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Eye Interview

TWE INTERVIEW–Katie Blomquist Is Going Places with Joy and Bikes for Kids

Katie Blomquist – Going Places Non Profit

Going Places Non Profit – Bikes for Kids

The Women’s Eye contributor Patricia Caso talks to Katie Blomquist, founder of Going Places, an innovative nonprofit supplying bikes to children in Charleston, S.C. area Title 1 schools. The bikes are for kids who never had the chance to own one. Katie explains how she started GP and what a difference it’s making.

Katie Blomquist, founder Going Places supplying bikes to kids in Charleston, S. Carolina/Photo Courtesy Katie Blomquist

Katie Blomquist, founder of Going Places/La Tasha Bellamy Photography

By Patricia Caso/June 5, 2018

Thanks to former teacher Katie Blomquist and her foundation Going Places, 1,000 kids and counting in the Charleston, South Carolina area, get joy in the form of a bike. Ninety percent of the families in Title 1 schools there live at or below the poverty line and can’t afford this childhood pleasure.

 “A child doesn’t choose their walk of life, parents or situations. Yet, if there is a little bit of joy, I believe it can change the outcome of a person’s life.”  Katie Blomquist

When I read about Katie’s inspiring efforts, I thought of my own adventures on a bike as a kid. We all had so many exciting places to go. Katie is determined that her Going Places Foundation will be an investment for improving lives of a future generation.

I spoke by phone with Katie so I could find out more about her and her ingenious idea based on joy and bikes… [Read more…]

Award-Winning Director Jessica Yu Spotlights Heroic Journalist Gladys Kalibbala’s Passion

Jessica Yu, author of Garden of the Lost and Abandoned, and Gladys Kalibbala, and subject of the book/Photo: Michael Wawuyo

Gladys Kalibbala and director/author Jessica Yu/Photo: Michael Wawuyo

By Patricia Caso/April 22, 2018

In Garden of the Lost and Abandoned: An Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Woman and the Children She Saves, author Jessica Yu follows heroic Ugandan journalist, Gladys Kalibbala, who uses her energy, creativity and meager resources to rescue lost and abandoned children.

Her column, “Lost and Abandoned,” has drawn attention to the plight of hundreds of forsaken children. Gladys routinely faces many difficult and dangerous situations to help them.

“What Gladys does is hard. But the cumulative impact of her deliberate – not random – acts of kindness, and the joy she takes in them, reminds us that we discover our humanity when we engage. And if we persist, things happen.” Jessica Yu

Intrigued with Gladys’ life-saving deeds, I began researching more about her life and discovered Jessica Yu’s own multi-faceted story. Not only was she an award-winning director in television, documentaries and films, she’d just written her first book, Garden of the Lost and Abandoned. And, what a compelling changemaker Jessica brings to readers.

I caught up with this Academy Award-winning filmmaker in Los Angeles by phone in between her busy commitments to find out more about Gladys’ exceptional acts and Jessica’s perspective on her own career… [Read more…]

ENCORE Interview–Designer Coleen Christian Burke On Decorating the White House for Christmas

 

Coleen christian Burke/author Christmas with the First Ladies/Photo: Coleen Christian Burke

Coleen Christian Burke at the Winter Wonderland themed tree,
East Room, White House, 2014

By Patricia Caso/December 11,2016
Photos Provided by Coleen Christian Burke (@ByColeen)

‘Tis the season for wishes to come true. One entrepreneur, blogger, designer and author, Coleen Christian Burke lobbied for four years to get the chance of a lifetime to help decorate the White House for Christmas.

“I could never have planned this life out. If I were a little girl saying I am going to be a designer and design the White House for Christmas and then I’m going to install it and then I’m going to talk about it, it just would have been so far fetched.” Coleen Christian Burke

She got that first opportunity in 2008, and other years have followed since. These experiences inspired her to write a fascinating book, Christmas with the First Ladies: The White House Decorating Tradition from Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama (@SimonBooks).

Intrigued with her almost-magical story, I caught up with this former television producer just as another busy holiday season kicks in to find out just how Coleen’s hunches turned into  successes…   [Read more…]

TWE Interview: Breast Cancer Survivor Dara Kurtz Shares Her Crazy Perfect Life

Dara Kurtz – Breast Cancer Survivor and Author of Crazy Perfect Life

Dara Kurtz – Breast Cancer Survivor and Author of Crazy Perfect Life and Crush Cancer: Personal Enlightenment from a Cancer Survior

Dara Kurtz – Breast Cancer Survivor and Author of Crazy Perfect Life and Crush Cancer: Personal Enlightenment from a Cancer Survior

Dara Kurtz, author blog Crazy Perfect Life

By Patricia Caso/December 5, 2017
Photos Courtesy of Dara Kurtz
TWITTER: @crazyperflife

At 42, Dara Kurtz’s perfect family life and career as a successful financial advisor were upended with the diagnosis of breast cancer. Admittedly she cried, was shocked, scared and a mess.

“When I was finished going through treatment and it was time to go back to work; I knew that I wanted to find my voice.”  Dara Kurtz

Dara chronicled her journey by pulling together her honest insights into handling cancer’s downs and ups in a blog, “Crazy Perfect Life,” and her best selling book, Crush Cancer: Personal Enlightenment from a Cancer Survivor.  What struck me about Dara’s story is how she came to her wonderful uplifting choice to “live life in color rather than black and white.”

I caught up with Dara by phone to find out more about this now unabashedly grateful author whose mission is to be others’ companion through the toughest time in their lives…   [Read more…]

TWE Interview: Documentary Photographer Paola Gianturco on ‘Wonder Girls: Changing Our World’

Documentary Photographer Paola Gianturco with Co-Author and granddaughter, Alex Sangster with their book, Wonder Girls: Changing Our World

Documentary photographer, Paola Gianturco, with co-author and granddaughter, Alex Sangster, and their book, ‘Wonder Girls: Changing Our World’

By Stacey Gualandi/October 11, 2017
Photos: Paola Gianturco

Today is the United Nations International Day of the Girl Child and the publication date of an inspiring new book, Wonder Girls: Changing our World by award-winning documentary photographer and author, Paola Gianturco.

There are many concerns about the well-being of young girls around the world. They are often victims of child marriages, domestic violence and trafficking, and they are denied an education and equality.

But Paola, during her travels documenting changemaker women and grandmothers around the globe, became aware of young activist girls who are banding together to fight these cultural threats, and they are succeeding.

Paola, along with her co-author and 11-year-old granddaughter, Alex Sangster, interviewed 102 girls and created Wonder Girls the first book to document the work of these activist girls. I grabbed some precious time to interview Paola on TWE Radio to learn more about these activist girls and the work of her amazing young co-author and granddaughter, Alex… [Read more…]

“Geek Girls Are Rising” Say Authors Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens

Authors Samantha Walravens and Heather Cabot of Geek Girl Rising/Photo provided by them | The Women's Eye Magazine and Radio Show

Authors Samantha Walravens and Heather Cabot

By Patricia Caso/July 28, 2017
Photos Courtesy Samantha Walravens and Heather Cabot

“Dream It, Do It, Own It” is one of the chapter titles for Geek Girl Rising–Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Tech, authored by Heather Cabot and Samantha Walravens. That title is bigger than a motivational thought. It aptly describes the women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) who have been consistently breaking through in the tech world for years now.

Geek Girl Rising is on a mission to elevate the voices of women in technology and encourage women and girls to join the digital revolution — and create the future!” Samantha Walravens

In fact, now there are more support systems, role models and careers for young girls who have STEM interests. I wanted to find out more from Heather and Samantha about their findings on what STEM opportunities and challenges face young “geek” women and coming generations… [Read more…]

Children’s Book Author Theresa McKeown Talks the ABC’s of Reinvention

Theresa McKeown/Stacey Gualandi/Photo Provided by Stacey Gualandi | The Women's Eye Magazine & Radio Show

Stacey Gualandi and Theresa McKeown

By Stacey Gualandi/July 10, 2017

When I recently caught up with author Theresa McKeown at a cool patio bar in North Hollywood, CA, I wasn’t meeting her for the first time. Far from it. Theresa and I go back to the heyday of tabloid TV working at Inside Edition, and covering the misadventures of celebrities like Michael Jackson, Tonya Harding and Heidi Fleiss. Oh, and of course OJ.

But in 2015, after several successful years as a Hollywood television executive, she decided to listen to her true calling: writing children’s books. Together with her devoted sisters, she created The ABC’s of Everything, a company established to self-publish a series of educational books and content.

“Our tag line is ‘Raising happy, healthy, conscious children in body, mind and spirit.’ So it’s a holistic approach. They are the future of our world.” Theresa McKeown

Her first rhyming book How to Eat your ABC’s stars a happy honeybee named BuzzBee who shares his joy for fruits and veggies. And the just released The ABCs of Being Me — part-journal, part-scrapbook — is getting rave reviews as the perfect summer project, and a book that as one Amazon review says, “could be used by every marriage family therapist, social worker or psychologist who works with children.”

Our reunion was long overdue, but I’m proud to share how Theresa switched gears, said no to fear and found the best version of her self… [Read more…]

Bestselling Author Lisa See Explores the Bond Between Mothers and Daughters

Lisa See, author/Photo: P. Burke

Lisa See at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, Scottsdale, Arizona/Photo: P. Burke

By Patricia Caso/June 6, 2017
Photos provided by Lisa See (@Lisa_See)

TWE’s Stacey Gualandi’s wonderful interview with the New York Times bestselling author, Lisa See, posted in 2011. Since then Lisa has written several more compelling historical fiction books, the latest being The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.

“I feel with every book, I put in everything I ever knew into it. Yet I am still growing and changing from that first book to now. Life changes…even in these last three years, I have learned new things.” Lisa See

This time Lisa, who continues to explore women’s relationships and the concept of mother-love, writes about China’s transnational adoption with a backdrop of the little known Akha people and the tea pickers of an ancient tea, Pu’er. I wanted to find out what more she has uncovered personally and professionally on her themes of women’s friendships and her interest in the dual cultures of China and America… [Read more…]