Mary Jo's Most Recent Stories

  • May 20, 2014

    “It’s not just about the work on the page, it’s about where you put your feet when you get out of bed in the morning.” That was the mantra of Eloise Klein Healy when she created the graduate writing program at Antioch University in Los Angeles. One of the program’s graduates, Gina Loring, was inspired by that in her own work with incarcerated teens. Continue reading

  • April 15, 2014

    With political reforms underway in Myanmar, the once closed-off country is opening up to the world. That process is raising a new concern: How will economic development impact the country’s architectural and archaeological past? Continue reading

  • March 13, 2014

    That poem, written by 18-year-old Jada, has become his mantra, of sorts. He began writing poetry five years ago, when he was a patient at a state psychiatric hospital in Lakewood, Wash. There he participated in the Pongo Writing Project, a poetry program that has been working with troubled teens for nearly two decades. Jada, a pen name, says writing has helped him cope with life. “I was in foster care for ten years, group homes, institutions, so when I wrote, it gave me a release to get everything out. It wasn’t that I was trying to be an artist or be creative. It was more like: this needs to get out before something happens.” Continue reading

  • February 18, 2014

    “Hunger Through My Lens” gives digital cameras to food stamp recipients and asks them to chronicle what it’s like to be hungry in America. So far, 15 women –who come from all walks of life– have participated. Over the months, they’ve formed a “sisterhood” of sorts, supporting and encouraging one another. One woman is a former paralegal who suffers from autism. One is a family practice physician. A third woman is HIV-positive and has struggled with chronic homelessness. A fourth just got off government assistance and is now an executive director of a local non-profit organization. Continue reading

  • January 20, 2014

    Amal Kassir lived in Syria for many years. She says her time there helped her understand the people’s suffering while the freedoms she has in America allowed her to become an activist on their behalf. At 18, she performs slam poetry at festivals and political rallies around the U.S., like her recent performance of “My Grandmother’s Farm” at the University of Colorado Denver. Continue reading