AUNE Student and Alum Hike for Homeless Women

Antioch University New England (AUNE) students recently joined in Wilderness Heals, the all-female, three-day pledge hike that benefits Boston’s Elizabeth Stone House (ESH). Marilyn Castriotta, an Environmental Studies master’s student, participated for the fourth year, and Ali Furman, MS ’13, also joined the annual hike.

ESH provides safety and services to help women resolve the issues that made them homelessdomestic violence, substance abuse, and mental illnessto help them attain and maintain permanent housing, personal safety, and economic stability.

This year’s Wilderness Heals was held July 19-21. Five teams of forty-three women, whose ages ranged from teens to sixties, spent three days hiking in various parts of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest.  The weather conditions were challenging, with heat and humidity, as well as tornado warnings on the second day.

Each hiker was required to raise at least $1,500. All proceeds are unrestricted funding that ESH uses to help individuals and families heal and rebuild their lives. This year’s overall goal of raising $175,000 was the highest yet in Wilderness Heals’ eighteen-year history and for the first time was reached before the event was held. Most came from individual donations; there was also corporate sponsorship. You can still make a pledge through September 12.

Marilyn co-led the Carter Notch team, which summited two 4,000-foot mountains, Carter Dome and Wildcat A. The essence of Wilderness Heals is about building confidence and community in the lives of both homeless individuals and those hiking for their benefit, she said. Serving as a team leader the past three years, she aspires to lead according to a favorite quote of hers by Eleanor Roosevelt: A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader; a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.

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Vanessa Smith, ’03

Vanessa Smith ’03 (Antioch University Los Angeles, BA) started a new job as the Shriver Family Law Attorney at Legal Access Alameda. In this role, she is supervising volunteer attorneys who represent low-income individuals at hearings in child custody cases. “I have wanted to work in the nonprofit legal sector since I was a student at Antioch and then at law school,” said Smith. “This job represents finally reaching this goal.”

Dr. Yves P. Gakunde ’12 and ’20

Dr. Yves P. Gakunde ’20 (New England, PhD in Environmental Studies) and ’12 (New England, MS in Sustainable Development and Climate Change) assumed the position of Purchasing and Contract Services manager for the City of Keene after previously working as environmentally preferred purchasing program coordinator. He will assist the city in working toward its sustainability goals.

Dr. Kavon Ward

Community Organizer, Spoken Word Activist Dr. Kavon Ward (PhD in Leadership and Change, GSLC) has teamed up with fellow activists in California to launch Anti-Racist Movements (ARMs) Around the South Bay (LA). The mission of ARMs is focused on “Mobilizing families to raise anti-racist children and enact change in our community through organized action”. The group provides a space for involvement and education to engage in deep conversations about privilege and race to enact change. Kavon brings years of demonstrated experience in community leadership to the group and has extensive expertise in nonprofit organizational development, grassroots organizing, governmental relations, and volunteer

Dr. Maya Townsend

Dr. Maya Townsend (PhD in Leadership and Change, GSLC) recently co-published “The Road to Successful Change is Lined with Trade-Offs” in Strategy+Business, an award-winning management magazine focused on strategy, operations, human capital, and governance.

Dr. Brittany Pines

Dr. Brittany Pines (PhD in Leadership and Change, GSLC) has successfully garnered a new Department of Education Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Title V grant to benefit students of Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) where she is Project Director of an existing Title III grant entitled EXITO: Exit on Time in STEM. This new grant entitled, CASA: Creating Access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) for All, allows NEIU to create a freshman/sophomore STEM cohort that embeds Ethics, History, and Financial Literacy into the cohort but taught through a STEM lens in a collaborative, co-teaching way. In addition, the grant allows NEIU

Dr. Ileya Grosman

Community Builder, and Educational Strategist, Dr. Ileya Grosman (PhD in Leadership and Change, GSLC) has just authored “Will COVID-19 Be a Disruption or an Interruption” for Medium an online network of scholars and practitioners. The piece examines the impacts of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and provides deep reflection regarding the ways in which it will drive transformation throughout communities, within individuals, and amongst leadership practices. Acknowledging that change and disruption are continual, she questions the takeaways of this historic moment in time. Ileya’s scholarship, practice, and expertise focuses on fostering relational connections and educational engagement driven by the power of communication

Antioch University

Since our founding 1852, Antioch University has remained on the forefront of social justice, inclusion, and equality – regardless of ethnicity, gender, creed, orientation, focus of study, or ability.

Antiochians actively reflect these shared values to inspire positive change in the world. Common Thread is where we document the stories that showcase our communities actions, so the change we work for can be shared widely.  

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