Radio Interview!

Tuesday I was honored to be interviewed by radio talk show host, filmmaker, and screenwriter, Dave Congalton on his Hometown Radio program about my new novel, Finding Joy. It was fun chatting with him about writing, growing one’s craft, and the inspiration for my latest work.

Have a listen here.

About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and the middle grade Forest Secrets Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the men who father in creative ways. To my mentors, Dave Burnight, Bill Denneen, Charles Varni, Jay Chapel, Quinn Plante, and Richard Welch, thank you for giving me fatherly guidance when my path was confused. To my own father, thank you for your healing generosity. To my brother, Brian, I am so proud of how you love and nurture your girls. To my cousins, Linda’s children, you inspire me to be a better mother. To all who love and guide, bless you!

Cyberbullying’s Silent Wounds

It’s just a text. Or a post. Only a few words. It’s not like I punched or kicked someone. No biggie.

Or is it? Just how big is cyberbullying to a victim?

  1. 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the internet.
  2. Over half (52 percent) off young people report being cyberbullied.
  3. Embarrassing or damaging photographs taken without the knowledge or consent of the subject has been reported by 11 percent of adolescents and teens.
  4. Of the young people who reported cyberbullying incidents against them, one-third (33 percent) of them reported that their bullies issued online threats.
  5. Often, both bullies and cyberbullies turn to hate speech to victimize their target. One-tenth of all middle school and high school students have been on the receiving end of ‘hate terms’ hurled against them.
  6. Over half, (55 percent) of all teens who use social media have witnessed outright bullying via that medium.
  7. An astounding 95 percent of teens who witnessed bullying on social media report that others, like them, have ignored the behavior.
  8. Unfortunately, victims of cyber bullying sometimes, in an attempt to fight back, can shift roles, becoming the aggressor. Often, this happens as a sort of back-and-forth between victim and aggressor which tends to continue the behavior.
  9. More than half of young people surveyed say that they never confide in their parents when cyber bullying happens to them.
  10. Only one out of every six parents of adolescents and teens are even aware of the scope and intensity involved with cyber bullying.
  11. More than 80 percent of teens regularly use cell phones, making them the most popular form of technology and, therefore, a common medium for cyber bullying
  12. About half of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying; among them, between 10 and 20 percent experience cyber bullying regularly.
  13. The most common types of cyberbullying tactics reported are mean, hurtful comments as posts.
It’s important to let children know that they can speak up against cyberbullying. If we educate them and have them stand up with assertive language the victims will become empowered. At the same time, adults need to monitor their child’s social media sites for predation and bullying.
Every child deserves to see their own wonder. Let’s not let cyberbullies rob them of that.

Stop Child Abuse

stophandWhen I saw this letter, I was sick. How could a boy who  lived just minutes from my home die so horribly?  He could have been one of my students, or yours. Support and report!


We read the tragic news about Jack Garcia, a 9 year old Goleta boy who was beaten and tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend. Jack attended Brandon school until February, when his family moved to Maryland. We don’t know if CWS received any reports about this family, but Jack’s story is an important reminder to not be silent. Anyone who suspects child abuse can make a report to CWS by calling the Child Welfare Service hotline at (800) 367-0166. CWS often refers families to CALM for support and family strengthening. When CALM receives referrals from CWS through our Front Porch program, we reach out to the family to see how we can help. Last year, CALM received 508 referrals to our Front Porch program and provided service to 435 families. We have found that when we make contact with families, we are able to prevent re-referrals to CWS 95% of the time. I wish we had been able to help Jack. Here  is information on how you can make a report and how to recognize abuse. We know there are other children like Jack in our community who need our help. CALM is expanding our Child Abuse Treatment work to serve more children countywide. To honor Jack’s memory and support CALM’s work preventing and treating child abuse, please consider a donation today.

CALM will not be silent for as long as it takes.

Cecilia Rodriguez, MFT
Executive Director Child Abuse Listening Mediation/CALM