Life in Transit: About Our Facilitators


 “Without the transcendent and the transpersonal we get sick…or else hopeless and apathetic. We need something bigger than we are to be awed by and to commit ourselves.”

Abraham Maslow 

Donna Iona Drozda
Donna Iona Drozda

Donna began painting and journaling forty years ago, as a critical means for recovery from violence. 

” Writing, drawing and moving color all allow me to experience well-being.  On page or canvas…writing and images arrive as welcome guests providing direction for each next step of my life. Expressing, in any medium, provides direct connection with my inner spirit, deepens my relationship with Life’s Mystery and  infuses me with a deep trust in life. Painting, mixing color, carving into the surface of the wood or the canvas, sitting still with a piece as we rest ‘in process’  all of these steps combine to create, for me, the best possible place.”

The ‘Life in Transit’ project offers a similar opportunity…we are remided here that when we fall off the edge, through challenge and hardship,  Life itself supports us. We’re helped to get back on track.  We’re led to our next step. Miraculously people, situations, circumstances, that will assist us in addressing our deepest and most challenging trauma, arrive to meet us. In truth we’re never alone.

Please visit: Herstory to read Donna’s memoir: ‘The River Beneath the River’


Toni brings a poet’s truth telling and an educator’s respect for learning to ‘Life in Transit.’“In each session, we offer ourselves to ourselves; the art is simultaneously a safe and wild place. We assign color and words to pain and victory and everything in between. Our questions birth art-inspired answers.

I can revise a poem year after year, or let it sit as witness, untouched, in a notebook. I love my relationship with art. I have a warren of turns and pauses that is my own healing. When Drozda invited me to ‘Life in Transit,’ doors and windows flew open.”Toni Wynn


Click here to listen to Toni read two poems shared in past workshops.

 An arts educator, writer, conflict management professional and third-generation Jersey girl, Toni takes on topics ranging from the nexus of STEM and jazz in visual art for the International Review of African American Art to the vagaries of motherhood at Call Your Mother.

 Emily Willen
A student at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Emily Willen is pursuing her Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Counseling. She first learned about the ‘Life in Transit’ project through a 2012 internship at the YWCA.          
Emily is participating in the project as artist and documentarian; recording audio segments of resident programs as well as    photos of the sessions while in progress. “After I learned a bit about Donna and Toni’s goals and mission for the project, I  knew immediately that it was something that resonated with me in a deep way and that it was something I wanted to be involved in. To me, the concept of ‘Life in Transit’ acknowledges that our lives are constantly in a process of growth, change,  and evolution. The workshops allow us to take an opportunity to slow down and reflect on our direction thus far, as well as where we would like to go in the future. To accomplish this, the project utilizes visual art and creative writing, two things I am very passionate about. There is no right or wrong way for each participant to express their own ‘Life in Transit’; the purpose is to use the arts to help each woman get in touch with her own inner courage and strength.”

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