Hometown Heroes: Mara Giglio

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They overcome the odds. They sacrifice for the greater good. They trade in problems for possibilities. You may know them as neighbors, coaches, colleagues, or friends. At Studio B, we honor them as Hometown Heroes, ordinary citizens whose everyday efforts strengthen the communities of Southeastern Ohio. Each has a unique story and together they inspire us to make a difference.

The concept of Hometown Heroes grew from a desire to recognize the many people who positively impact our region. Communities face challenges too difficult to ignore. Studio B celebrates individuals who model courage and compassion in the face of adversity. What do they value? Where do they find inspiration? How do they imagine a better future? Tune in as Hometown Heroes tell their stories.

On this edition of Hometown Heroes at Conversations from Studio B, Alisha Riley, a student in the School of Communication Studies, and Lynn Harter, the Steven and Barbara Schoonover Professor of Health Communication, talk with Mara Giglio, Director of the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network (APJN).

Giglio received her B.A. from Wheaton College in 1998. As part of her studies, she traveled in India, Nepal and Tibet to experience peace-building and non-violent movements. Since 1999, Giglio has worked for the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network. She has also served as a statewide trainer for the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict (OCDRCM). Through these positions, she provides training to area youth on violence prevention and conflict management. She teaches Second Step classes, a twenty-two week program that develops students’ life-long social skills and teaches students how to identify and manage their emotions. To date, Giglio has integrated the Second Step curriculum in eight regional elementary and middle schools. 

During her conversation with Riley and Harter, Giglio reflects on the path that led her to pursue a career in nonviolent movements, her goals as a trainer for the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, and how she encourages area youth to develop empathy instead of apathy.

“The main thing that we teach is empathy,” stressed Mara, “because if you care about somebody’s feelings and you understand how they’re feeling then you’re less likely to be in conflict with them.”

For more information on the Appalachian Peace & Justice Network, visit their website at http://www.apjn.org