A native of the Mohawk Valley, I grew up in various towns and villages around Herkimer and Oneida Counties and held short-term residences in both Houston and Yonkers. As a result of 9/11, I immediately 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 recently relocated to Onondaga County and transitioned to becoming a stay-at-home parent of a handful of kids. As a teacher, I taught world religions over a six-week period as a component of Global Studies; my familiarity with various religions, customs and rituals, and cultures has provided me with helpful insight that ties into my role as a humanist chaplain.
Baptized Catholic as an infant, I made my way through the sacraments of the church. 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 a catholic (although the catholic church no longer recognizes formal Acts of Defection).
I was comfortable identifying as agnostic. Busy obtaining my post-secondary education, beginning my teaching career, and eventually becoming a parent, I had little spare time. Although I had a brief interest and involvement in both Paganism and Buddhism, I gradually transitioned to atheism and now identify as a progressive atheist-humanist--"progressive" meaning that I respect and accept others regardless of religious affiliation.
2008 - 2013
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.
2013 - Present
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 actively 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 .
"9th Annual Photo Walk" on Syracuse's South Side, hosted by The Stand I
Fortunate enough to participate in a remarkable community event, here are some of my photos: