Brenda Kucirka (1961 – )


Inspiration for Activism Part II –

  • Tireless Advocate for marginalized and vulnerable populations in the Chester PA community; Assistant Professor at Widener University, Chester PA (see Widener Magazine 2016 — Vol. 26, No. 1)
  • Nurse educator and Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist with a passion for social justice and decreasing stigma and oppression. I strive to educate nurses who embrace the role of change agent and advocate willing to step into the space between call and response with eyes and ear wide open.
  • Recipient of the Widener University 2018 Civic Engagement Award
  • Trained as an Inside Out Instructor in 2015
  • Teaches a Social Justice and Advocacy Inside Out Prison Exchange Course at SCI Chester, a medium security prison in Chester, PA. (see photo below of the the outside student cohort from the Widener University School of Nursing Fall 2018 Social Justice & Advocacy Inside Out Prison Exchange Course – used by permission)
  • Advocated for college credits to be awarded to incarcerated individuals enrolled in the Inside Out Prison Exchange course.
  • Originally a community-based service learning course, The Advocacy and Social Justice service learning course was redesigned as an Inside Out Prison Exchange Course in 2017. The course has been recognized as a high impact teaching practice that has was presented at the NLN Summit in 2018.

MY STORY

I have always been drawn to those who are misunderstood, misrepresented and stigmatized. I find my calling to be one of bearing witness, stepping into the spaces and places that society finds unacceptable or unworthy. I am always inspired by and grateful to those who share their stories with me.

My activism has grown out of a deep concern for issues of social justice and a desire to support marginalized populations in Chester PA by confronting injustice and health disparities. I am moved by the power of one’s narrative & seek to provide a venue for validating and valuing the voice of vulnerable and marginalized populations. My work in the community and with students has been focused on facilitating the development of self-compassion and self-empowerment

My work focuses on social justice as a fundamental human right that is central to nursing and the core values of nursing. It has been my privilege to be in a position in which I have earned the respect of students, colleagues and my community through my work in the area of social justice. I strive to inspire those I encounter to find their voice and to use their voice to advocate for self and others. I believe the work I am doing will have a ripple effect as students enter the profession with a sense of compassion for self and others as well as the intention to seek social justice for those they care for and their communities.

VOLUNTEERISM AND CIVIC ENGAGMENT:

  • Volunteers at Threshold of Delaware County teaching decision making skills to incarcerated individuals
  • Volunteers at City Team Ministries in Chester PA providing staff supervision and group psychotherapy and psychoeducation for men in the Rescue and Recovery Program
  • Volunteers at the State Correctional Institute in Chester PA facilitating mental health and wellness seminars for men in the Transitional Housing Unit as well as those serving juvenile life sentences and life sentences.
  • Advisory Board member for Providence House, a Clubhouse providing psychosocial rehabilitation in the community. Established a partnership with the Widener School of Nursing and Providence House to provide psychoeducation and an annual health and wellness fair for clubhouse members.
  • Serves on the City of Chester’s Reentry Committee

The outside student cohort from the Widener University School of Nursing Fall 2018 Social Justice & Advocacy Inside Out Prison Exchange Course.

 

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