About Us

NEW: We offer online workshops on Teachable.com!

Dr. Norma Thomas

Co-director

Dr. Thomas has been a dedicated social worker and leader in the field of gerontology for over 40 years with over 20 years of that experience also being complemented by her work in academia as a director of social work programs and mentor for graduate students, academics of color, and BIPOC social workers rising into leadership positions.  Dr. Thomas most recently served as the MSW Program Director at California University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2007 and retired in January 2017. She was promoted to full professor in 2014. From 1994-2004 she worked for the Widener University Center for Social Work Education where she achieved tenure as an Associate Professor, also holding positions as Assistant Director and Baccalaureate Program Director.  She worked from 1975-1984 for the Delaware County Office on Services for the Aging and from 1984-1992 for the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. In addition, she was the co-founder and President of the Center on Ethnic & Minority Aging, Inc., Philadelphia, PA from 1995-2008. She is currently an online instructor for the Center For Social Work Education, Widener University. She is the recipient of many community service awards including most recently: 2016 Dr. Caryl Sheffield Award for Excellence, California University of Pa. , 2015 Spirit of CARIE Award-Philadelphia, Pa., 2010 Woman of Distinction Award, Southwest Women’s Ministry of the Pa. Baptist State Convention, among others.  She is a licensed clinical social worker in the State of Pennsylvania (LCSW) and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW).

Email me: storyjoyinc@gmail.com

Dr. Raina J. León

Co-Director

Dr. Raina J. León is an Afro-Boricua, native Philadelphian.  She is a daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, and teacher educator.  She believes in collective action and community work, the profound power of holding space for the telling of our stories, and the liberatory practice of humanizing education. She seeks out communities of care and craft as a writer and as an academic.  She is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective, Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Macondo.  She is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, and sombra: (dis)locate and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey:  Essays on the Mother(ing) Self in the Afro-Boricua.  She has received numerous fellowships and residencies and is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts.  She has recently been promoted to full professor of education at Saint Mary’s College of California, a rank only .007% of women of two races or more attain in American academia.  She has been actively coaching creatives in creative practice and the business of writing, graduate students and academics (especially those from historically marginalized communities), and youth for over 10 years. 

Email me: storyjoyinc@gmail.com

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Full Professional Bios