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Sandy Kleven, LCSWSandy Kleven, Author

I've been working with families for about 20 years. I am a licensed clinical social worker working most recently in mental health and most currently combining private practice as a therapist with work in early childhood intervention.

This latter relates to screening for developmental delays and providing teaching assistance to families identified as eligible for services.

I have four sons, three of whom are adults and one who is 14. For the most part, we raised our boys in Bellingham, Washington. It was there that I finished a BA degree in Human Services and first began to work in the area of sexual abuse prevention. A group out of Minneapolis, Minnesota was using "theatre" to teach personal safety skills. I saw them perform in Everett, Washington and was mightily impressed. In short order, I told my boss what I'd seen. I said "We can do the same thing in Bellingham." She gave me the go ahead and the SOAPBox Players were formed.

I wrote all the performance material. THE RIGHT TOUCH, our new book, is derived from "Jimmy's Bedtime Story," a script that we performed for many years. Our performing group caught on quickly. We presented to parent groups and groups of teachers. We were invited to present at conferences throughout the Pacific Northwest and eventually made in to three states and Canada presenting to both adults and children. Our focus was teaching parents how to talk to their children but, after a year or so, we were urged to present our material directly to children. The urging came from parents, teachers and school principals. They were even willing to pay expenses and an honorarium to bring us to their schools. We thought this was wonderful. When we started the group we did not know if our program would be welcome in the schools --- so it was great to be recruited the way we were

We also talked the local TV station into doing a docudrama using our material and were stunned to win an area EMMY.

I left the SOAPBox Players in 1984, heading to Alaska. The group is still performing in Bellingham though their focus has shifted to parenting issues. Part of the royalty I will receive from THE RIGHT TOUCH will go to support their work.

I've been living and working in Valdez, Alaska for more than six years. This is a small town with a population of about 4,000. We are 350 miles away from any center of population. You might say we are remote. The arrival of the Internet has cut down on my sense of isolation as I am in frequent contact with family and friends around the globe.

Thanks again for your support.

With kind regards,

Sandy

Sandy Kleven may be reached with comments or interview requests at
skleven@unicom-alaska.com

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