Project Rebirth uses the stories of hope, healing and resilience found in our collection of films in helping communities. Two of our most effective partnerships at the community level are with the 100 Black Men of Virginia Peninsula and Soaring Spirits International.
Camp Esteem creates heterogeneous small groups by placing 8- 10 students with two mentors. In 2015 Camp Esteem added local law enforcement members as part of the staff - the same people who live in and work in their communities will facilitate experiential learning challenges. At Camp Esteem small groups are mentee led, provided a mix of physical and mental challenges designed to remove students from their comfort zones, followed by periods of reflection. This classic wilderness camp experience has been effective for over 20 years in the United States, and will allow students to maximize growth in a short period of time. The Project Rebirth team leads group discussions on resilience designed for grade school, middle school, and high school ages, as well as creative writing sessions, and a 7-day healthy eating plan for the entire family.
Soaring Spirits Camp Widow
A Project Rebirth Workshop for those who have lost their life partner.
Rebirth film participant and program specialist Tanya Villanueva Tepper has created a 75-minute workshop that explores the complicated journey of widowhood by chronicling her own experiences following the death of her firefighter fiancé, Sergio, on 9/11. As the only widow depicted in the theatrical film, Tanya’s narrative shows her own evolution of grief and describes the challenge of losing a life partner at such a young age. Entitled “From Sorrow to Rebirth and Everything in Between: A Time- Lapse Journey of Grief Through the Years,” Tanya’s presentation details both the immediate aftermath of loss as well as the ways in which grief can continually change over time.
Along with sharing her own twenty-minute short film, Tanya discusses topics that are often not adequately addressed following the death of a loved one and shares strategies for coping with all those in attendance. Workshop participants gain tangible and practical advice from a fellow widow who understands their burden and reassures them that they are not alone in their struggle. Tanya serves as both a workshop leader and a keynote speaker at Soaring Spirits events on both coasts. Tanya has been interviewed on national television and radio programs and the impact of her honesty, eloquence and deep empathy for those journeying through grief and loss continues to grow.
Camp Widow allows Tanya to continue to share her own story of strength in the face of overwhelming loss while providing a platform for Project Rebirth to share its message and mission to a larger and engaged audience. Widowed participants in attendance at Camp Widow conferences in 2013 and 2014 have shared that Tanya’s presentation helped them process and identify their own grief, and allowed them to begin to develop a foundation for their own healing. Moving forward, Tanya and Project Rebirth will continue to develop resilience-building presentations and workshops for the widowed community using her short film.