Water is a necessary component of sustainability and peace.” 
During her years in water education, Donna was inspired by the young voices in the sustainability movement. She worked 15 years for UNICEF, and founded Earth Child Institute (ECI), an international NGO in 2002. The idea for the Earth Child Institute, which engages children with climate education, originated from a young intern at Global Education Associates (GEA). ECI has blossomed into a center of sustainability studies and collective action. Today, the climate movement continues to be led by many young voices. Donna has learned from children that they need adults to respect them, and take their projects seriously. The children of today know they have a responsibility to fight for climate justice. The environmental crisis seems like an overwhelming issue however, investing in our young people, especially girls, is an achievable step in the right direction. Donna enjoys reminding people of the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Donna considers her “apple tree” to be her sustainability-driven fictional series, Ecomasters. 

Ecomasters is a girl-led series that brings the stories of a group of young, changemakers. The characters and settings are inspired by the real people and places Donna has encountered over the course of many years. Donna wanted to make her book accessible to children all over the world, which is why Ecomasters includes stories on every continent. The series possesses elements of magic, using the natural and scientific principles of water to create a world of magical realism. Donna believes reading is a fundamental process for young people to expand their dreams. She envisions a final series of five books and multimedia adaptation.

Donna writes in Ecomasters, “Everything here, and elsewhere is connected and dependent upon everything else and, at the heart of that connection, is the Earth’s Life blood: water.” We are united now more than ever because of our shared threat of climate change and our dwindling drinking water supply. Donna imagines Ecomasters to be a vehicle for social change and education by engaging and empowering young women with stories of courageous acts towards sustainability. 

By Grace Gallant

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Laetitia's Compassion Created a Community Center in Costa Rica

Pictured: CEPIA founder, Laetitia Deweer

Laetitia Deweer moved to Costa Rica when she was 23 and she began her volunteer work with PANI, a government child protection agency. While working with this organization, she noticed that children in poverty were in the streets all day, vulnerable to harm and violence. These children were not able to heal from their trauma because they were still experiencing it. Realizing this, Laetitia shifted her focus to combating the root causes of poverty by founding CEPIA (Culture, Education and Psychology for Infants and Adolescents) with her friend Lotje De Ridder. CEPIA was founded in 2005 as a non-profit organization that promotes culture, education, jobs, and health services.

Within the first week of opening the center, 50 children showed up at their doors. As more children and families were drawn to the center, Laetitia and her partners expanded their programs to address a wider range of needs, across many different communities. With the help of counselors, children now have the opportunity to open up about their trauma and begin to heal.

Pictured: Costa Rican children enjoying a CEPIA youth program.

CEPIA has grown its after school programs to include youth creatives, psychological healthcare, childcare, professional training and education, scholarships, environmental initiatives, and cultural education. CEPIA also partners with many organizations, both governmental and grassroots, to fund similar projects in additional locations in Costa Rica.

Pictured: Community members packaging food for those in need with CEPIA.

When the Covid19 pandemic began, it worsened the already harsh conditions for impoverished people. In this time of crisis, CEPIA stepped up their support for the community by providing psychological treatment to over 500 adults, and delivering 8,393 food packages between April and December 2020. The Christmas Campaign donated nearly 500 Christmas packages to families in Guanacaste. For the past 15 years, CEPIA has strengthened community bonds, spreading Laetitia’s vision of healing and devotion.

Visit CEPIA’s website, to see the long list of donors and contributors that helped push the vision forward.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Ten Years of CPAS Ghana

Pictured: Priscilla Jeffery with students in Ghana
Priscilla’s interest in Ghana began when she met her friend Mary, a Ghanaian nurses aid who cared for her mother. Their relationship brought her closer to the Ghanaian community. After she retired from teaching, her next step was to create a nonprofit organization in Nsawam, lending money to women in need. Renting an apartment in town, attending church and shopping at local shops, Priscilla became part of the community. After ten years of living and working in Nsawam, she saw that many women were not able to make their loan payments. All their money went to pay for education. Priscilla transitioned her organization to fund schooling for girls. Education is not easily accessible for a lot of people in Ghana. One must buy a uniform and school supplies in addition to paying school fees.
Pictured: Students return to school in 2021 with masks.
This year CPAS (Community Partnership in Akuapum South) celebrates its tenth year anniversary. Priscilla Jeffery founded the organization CPAS in Ghana to make education more accessible for girls. Without education, it is easy for girls to fall into a life of exploitation and poverty. CPAS Ghana gives young women in Ghana an alternative path of opportunity and success. 

Pictured: CPAS Student studying science with organization The Exploratory

CPAS has grown from educating 15 girls in 2011 to 75, in 2021. The organization pays for school fees, and buys locally printed books and uniforms made by local seamstresses. The staff follows each girl on their journey of learning, working with her teachers and family to guarantee a clear path to success. Greenwich High School in Connecticut, supports CPAS with donations of school supplies through the “Education for all” club. Donor and community support, Ghanaian students’ ambition, Jeffery’s generosity and the dedication of the staff brought this nonprofit to life.

With the help of the woman in the community Priscilla has created another way to fund her organization. Products made by the local women will soon be sold online. For more information, contact:

Photos of products are below.

Beaded bracelet

Knitted cloths

Purses made with bright colors
Another style of purse

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Haute Healing Foundation: A Gift of Burnout

The story of Dr. Dominique Jean begins with burnout, as it was this feeling that led her to make a decision that changed  her life. After years of schooling and training to become an anesthesiologist, Dr Jean discovered that the constant stress of work with no outlet for passion was the cause of her burnout. 

Dominique realized that she must make a change, and incorporate balance in her life. In the podcast linked below she remembers wishing to get in a minor car accident in order to have a break from the stress of her professional life. This was a clear sign of the need for change.

Pictured: Dr. Dominque Jean and her "glam boxes", that have been given out during Covid.

Her first step was to cut back her hours in the hospital and work part time. She recognized that she was able to do this because of financial stability and independence. Knowing that she would have to make some sacrifices and live on a budget in order to pursue her passion, she decided it was worth it. Dominique emphasizes the importance of letting go of the fear and negativity that comes before making a drastic change.

Searching for balance, Dominique reflected on what made her happy and what fueled her passions. Fashion had always inspired her, however she had never thought about it as a profession. Acknowledging her love of fashion, she enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, and continued to work as an anesthesiologist. She created the necessary balance in her life by being intentional and well organized.

Pictured: Two young girls who received a full makeover, wardrobe
styling, and photoshoot from the Haute Healing Foundation.

 Allowing herself time to spend on her passion and leisure, she found a door opening to a second career. By choosing to incorporate meditation and prayer into her daily life
, Dominque noticed a sense of calmness that has made her a better doctor. 

The combination of fashion and medicine led to the inspired notion of makeovers for her patients. She realized that offering glamor to the sick and disadvantaged kids in the hospital would bring them delight and joy. The Haute Foundation was born out of this idea.

Pictured: Makeovers at the Haute Healing foundation set, pre-Covid.

The Haute Healing Foundation delivers “glam” to the sick even in the midst of Covid by sending gift boxes.Visit to learn more about this amazing pediatric anesthesiologist Dr. Dominique Jean.

Pictured above: The Haute Healing Foundation offers their services of head-to-toe makeovers followed by a photoshoot to disadvantaged and sick children. 

Photos from @hautehealing on Instagram

Learn more about this story here:

by Grace Gallant