is behind Green Windows?
Director and Group Facilitator - Peggy SimmonsGreen Windows brings together
Peggy's passions: creative writing and fostering communities in which
the traditionally voiceless play a vital role and where each person's
potential is fulfilled.
Peggy's experience in brief:
Since 1992, has
designed and facilitated creative and communications workshops for
adults of different backgrounds, including working in some of the most
"disadvantaged" neighborhoods of New York, Paris, London and Oakland
and in Alameda County's juvenile hall.
Twelve years working alongside
and training low-literacy youth and adults in retail establishments and
in human rights anti-poverty projects.
Amherst Writers and
Artists Writing Group Leader Certified, facilitating diverse community and youth workhops since 2008.
Published creative writer
- Poetry and flash fiction in several journals including SLAB, flashquake (where nominated for a Pushcart Prize), and Word Riot, under the pen name Meg Claudel.
- Poem “Free Sunset” chosen as part of the Temescal Insitu public art project, currently part of an urban mural.
- Self-published and edited or co-edited collections from writing workhops: four books and four chapbooks.
In addition to running Green Windows workshops, Peggy currently
- Works at Oakland Public Library's Teen Services as a Library Assistant.
- Is completing a collection of her own poems, journal entries
and creative nonfiction written in response to working with
incarcerated youth over seven years. It is an emotional chronicle of
her own transformation and also a collection of the youth's writing.
You can also see : http://www.linkedin.com/in/peggysimmons
Green Windows' Roots
Green Windows comes
out of Founder Peggy Simmons' experience with two different
organizations: The International Fourth World Movement and Amherst
Writers and Artists.
Both organizations were founded by visionary leaders who grew up in
poverty and both were founded with groups of impoverished adults who
became leaders and trainers. Both organizations believe art
creativity are vital to social justice. Both are rooted in respect for
the individuals who are traditionally voiceless and in the belief that
their creative and authentic expression will benefit our whole
become equal partners, presently excluded workers must have access to
culture. Access to the means to bring out their own knowledge, to
enrich it through access to other forms of knowledge, to take part in
the cultural riches of surrounding society, and to become creators,
along with their fellow citizens, of a culture for times to come.
workshops are not literacy groups or therapy groups. They are writing
workshops, whether for the general population, or for under-served
populations. In working with low-income adults, we have
that most have never in their lives experienced being respected as an
artist or being told that their own stories are important and
beautiful. Writers from privileged educational backgrounds also
frequently carry deep scars from school and home experiences that have
silenced their own unique voices. The purpose of Amherst
& Artists workshops is to free the voice of the writer.
follows upon that freedom is unique for each participant, but it is
always good. What we offer is respect for the workshop participant as
an artist, regardless of social class or educational level -- to have
one's own voice honored and to have assistance in learning craft in a
supportive community of writers, without diminishing unique and
Schneider, author: Writing
Alone and With Others
Oxford University Press, 2003,
Board of AdvisorsGreen Windows is
advised and supported by many people and organizations. The
following have agreed to be formally acknowledged for their support by
serving on the Green Windows Board of Advisors. Green Windows
thanks them for helping as many people as possible create beautiful,
rich writing in true, deep, authentic voices.
- Christopher DeLorenzo,
MFA, AWA Facilitator and Trainer
DeLorenzo teaches writing at The University of San Francisco, where he
earned his MFA in 1998. He also teaches creative writing classes in the
Bay Area and Los Angeles at The Writing Salon and The Writing Pad, and
leads training sessions for writing workshop facilitators in the
Amherst Writers and Artists method (AWA) in California and Washington
state. Since 1999, he has facilitated two on-going weekly
writing workshops in his home.
addition to teaching, Christopher has worked as a freelance writer
on-line (most notably for Match.com) and has published poetry and prose
in various literary magazines, including the university journals Karamu
and The Rockhurst Review. His essay entitled “Without Plums,” is
forthcoming in the anthology My
- Jennifer Cross, MFA,
Jennifer Cross is an experienced
group facilitator and has been certified in the
Amherst Writers & Artists method (AWA). She received
her MA in Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College.
She has led writing workshops for survivors of sexual trauma, LGBTQQI
youth, student activists, adult learners, and others. She now leads
workshops in Writing Ourselves Whole as well
as in partnership with local activist organizations.
Jennifer has been publishing her work for a decade
in anthologies, newsletters and newspapers. She is currently
working on several
longer projects as well as generating and polishing shorter pieces.
- Shannon D. Schmidt, MFA and MFAW, Educator and Consultant
D. Schmidt teaches interdisciplinary arts and writing at the University
of California at Berkeley Extension Program. She received her dual MFA
degree in studio art and writing from the School of the Art Institute
of Chicago in 2009 and was awarded the CAAP grant in 2011.
addition to teaching, Shannon exhibits her work nationally and
internationally. She has exhibited her work at Slow, the Macedonia
Museum of Contemporary Art and the Sullivan Galleries. Her
writing has appeared in print and online in literary journals,
magazines, periodicals and exhibition catalogues. Shannon’s most recent
publication is a collaborative renga titled “Waiting,” which was
featured in the catalogue Exposed and published by the Helen Day Art
Scott has done anti-violence and social justice work in non-profit
organizations for the past twenty years. She served as a legal services
attorney representing teen parents, dis-empowered youth and battered
women and as a grantwriter. She now works at a local domestic violence
organization where she is deepening her non-profit management skills
while continuing to work for social justice.
written one unpublished novel, a fictional account of a legal services
attorney and a young woman she represents who disappears. She is
co-founder of BREW Writing Group.
Prior to becoming an
independent direct mail
copywriter and consultant, Susie Fought worked in nonprofit
fundraising for over a decade. She
began her career in 1992 at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and in
1999 she joined the consulting team at Mal Warwick Associates, a direct
marketing firm based in Berkeley, CA. Over the next six years as senior
consultant, Susie developed and implemented direct marketing
fundraising programs for dozens of regional and national nonprofit
time with Mal Warwick Associates, Susie was also known as “The Answer
Woman,” sharing fundraising and direct mail knowledge through her
contributions to the agency’s bi-monthly newsletter.
is currently putting short, intense pieces of writing together
into a book that will be a deeply-rooted and bravely honest exploration
of elements of her family's history. She has been
participating in several AWA writing workshops since 2004 and is
co-founder of BREW Writing Group.
a background in Art History and Museum Education, Katrina Brashares is
now bringing her love of language to her training as an ESL teacher.
She has been participating in AWA writing workshops since 2004 and is
co-founder of BREW Writing Group. Katrina is currently trying to choose
the best agent for her novel Emilie
are a Member of Intersection for the Arts. Intersection provides
resources, community and cultural space in order to contribute to the
sustainable practices of artists and arts organizations the San
Francisco Bay Area. Visit www.theintersection.org.