A native of the Mohawk Valley, I lived in Herkimer and Oneida counties and held short-term residences in both Houston and Yonkers. After 9/11, I left the city and moved back to Central New York, where I obtained an SU Bachelors degree in history and then a Masters degree from UC in Adolescent Education. A former public school teacher for eight years, I relocated to Onondaga County and became a stay-at-home mom, chaplain, and novice photographer. Having previously taught world religions, I became familiar with others' customs, rituals, and cultures that has provided me with helpful insight that ties into my role as a humanist chaplain. Always a supporter and ally of the LGBT community and one who serves both religious and non-religious communities with their secular or unique ceremony needs.
Baptized Catholic as an infant, I made my way through the sacraments of the church mostly under my parents' direction. At age 24, I was officially confirmed as catholic---a decision I made as an adult. However, soon after, I decided to no longer attend mass, as well as no longer identify as catholic (although the Catholic Church no longer recognizes formal Acts of Defection).
I was comfortable identifying as agnostic for several years. I had interest in a brief interest in both pantheism and buddhism before gradually transitioning to atheism. I now identify as a progressive, secular humanist. As a chaplain, I firmly believe that the non-religious, or non-religious but spiritual communities deserve a source of secular support when in times of grief and sorrow. No one should feel as if they have nowhere to turn when in distress.
Looking for a community to grow with and be part of, I discovered the Unitarian Universalist Association. I related to their seven principles and luckily found a lovely church in Barneveld, New York where I began attending regularly. I signed their book after a year and officially became a member of the church. I loved attending this church---the congregation was welcoming and very diverse; sermons were educational and speakers were talented. I regard the time that I spent there as very special. Due to certain demands for time that came into play, my time there ended and I then occasionally attended other UU churches in the Central New York area.
My first experience with a secular humanist-style wedding ceremony was when I co-planned my own, which was part of a journey I gladly share in detail with clients upon introductions. After marrying, I relocated to the Syracuse-area and joined the American Humanist Association (AHA) in the spring of 2014, becoming involved with the Central New York Humanist Association shortly thereafter, and assumed the role of vice president for their first year. I expanded my involvement with secularism in the fall of 2014, when I joined the Secular Coalition for New York and assumed the role of executive co-chair. My application to become a Humanist Celebrant was accepted in November of 2014. And as of October 2018, am also endorsed by The Humanist Society as a Chaplain.
I am presently seeking involvement in either prison or college campus settings, with hopes of providing non religious and humanist support for the inmate or university student populations. I am also involved in the AHA's Humanism for All Prisoner's Program by writing letters to humanist inmates. I was inspired by the work of Ben O'Donnell, an inmate in Iowa, and my first letter I wrote was to him. Now, in 2019, I still hold membership with the Central New York Humanist Association, AHA, UUHumanists, and recently joined the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS). I enjoy attending sermons and events at both local UU churches, you can learn more about that here . Recently, digging into genealogy and dabbling in photography have also become strong interests of mine.
I enjoy visiting the city parks and getting to know Syracuse, which has been my home for six years now. I participated in the"9th Annual Photo Walk" on Syracuse's Southside, hosted by The Stand
Fortunate enough to participate in this remarkable community event, here are some of my photos: