Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County is honored to celebrate Lorna MacDonald Czarnota as this week’s featured Women Who Move the City Wednesday (WWMTC) Honoree!
Lorna, an award-winning storyteller and author, has delighted audiences in schools, libraries, festivals and conferences throughout the United States, Canada, and Ireland with traditional and original stories since 1985. She is the founder and executive director of Crossroads Story Center, Inc., a not-for-profit reaching at-risk youth through story, music and art. The organization is dedicated to helping young people navigate troubled waters through the model of story by mentoring and forming productive adult/youth partnerships. Lorna’s healing story work is recognized in national and international storytelling communities.
Lorna was the resident storyteller for nine years at Hopevale Residential Treatment Center and presents an annual eight-week program for girls at Teaching and Restoring Youth transitional home. Among the impressive list of Lorna’s accomplishments, is the 20+ years she has volunteered every other Wednesday night for the residents of Compass House, where she is affectionately known by the clients as “Lorna the Storyteller”. As shared in her nomination for the WWMTC Award, “Whether a tragedy or a romantic folklore, Lorna manages to capture the hearts of even the most challenging teenagers with her stories. Each week, she calls ahead of time, and speaks with shelter staff to get an idea of what major issues residents are struggling with, to determine which story she will tell. Lorna’s stories and illuminating positive energy leave clients and staff alike feeling peaceful and refreshed with new perspectives on life’s challenges. In her twenty years at Compass House, Lorna has impacted the lives of an estimated 6,000 teenagers.”
Lorna has developed, and presented, programs for abused women and their children. Her work also includes communities in disaster with a goal for rebuilding community focus and identity. She’s worked with the community at-large following the shootings on the Virginia Tech campus, and was honored to be the keynote speaker for a conference of educators of young children in Blacksburg, Virginia. Among her many publications in the field, are a series of three new books, Dancing at the Crossroads, about using story to connect with at-risk youth. The series received a 2015 Storytelling World Award.
Lorna is a Teaching Artist with Young Audiences Western New York and serves as an Advisor to the Board of Directors for the Healing Alliance of which she was co-chair for five years. She holds a Bachelor in Creative Studies for Young Children, a Masters in Special Education, and certification in Trauma Counseling.
Lorna resides with her husband, and their two rescue cats, in North Buffalo. In her free time she plays fiddle, Celtic harp and sings Jazz. She loves all things historical and has a particular interest in the Middle Ages. She enjoys traveling to other countries and this past year drove cross-country, 10,000 miles, to see our great nation. When time permits, Lorna loves to cook and enjoy the gardens of her 1904 home.
To celebrate with Lorna and our six other outstanding Women Who Move the City Honorees on Wednesday, May 10th at the Hotel Lafayette, click here to learn more & purchase your tickets today-they are going fast!