Writing for Change: Say Hello And Find Your Crew

Hello crew! I’m Vanessa Gennarelli, and I’m part of the course design crew at Peer 2 Peer University.

Here you can introduce yourself, and meet other folks interested in affecting social change. To help us get started, go ahead and say:

What issue or area of issues are important to you?
Where are you?
What is an organization or writer you admire?

I am starting an organization on Adult Education. This organization will give, promote and advocate adult education, to the less fortunate sections of the society. I need ideas about to get funds, and find volunteers, to start my project.


excited to talk more about this and learn from you @rizwansandhu
you based in a certain city? have you worked in Adult Ed for a while?

Halloo! My name’s Beth. I’m an anthropologist. I study how people develop (and use, and argue about, and change) technical systems for disaster mitigation. For the past few years, I’ve been focusing on the oldest public earthquake early warning system in the world: Mexico’s Sistema Alerta Sísmica.

I’m working on my PhD at the University of California at Irvine, but thanks to a bunch of grants I was able to get from bigger and smaller organizations (NSF, American Institute of Physics, Society for the History of Technology, and even some institutes internal the the UC system), I’ve been living in Mexico City for the past year.

Doing this kind of work means I get to know some very cool groups trying to educate and innovate in earthquake safety areas, including Oakland’s Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and Mexico City’s Centro de Instrumentación y Registro Sísmico.

You read my longish intro, now here is a cat:


Hey-o! I’m Katie, and I coordinate the Episcopal Church’s preparation and response to disasters in the US. I’m based in New York, but travel all over the place–Minot. rural Colorado and Jersey have been the last three. We’re partly about getting churches ready themselves (know how to batten down the hatches, check on the old folks, etc.) but more importantly about identifying how we can best reach out to our vulnerable neighbors in the event something happens, and then once the disaster hits, actually doing that (our planning resources!). Churches have all this ready-made on-the-ground infrastructure (buildings, food pantries, AA groups…) all over the place, and we’re working to make sure that it’s well-used, especially in the long-term disaster response, once the exciting first few weeks have passed.

I’m interested in all the folks working to shift the conversation from conventional “preparedness” to the broader talk about resilience–like the Rockefeller foundation and others. Maybe this has been happening for a long time in the secular, academic worlds, but it’s just trickling into church-land lately, and it makes a lot of sense. “Prepared” institutions aren’t the ones that necessarily bounce back quickly, but healthy ones certainly do.

and pugs in helmets!

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Hi everyone

I’m Bekka, I live in London, and should probably disclose right now that I work for P2PU. But I’m taking this course in a totally personal capacity.

Living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, where access to a roof over your head is not a guarantee, and where ironically, there are thousands of long-term empty homes has made me think a lot about the politicisation of housing over the last little while.

I’m interested to see what other people’s perspectives are…


Hello- I’m Mary Sepulveda and I am brand new to this site. I’m currently working at a community health clinic near Portland, Oregon as part of a Medicaid Transformation Grant our state received from the federal government. My role is unique in the medical field, part social work, part community health worker, part therapist, part care coordinator, etc. In the course of any given day I work with clients (patients) who have suffered from poverty, trauma, abuse, war, and oppression. While the primary care providers work to control high blood pressure or manage diabetes, I work with clients to connect them to mental health services, to assist them in navigating the medical and social service systems, to listen to and witness their stories, and to help them build social supports. I work in the clinic, at local emergency departments, at client’s homes, and out in the community. It is truly “boots on the ground” work and I love it.

I truly admire Care Oregon, one of the Medicaid insurers in Oregon. Pat Currin is the CEO and is probably one of the most thoughtful and passionate writers I know. He leads this organization with care and compassion for the people they serve.

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Hi Health Team,

Health is important to me because I see a need for community to come together to better facilitate local connections to breakdown isolation and support one another. I believe we all have a part to keep our communities healthier. Imagine if looking out for your neighbor meant she stayed out of a nursing home for longer or by chatting and taking the time to check-in with a neighborhood new mum helped reduce the sense of isolation that new Mums so often feel.

Health is all of our responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for everyone in our communities.

I am Australian, recently moving to Canada to become involved in the social innovation and entrepreneur scene that is thriving here in Toronto.

Beyond Blue is an Australian Mental Health Organisation I admire, there former CEO Jeff Kennett did a lot to raise awareness for the program - an inspiring person.

See you online!

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Improving basic understanding of health and wellbeing is the ultimate goal of my professional development. I’m interested in alternative medicine, nutrition and ecomedicine. Currently I’m looking the best ways to reveal my potential and contribute to a company with the same philosophy.
I’m starting a new life page in Australia: all from the beggining… From happy and enthusiastic beggining)


@mary: welcome, and thanks for doing the important work that you do in Portland.

@Bridie_Hamilton: welcome! Are you checking out the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto? Big fans of what they are doing.

@Alina can’t wait to hear more about your professional development plans.

Hey, I’m Dirk. Where I live is a hard questions, but I’m originally from South Africa! I’m writing this post from Medellin, Colombia.

I’m part of the crew at P2PU and an issue I would really like to address is making open peer learning resources more available for people that don’t live on the internet.

One specific community I admired was the open source HaXe community - really friendly and helpful!

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Peace, my name is Anjel. I’m passionate about making sure that every person in my community has access to basic needs such as shelter, clothing , fresh organic food, quality and diverse education, creative generative spaces, the time and freedom to express, access to arts, a supportive community and a job, business or trade of their own. Like many, I believe that art, especially Hip Hop arts, has the power to promote and bring about real social change. I’m about helping people use art to get to know themselves and building trust within their own communities. I’m equally passionate about using art/music to learn and share “Ourstory”, (true African American history) and working with my community to bridge gaps between races, generations, genders, religious groups, neighborhoods, etc…I’m from Rhode Island and an organization that I admire is Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone. Also LOVE the Guerrilla Gardner Ron Finley. Thanks for reading. I’m super honored to be apart of this course and look forward to building with everyone involved.

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Hello- My name is Lisa and I am currently working at a public charter high school in Providence RI. I enjoy working with students who are planning out their college or other opportunity after high school. I am interested in social justice issues. I am especially interested in social justice through education. I currently feel as though the educational systems available to the majority is completely out of touch with the needs of the people. I feel as though the public educational system is so broken that it is beyond repair and needs a complete overhaul. I admire the Big Picture educational organization because it is trying to work within they system to create change, but for me personally I am in a bigger rush for more dramatic change.I admire Bill Moyers as a journalist and human being who does his best to inform and advise through his writings and programs on PBS. I am looking forward to hearing more about what is happening with educational choice in other parts of the country and world.


@vanessa Hi Vanessa, I would love to share my google doc link on the Health team page - but I can’t find the Health page? Could you please direct me or shoot me the link?
Much appreciated! B - sorry, slowly learning my way around the P2PU platform.

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Not a problem, @Bridie_Hamilton: the feedback we got was that the teams were difficult to post to, so we pulled everyone together to meet at first and we’ll re-group into our teams in a bit. Can’t wait to see your doc!

Hey @vanessa

So In full disclosure to all-- Vanessa and I have been working to make this P2PU class. But, in full disclosure to @vanessa-- I’d be taking this class anyways without our involvement.
Im so excited to be collaborating with folks on some writing projects and to see what this space can open up. Im really thankful for P2PU for this platform an opportunity.
I live in Providence and feel deeply connected here as well as New Orleans. I run College Unbound and am involved too in the work of Imagining America– both working to transform/challenge higher education

A lot of my work is around the public purpose of higher education- and creating new models for degree pathways that honor the learning adults do in their daily lives. However-- I have a hard time choosing a focus-- because this intersects with issues of equity and ethics, poverty, community health, relationships and more. Its about creating space for ppl to listen to and honor one anothers work. Thats what I see in this P2P platform too.

A lot of what brought me here emerged circuitously out of oral history and jazz studies work. I was trying to investigate how to meaningfully tell the story of mentors in jazz history (like this: The Spirit of John Whatley)

I still dont think I know how to write about the meaning of mentorship and I think there’s a new urgency to capture some of that these days. Thats, in part, what Im interested in exploring here


Hello everyone. My name is Matthew Bastan. I have lived in Providence, RI my entire life. I am very biased in my opinion that it is the best city in the world. I work for the Providence School Department as an Instructional Teacher Assistant at Carl G. Lauro Elementary School. I’ve been working in Providence Public Schools since 1998. Public education for children and adult education are two issues that are very important to me. I am currently working to improve both. This summer, I participated in trainings based on the book Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills by Ellen Galinsky and her research. These trainings were about teaching educators and families how to develop in their children the skills that will help them be successful in school and in life. If things go well, I will be a facilitator at my school. Also this summer, I finally earned my bachelors degree through the College Unbound program. If it wasn’t for this program and what it did for me as an adult learner, I don’t know when or if I would have graduated. I am going to do what I can to help the CU program grow and provide an opportunity for other adult learners to earn their degrees. I am going to work on improving both my elementary school and help the CU program grow while working towards earning my teaching certification. I am interested in learning about the work and passions of the others in this crew and in what I can learn through participating.


Welcome @mcbastan. Your story is really powerful. Happy to meet you.

Hey all

I’m Carl, I’m a member of the P2PU crew, looking forward to seeing what this course can inspire or assist people to do.

I’m from Sydney, Australia originally, now living in New Jersey, USA. I am inspired by many different grass-roots organisations that harness small numbers of individuals to work for change, particularly in the fields of homelessness and education. And although it sounds self-serving, I strongly admire the work both P2PU and College Unbound do :).

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