2016 National Young Women of Distinction 

#NYWOD16

Nywod

Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey

Girl Scouts USA

Emotional Intelligence

Comic Book Therapy

Comic Book Therapy, Short Hills

Petterson, Vanessa, Dov and Julie 

May 22, 2016


Girl Scouts USA

2016 National Young Women of Distinction 

October 29, 2016

​​​​Thanks so much to Dov Smiley (Abby & Josh), Vanessa Solis (Max & Thomas) and Petterson Oliveira (Ivy & Grace) for your beautiful artwork. 

Emotional Intelligence

Special Needs Sibling

2016 NYWOD

National Young Woman of Distinction

Girl Scouts

Comic Book Therapy

Emotional Intelligence

Adventures From My World (AFMW) is a Girl Scout Gold Award project that continues to surpass every objective that I set for it.  As a Girl Scout, I perceived a lack of resources in my community to support siblings of individuals with special needs and took action to create my own unique tool.  In sharing this resource, my goal is to let siblings know that they are not alone in the highs and lows that they experience on a daily basis. 

Through the accessible medium of a comic book, AFMW seeks to express a point of view that often goes unnoticed.  The impact of AFMW, however, is meant to reach beyond special needs siblings.  AFMW encourages all people to be more aware and accepting of the challenges that others face.  

Another goal of this project is to serve as a proof of concept for comic book therapy.  To date, AFMW has been adopted enthusiastically by the special needs community, and is being used in a variety of therapeutic settings.  I have witnessed firsthand how AFMW helps to foster open expression and communication of emotions among siblings that may otherwise remain silent about their internal struggles.  The growing acceptance of this resource as a therapeutic tool provides support for the efficacy of comic book therapy.  In light of the positive response to AFMW, I foresee the creation of comic books that will tackle a wide range of issues while promoting emotional intelligence and improved mental health. 

Yet another purpose of AFMW is to help raise funds for various not-for-profit organizations that support families with special needs loved ones.  Proceeds from the sale of AFMW so far have benefited Autism Speaks, The Arc of New Jersey, Girl Scouts (for inclusion initiatives), Lifetown and Children’s Specialized Hospital.

I am humbled and overwhelmed by the interest in AFMW and the genuine desire of many people and organizations to further this project.  In particular, I would like to thank my family members for their ongoing support, Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey for providing me with the framework to undertake this project, the three Kubert School artists that brought my vision to life: Petterson Oliveira, Dov Smiley and Vanessa Solis, and finally Stefanie Marky from the Rutgers Social Skills Program.

After reading AFMW, please take a moment to fill out my comic book survey.  I want to know what you (yes, YOU!) think and how the book could be improved. 





Thank you for your interest in this project.  I am so grateful for the impact that AFMW has already achieved - and I don't plan on stopping any time soon!

All the best,

Julie Averbach

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