Tell us a little about your passion. What is it about?
I have two passions--one for education, and the other for creative writing. I've been in the education field for 10 years and I am also a newly self-published author. I have worked with children of all ages, from infant to school-age. I have also previously built artist platforms for young artists and I ran creative writing workshops for youth ages 14-19. In doing this, it has inspired me to continue my creative journey and to complete my debut poetry book titled "Growing Wings". "Growing Wings" is my true testament through poetry, from being founded in love, undergoing trials, and overcoming them all.
What is the change that you would like to bring to the world?
I want to be able to see youth become more aware of themselves--to know themselves. Their strengths, their weaknesses, what ignites them internally, and why they're feeling what they're feeling. I believe to know oneself is to be able to create effective change in this world.What happened to make you want to do this?
What drove you to start this?
I remember when I first got hired as a camp counselor for Albion Boys & Girls Club, I was so ecstatic because it was the beginning of a journey in working with youth. That summer changed my life, as I was able to be someone that youth looked up to. Being able to be a part of the development of the youth, has always been something I cherish. Seeing that I could create a difference by my presence alone brings me joy. Adding substance to them through guidance, mentorship, and support also adds to this joy.
How do you think being a woman of colour has impacted your journey?
I think being a woman of colour has impacted my journey in many ways. One of the most significant ways I would say is I'm able to inspire young women that look like me or identify with me. I am also able to give other women of colour hope in pursuing not just one passion, but more than one.
Have you had a remarkable breakthrough or a win that you would like to share with our readers? We all love hearing success stories! Tell us yours!
Being alive and well is a win for me already. When I was 14, I was in and out of the mental health ward. I was diagnosed with minor depression and psychosis, and just being here now has me feeling so grateful. To be honest, how I really overcame that whole experience was through poetry. I remember I wasn't allowed to do much inside the mental health ward. So, I walked up to reception and asked them for a pen and a paper. That moment was so defining for me and it changed my whole world. I think that's why my book "Growing Wings" is so important to me and I believe it will help other young people see that they can overcome their trials as well.
Thank you for sharing Jo-Anne! We are looking forward to seeing you grow as an author and youth mentor. Connect with Jo-Anne at www.joannesantos.com or on Instagram at @prayersprosepoetry
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