I come from a musical background. My mother was a singer and piano teacher. My Grandparents sang Opera, Classical music, and harmonized beautifully together. My Grandmother was the sweetest and kindest woman I have ever known. She had a lot of wisdom, and was my first role model. I wanted to be just like her, and when I was a small child, I would go in the cellar and make up songs, and poems for hours on end. It brought me to a place of great joy and peace. Let’s say that I had a childhood much like the story of Cinderella. My dad was an alcoholic and my mom was extremely mentally ill. We found out years later she was bipolar. Being the second to the eldest of four girls, I was the scapegoat in the family and never felt like I fit in. There was one place I fit in, though, and that was in my cellar — just me and God while singing my heart and soul out, reciting poems I made up.

I ended up being an alcoholic and took Valium for fifteen years. When I went into treatment they told me I would never get off of the pills. Well I thought to myself, I will one day by God’s grace. Eight years later I surrendered wholeheartedly to God, and asked him to help me. He did, and I am so grateful. I now have twenty two years of sobriety, and twenty-one years completely pill free.

Donna SolitarioI decided I wanted to be a dream reacher then, and dreamed of becoming a teacher so that I could touch every child’s heart that I possibly could. It was like magic in the classroom, I had the opportunity to inspire hearts, and tell each child and youth that they could follow their dreams, and become all that they were meant to be. The rapport that I had with the children, and youth was a dream come true for me.

Later on in my teaching career, I worked at Job Corps, with inner city students from Boston and New York. It was different from the middle to upper class students I was used to.

It was a challenge to me, I literally got down on my knees each night, and asked God to show me how to inspire these young men and women, who had been through many adversities.

Did He answer my prayer? Yes indeed He did! It all started one day when one of the students was really down, and heartbroken with the breakup of his girlfriend. I gave him a poem I wrote, for a friend’s wedding.  The next day I came to class, I noticed that he made the poem into a beautiful card!

Donna Solitario BannerThat is the day my life changed, and I became a writer and poet. Many of the students from Job Corps came to my classroom, and asked me to write a poem for them. I could clearly see that God had answered my prayers, and I was so humbled and grateful. It dawned on me that when I showed my students my heart, they in turn showed me theirs. It was amazing how we would share our hearts together.  I will always love and treasure these beautiful young people, who are trying so hard to change their lives around.I am currently working in the courts, I am blessed to work with substance abusers who are mandated by the courts to go through rehabilitation. I teach the GED and let me tell you it is extremely rewarding. There is not one day that goes by, that I am not sharing a laugh with one, or all of my students. Why you may ask? well again it’s like magic, I show them my heart through my poetry, and my own recovery. Perhaps the most important thing I do for my students is, to show them their own hearts and how very special they are. To let them know they are not their mistakes, and they too can become somebody special, and achieve all that they can be.

It was my students who inspired me to write my first poetry book, Embrace the Light; a Woman’s Story Through Poetry. My second book, Coming Home to My Heart; for Inner Peace, was nothing short of a miracle. Meaning, because of my students reactions and others, to my poetry, I felt God’s grace led me to writing this book to help others who had been abused, and for all others to learn prevention of abuse through insight, hope and love.

The authors of The Dream Reacher’s book are exceptional artists themselves. When Chase Von interviewed me at The Student Operated Press, I was so thrilled. Chase is such a talented poet and author.  He is truly a very special person. He has a heart of gold, and works very hard to promote new talent of all sorts. You would Love him and Betty. Betty Dravis is a kind funny and loving woman. She is an outstanding, talented Journalist, author and so much more… She reminds me so much of my Grandmother! They have both touched my heart, and life in so many positive ways. One can only imagine, where I had come from in life, that being in the inspiring Dream Reacher’s book was nothing short of a mere miracle.  I can still hear the words my father would say to me, “Donna, you will never amount to anything,”  Well let me tell you, I had tears in my eyes, when Chase told me that he was going to put our interview, in the Dream Reachers book. For the first time in my life, I felt like a true dream reacher, one who is living their goals and dreams. With God in my heart, and love in my soul, to make a difference every day, each time I pass out to my students a poem, I think to myself what a wonderful world…

Allow me to share my poem which is in the book. This poem is an expression of how I felt growing up in an abusive home. The last verse refers to the faith, hope and love I felt, when I surrendered to God.

Embrace the Light by Donna SolitarioThe Space In-Between My Heart

The space in-between my heart
Feels alone and terribly dark
It lays hardened yet quite protected
It’s surroundings are dull and extremely infected
With a coating of dust which covers it’s interior
A dimmed light is shattered in the rear
The components are covered with a mist
Portraying visions of love that were missed
Spurts of water seeps to drown memory sounds
Emptiness fills a cushion all around
Attempts of filling the space are made
While seeping through, leaving a large trace
My heart feels weary, from this dreary space
So it seeks God mercy and love, to take it’s place

When I gave my students a lesson from the Dream Reacher’s book, I was amazed of how they were inspired by the interviews they had read in the book. Many of them expressed their thoughts and feelings of wanting to become Dream Reacher’s. I was extremely proud of them, on their outstanding essays. It was inspiring to see their dedication, and hope to make their goals, and dreams come true.

With my third book, in the near future on the way, and some of my students working on, writing their own books, I feel very grateful to be a Dream Reacher. I am honored to witness my students become dream reachers. May all of your dreams come true. http://outskirtspress.com/DonnaSolitario,http://outskirtspress.com/PoemsFromaWomansPointofView