Shelli is an advocacy writer and creative writing teacher. She loves to spend time with her husband (usually in the garden) and their four almost adult children. She also loves to sew (usually for the local community theater), to read, to write, and to drag her family outside to look at the sky. Shelli is passionate about poetry, Broadway show tunes, and telling stories -- of ourselves, our families, and our communities.

A Mother Heart: Voices From CSW – Caroline Hoglund, Women of Sweden and Haro, Part 1

When everyone around you is telling you that your children will be better off with someone else, when your community and your culture and your government encourage and even incentivize mothers to leave their children as early as possible, when the picture of what a family and what mothering is has become something up for…

On Autumn Days

Last week a student asked me why I became a writer, and more than that, a teacher, and although I usually reach for the easy answers—I loved to read, and I loved to talk about reading—suddenly I find myself really answering the question, find myself telling her about walking into a classroom to teach my…

How to Make a Meal: A Meditation on the U.N. Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City

Prepare your area. For most this is the kitchen, but it can be done in backyards, cultural halls, church gyms, and parks—even gathered around temporary tables in a brightly lit corner of a conference center, as we found during the service portion of the U.N. Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, when over 4,000…

A Thousand Points of Light: Voices from CSW – Princess Osita-Oleribe

Together We Move Forward On May 15th, the Paipe community in Abuja, Nigeria, gathered in the dusty street in front of the community school to celebrate the International Day of the Family. Princess Osita-Oleribe, director of the Centre for Family Health Initiative (CFHI), spoke to over 200 participants and celebrated with song and dance—an important…

A Thousand Points of Light: Voices from CSW – Betty Abah, CEE-HOPE

Imagine a neighborhood floating on water, where roads look like rivers, and where children play on vast bridges and verandas and rafts. Imagine a community where you take a boat to school, where you rely on water for employment, for transportation, for nourishment and sustenance. Makoko is a fishing village floating on the vast Lagos…