Long ago I lived the life of a single mother raising two children on less than $10,000 a year. I was one of the working poor who, many a time, simultaneously held down 2-4 part-time jobs. For me, jobs had to allow me to bring my daughters to work. Consequently, many of my jobs involved working with children.
Given the neighborhoods we could afford to live in and the limited options I had without a college education, statistically none of us would have graduated from college (Nyhan, Seattle Post- Intelligencer, 2005) and we should have had to rely on public assistance. Somehow, we defeated the odds. My daughters and I are all college graduates and we made it through those difficult early years when I worked in low-paying jobs. We have each played an important part in keeping our family functional.
Way back then, as a young mother my main focus was learning about child development. I saw parenting as a stewardship of future adults, the center of which is a spiritual core. I took raising my daughters very seriously. Thus began my lifelong research, learning, and development in the growth trends and stages of children as they change over time.
My journey took me into the world of early childhood education in both community college and the state university, earning an early childhood teaching credential. I continued my state university education, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with an emphasis in psychology and child development, followed by an elementary teaching credential. Presently in my 50’s, I finished my doctorate in education from Oregon State University with an emphasis on teacher leadership, specializing in the development of emotional intelligence in children ages 0-7 years of age.
My daughters are now 31 and 24 years of age. Much as it was when we lived as a single unit struggling to maintain as a functional family, we remain best friends—essential and integral parts in one another’s lives, a resource for successful life management and life skills development as each of us continues to grow and develop through our individual experiences. We’ve learned about ourselves, one another, and the strengths and obstacles in communicating and resolving problems. We’ve learned how to sustain our healthy support network among our little family for over 30 years. After analyzing our personal experience and researching parent education efforts, we’re eager to share what we’ve learned with others. Thank you for visiting our website; we hope you find it useful over time.
I knew from the time I was a small child that I wanted to help alleviate suffering- to heal in whatever way I could. For quite some time, I thought it would lead me into medicine. As a biomedical science major in my freshman year of college, I was volunteering in a hospice when I realized that medicine was not the path for me. I was more interested in the patients' experiences of terminal illness, of inequality in health care and the effects it had on their last days, than I was in their illnesses. At that time, I determined that social science was the right journey for me. I wanted to understand how social systems impacted individuals, and how individuals changed social systems. I chose anthropology, the holistic study of humans, in order to better understand the sources of poverty, conflict, environmental degradation, and other types of suffering in hopes that I could find ways to assist in forging a better way of living.
I received my degrees from the University of California, Riverside, culminating with my PhD in 2007. My degrees are in cultural anthropology with specializations in applied cognitive anthropology, cultural ecology, anthropology of religion, and medical anthropology. My research focuses on the impact of policy, the interactions between individuals and sociocultural systems, and conflict related to social and environmental justice. My overarching interest and sense of purpose is to further the understanding of humans' sense of self and how it is integrated into their social life in an effort to mediate conflict and foster humans' highest potential in justice, sustainability, and peace. My hope in founding TriWinds is to assist people in striving toward this potential, changing social and environmental problems one person, one family, one community at a time.
Driven by my interest in environmental science and how people use our natural resources, I earned my degree in Natural Resources with an emphasis on natural resource ecosystems. After graduating from college, I became employed by the federal government and began working on habitat restoration projects. During that time I worked alongside program managers as well as the general public.
However, I soon realized that there was something amiss--the public did not seem to understand why we needed to restore the habitats (for which we were using public dollars), and the program managers didn't seem to have the time or resources to truly educate the public on what the federal government was doing. Needless to say, our meetings could get pretty intense.
After witnessing this gap in understanding, I realized there is a great need to develop programs that address not only the issue of information dispersal and education, but also the root of this problem--most of us do not understand the environment beyond our own personal need. I guess you could say that was my "Ah-ha" moment. In co-founding TriWinds, I look forward to addressing these social and environmental issues and continuing to work towards a better tomorrow by improving today.