22 years of working as an author, outreach program librarian, educator, and poetry therapy facilitator,
I have experienced and witnessed a disconnection between literacy and emotional health. When working with marginalized communities and trying to apply creative strategies to bridge health and educational gaps, I encountered “emotional blocks” that limit the window of opportunity we wanted to open for everyone. Disruptive family dynamics, social and emotional conflicts were impossible for me to ignore when delivering programs as a program outreach librarian.
Irania Macias Patterson is a dynamic speaker, storyteller, author and educator who specialize in the subjects of arts integration in multicultural- bilingual populations, and the connections with literacy, expressive arts and emotional learning. For the past 22 years she has worked as an outreach program specialist for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. As an ardent supporter of schools, libraries, and cultural organizations, she has spoken in many arts, education and humanity base organizations promoting “out of the box” intercultural exchanges for social transformation.In April 2019 she finished her accreditation as a Certified Applied Poetry Therapy Facilitator (CAPF) She is also a trained teaching artist from Wolf Trap and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She has written several publications for families, librarians and educators in the subjects of creative outreach strategies to reach marginalized communities.Her book Chipi Chipis, Small Shells of the Sea/Chipi Chipi Caracolitos del Mar (CPCC Press 2006) was an International Reading Association Children’s Choice Award for 2006. She is the author of Wings and Dreams: The Legend of Angel Falls. (Novello Press 2010). Co author of The Fragrance of Water, La Fragancia del Agua, and 27 Views of Charlotte published by Eno Publishing, 2014. She also co wrote the play Mama Goose, for IDEA Theater in Education, Paris. In January 2020 she became the recipient of an ASC grant assigned to write a poetry therapy play called Save the Tatas 2020 .She holds a Master of Literature from La Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain, and a BA in Communication (UCAB) and Education (UNCC)She was a Road Scholar for the North Carolina Humanity Council and the co- founder of Criss Cross Mangosauce, an edutainment company for families.She was nominated recently as the Diversity Chair for the National Association of Poetry Therapy.
Your lesson yesterday was so awesome!!! I think it was one of the best sessions I have experienced anytime, anywhere, with anyone. It was like the session continued last night and I woke up that way this morning. It was so reflective, inspiring, uplifting..... words are escaping me but my heart keeps getting new feelings and my mind keeps getting new thoughts & ideas. It was as if I had been on a retreat.THANK YOU for sharing your spirit and your skills.Adrienne Dohn2018 ”Irania’s unique way to connect with our clients and get them to work through their feelings amazes me. Although we meet very frequently with our participants, the setting of our group does not give them the space to talk about personal problems. Hearing them, during Irania’s sessions, help me understand them and serve them better. For them, it is a liberating process that gives them the opportunity to leave the classroom a lot lighter.Another thing I love about Irania’s sessions is that she shows our participants simple tools that they can use at home to cope with their life struggles. Start a journal, write a letter, draw a picture are strategies our clients can use when they are dealing with difficult feelings. Irania explains that writing things out can clear up our thought process and help identify solutions to some situations in life.I have also enjoyed the passion Irania shares throughout this process. She has offered to follow up with groups when the dynamic of the class has been so intense or deep that additional sessions may be necessary. Throughout her groups, she has made individuals equally passionate about the power in speaking things out and using writing and art to express feelings that otherwise can remain suppressed.
Carolina Bonilla M. Carolina BonillaHealthy Community SpecialistCabarrus Health Alliance
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