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I talk about: The Arts, Bridging Divides, Community Building, Education, Faith & Spirituality, Immigration, Personal Development, Youth

Dina has long used storytelling and puppetry to help immigrant and migrant populations not only learn English, but heal from disconnection and disruption through humor and play.

So when the pandemic hit and the social isolation became too much to bear, she took a puppet which had been sitting on a shelf and applied the skills she typically reserves for the classroom to the streets of her neighborhood in Harlem.

She hoped the puppet would help start conversations at a distance and provide some much needed comic relief.

And it did!

In fact, children and adults in the neighborhood were eager to talk to the La Befana puppet and receive gifts of cookies from the legendary old woman who is considered the Santa Claus of Italy.

The puppet opened her heart and theirs, creating connection during a challenging time and led Dina to discover a sense of deep belonging that she had long been seeking, yet unable to truly find.

She now speaks to groups sharing the wisdom of her experience along with practical skills on using storytelling, puppetry, and listening skills in support of individual, relational, and collective healing, growth, resilience, and belonging.

Outside of public speaking, Dina works as a teacher of unaccompanied children and is the host of La Befana’s Table podcast & community where she gathers folks from all walks of life for conversations & experiences that nourish the Soul.

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