My name is Jean Sheppard. I have launched Saying It Forward because I believe in preserving and passing on the wisdom that comes from our unique life experiences. I hope you will see from my background that I bring a wide range of skills to this venture.
When I was sure I would be young forever, the times themselves encouraged me to act on any and all calls to adventure. I worked in public relations in London, England, studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York, and earned a diploma from the Swedish Institute for Massage Therapy, also in New York. I held a variety of jobs in Canada: I was a correctional officer in a minimum security prison for young men, a waitress, and a legal secretary, and, briefcase in hand, I briefly sold telephone security systems to small businesses (well, one—no plaques for me). I kept hoping I would find a vocation. I am grateful that, ultimately, I did.
In 1986 I began a long and very rewarding career at Havergal College, an independent school for girls in Toronto where I taught academic English, media studies and dramatic arts while earning an MEd from the University of Toronto. One of my greatest pleasures came from developing and teaching The Writer’s Craft, the creative writing course for senior students. It has been said that we teach best what we most want to learn, and that is one reason I am delighted to be working on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in the optional residency program at the University of British Columbia. I have published a book of poetry called A Run on the Moon, and I invite you to read samples of my poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and plays. You might also want to visit The Frog Meditations, which I created in 2013. Each week for over a year, I posted theme-based fiction and non-fiction pieces to this blog.
Now, as a personal historian, I help people pass on their (often hardwon) wisdom by Saying It Forward. I have a deep interest in and experience with the art and craft of the memoir and belong to the Association of Personal Historians, an international organization devoted to the preservation of life stories. I am also a volunteer presenter on advance care planning for Dying With Dignity, a national not-for-profit organization focused on end-of-life issues.
Whether you would like the comfort of individual coaching (in person or online) or prefer the energy of a group workshop, I can help you preserve these precious memories. I can help you give the future a present.