“There is this thing about quilting, it is a narrative art form in the sense that it oftentimes is, and traditionally was, made from the remnants of the lives of families. It is deeply involved in the African American experience. Quilting is an art form that is embedded in the older generation but that young people appreciate. It has the ability to bridge both racial and generational divides.” Rev. Mark Koyama ’84 is the minister at the United Church of Jaffrey, a United Church of Christ (UCC), in New Hampshire. When Black Lives Matter once again gained national attention in the spring of 2020, his church had many conversations about their role in the conversation. As a church in a small, predominantly white town in New Hampshire, there were reservations about being political. But when George Floyd was murdered, his faith community wanted to find a way to stand up and stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. They put “Black Lives Matter” on the sign outside their church, and a parishioner asked for fabric to make a banner. This banner blossomed into the Sacred Ally Quilt Ministry, a group of people from nine churches throughout the UCC in New Hampshire who collaborated through Zoom and created 10 quilts with George Floyd’s last words on them. “I immediately recognized this as a golden idea that would create a community around a shared purpose. It was a way to bring two communities together; it represented a connection of a demographic of white people who wanted to be allies, but did not know how.”
“People with ADD and ADHD have an expansive thinking process, they see beyond the detail and take in the whole picture. However, they often get hung up on how to get started. We need people with ADD and ADHD because they bring many wonderful things to our world, with their great imaginations and fully formed big ideas.”
After years as an artist making jewelry, Deirdre Donchian ’74 recently went back to school and completed a Master’s in Social Work. During that period Deirdre also trained as an ADHD Coach, and along with her LCSW, she became an accredited Professional Certified ADHD Coach by the Professional Association of ADHD Coaches. Deirdre’s motivation stems from a desire to understand and help herself and her children. It is also tied to a lifelong interest in psychology that in the past she was unable to explore. Since acquiring her degree, she has counseled and worked in schools, and most recently she has struck out on her own and begun an ADD/ADHD coaching service, Life in Action ADHD Coach.
“I hope that this is a reminder that the world is bigger than us, but by being vulnerable and sharing our stories we can forge beautiful and meaningful connections.” Arya Singh ’18 is a junior at Yale University, majoring in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health. She was challenged in a class assignment to find a creative way to share what they had been learning. Using her own experience with Spinal Muscular Atrophy as inspiration, she wrote a children’s book. From this assignment came the recently published Courageous Calla and the Clinical Trial. “As I wrote the book and thought about who the audience was and who I was writing for, I realized that the intended audience was bigger than just my class. I realized I wanted more people to know, I wanted to reach more people. There are not a lot of resources for kids in clinical trials, I wanted to make sure that people I intended to read this actually had a copy in their hands.”
“Care management means helping families to navigate the healthcare system and navigate best choices for their loved ones as it relates to care.” Joy Rivera ’91 is a care manager and owner of Solutions for Joyful Aging. She works with a variety of clients, creating and carrying out comprehensive care plans. “I have about 17 clients, and everybody needs something different.”
Joy began her career as a geriatric social worker. She learned about the specialty of care management through a career planning panel, where one of the panelists was a professor at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Longevity at Hunter College. She realized that she had already largely been acting as a care manager and sought to formalize her training. “I enrolled in the two-year certification program at Brookdale and never really looked back.”
Friends Seminary actively promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in all its programs and operations, including admissions, financial aid, hiring, and all facets of the educational experience. To form a community which strives to reflect the world’s diversity, we do not discriminate on the basis of race or color, religion, nationality, ethnicity, economic background, physical ability, sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. Friends Seminary is an equal opportunity employer.