The Freedom Writers ~ An interview with educator, Erin Gruwell, the inspiration behind the movie, and Tiffony Jacobs, one of the original students
February 23, 2013
Hosted by Marianna Cacciatore
Who saw two-time Oscar Winner, Hillary Swank, portray Erin Gruwell in the Freedom Writers? It was a remarkable movie and this week Marianna will be interviewing the real-life teacher who inspired it—Erin Gruwell—as well as one of her students from the original classroom, Tiffony Jacobs. By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, Erin Gruwell transformed her students’ lives. She encouraged them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others, reconsider daily decisions, and ultimately re-chart their futures. With Erin’s support, they chose to forego teenage pregnancy, drugs, and violence to become aspiring college students, published writers, and citizens for change. They dubbed themselves, the Freedom Writers, in homage to civil rights activists, The Freedom Riders. With the Academy Awards this Sunday, we feel it’s the perfect interview for this week. Please join us! The Freedom Writers Foundation has received a grant from Bread for the Journey of Irvine.
Bread for the Journey Radio
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Today’s news is filled with stories that break our hearts. On Bread for the Journey Radio, you’ll hear stories that help mend it back together. Join Marianna Cacciatore as she interviews ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things, often small and always meaningful, to make our world a better place. Some, like Marianna, have suffered a tragedy, and, as a result, have created something beautiful to bring others healing. Others are helping women in crisis, making life better for children living in poverty, greening their neighborhood, or any number of creative things that make their community more beautiful, healthy, and connected. These women, men and young people inspire us to think about our own lives, and what we can do to make a difference in the world. Their stories become Bread for our Journey, inspiration and nourishment for a life well lived.
Most would agree Marianna Cacciatore’s life has been one well-lived. Through her work over 25 years with people who are working to bring about a better world, she has a unique vantage point from which to tell the stories we don’t generally hear in the media today. Marianna possesses the rare gift of presence, a deep listening which evokes in people the desire to tell their story.
Having suffered a childhood tragedy that spiraled downward into her teens and young adult years, she eventually turned things around and created a grief center that has brought healing to thousands of people. She recounts the full story in her book, Being There for Someone in Grief. Today, she serves as a Lifetime Emeritus Board Member of Tu Nidito in Tucson, Arizona, the parent agency for the organization she founded in 1988 called Children to Children, a Center for Children and Families in Grief.
Everyday Marianna meets ordinary people doing extraordinary things through her work as Executive Director of Bread for the Journey, a philanthropic organization with 20 locations nationally. Each volunteer-run chapter practices neighborhood philanthropy in their respective communities, helping everyday people bring their community-minded ideas to life. The Bread for the Journey vision is to nurture the seed of generosity in every human heart and Marianna’s life is a living expression of just that. Join her as she ignites the heart of generosity in you.