Making the world a better place for children. That’s what an Easthampton woman has done through her work in helping children solve problems.
Maryellen Rooney Moreau is a speech and language pathologist. She was a professor at American International College and twenty years ago founded MindWing Concepts, a business that creates tools to help children communicate better to solve problems and resolve conflict. Maryellen says, “The tools that I’ve created over the past many years, 20 years, that I’ve been a speech and language pathologist for over 35 years, and the focus has always been to help children who maybe have ideas in their head, but can’t get the ideas out. So to foster that in areas of reading and writing, but especially in the area of social communication.”
Maryellen has created a tool called the Story Grammar Marker. Her daughter, Sheila Moreau Pratt, is vice president of marketing and sales for MindWing Concepts. She says, “It helps children to be able to tell stories, solve problems, think critically, communicate.”
It’s for her work that Maryellen is the recipient of the Boise Peace Quilt Lifetime Achievement Award. The project was started in 1982 by two mothers in Boise, Idaho. They made the first friendship peace quilt and sent it to people in what was then, the Soviet Union. There are 45 quilts now, given to people from all walks of life like Fred Rogers and Senator Frank Church. Gwynne McElhinney, a member of the Boise Peace Quilt Project says, “All of them share this idea that the world can be made a better place if each of us, in our own little patch of garden, our own backyard, think globally and act locally and look for conflict resolution.”
Maryellen received her quilt in Idaho back in October. A reception was held in Springfield Wednesday night to celebrate her milestone. McElhinney says the quilt has squares on it that were images that children drew, strategies to resolve conflict and they’ve been turned into fabric art
Maryellen now travels across North America training parents and teachers in methods to help children improve themselves in school and in life. Her passion to help children is making a difference. Maryellen says, “The reason I think I’ve made a difference is that I’ve given them a way to think through situations and be able to express those thoughts and plans and perspectives, just do everything that the peace quilt is a symbol of.”
MindWing Concepts is located at 1 Federal Street in Springfield at the STCC Technology Park. To learn more, call 866-851-2415 or check out their website, mindwingconcepts.com.
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Maryellen, after presentation of award, back in Idaho for demonstration of Boise Peace Quilt.
Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.