Pen To Paper: Journaling to Heal

GROWTH has partnered with addiction recovery professionals to develop PEN TO PAPER: Journaling to Heal which is a workshop designed for parents (and future parents) of at-risk youth to help break the cycle of abuse and addiction. PEN TO PAPER provides a therapeutic platform for youth and adults to share their stories in an effort to help themselves heal. PEN TO PAPER is based on the journaling style featured in Children of War: The Mike Rodriguez Story, a book written by Deana Ruggieri and Tom Nelson to help victims of abuse and addiction tell their stories to heal their own trauma.

“My dream is to write a book for kids abused just like I was, and that by sharing my horror and shame with them, these children of war will know they are not alone.” – Mike Rodriguez

Thus begins Children of War, the true story of Mike Rodriguez, a young man who chronicles the torture and repercussions of childhood physical and sexual abuse, an inadequate child welfare system, alcoholism, heroin addiction, and multiple incarcerations. Mike’s story was featured in two documentary films, Skid Row and Without A Home. Mike’s story demonstrates the value of putting pen to paper, of journaling to heal. His technique is central to the PEN TO PAPER workshop. For more information contact Deana Ruggieri.


“I have never before seen a workshop have such a positive influence on the clients as Pen to Paper… It gave them a real opportunity to take part in their healing from trauma and addiction. I would recommend this workshop to any Treatment Facility or Program that is looking to find a meaningful outlet for their population.”
Jason Smith — Faith Recovery, Program Director

“Deana’s Pen to Paper workshop on the power of Journaling and writing as a therapeutic outlet was an experience I truly enjoyed and benefited from. It demonstrated how cathartic writing from
the heart can be for anyone who has experienced any form of trauma or hardship. Journaling is now a cornerstone of my ongoing recovery process.”
Mark S.

“I enjoyed and gained valuable insight from the workshop. Deana’s book highlights the story of a man struggling with addiction and personality traits that I found extremely relatable. Deana simplified the process with easily digestible prompts and was a great introduction to journaling as a healthy new habit.”
Bill W.

“Deana has a brilliant way of prompting responses and connections we make as we go through the heavy past of Mike’s life… For so long I had felt alone and unique in my suffering. Recovery is a solution to a disease that produces confusion and discord. It is a healing that centers in connection and our similarities. Through these sessions with Deana I was able to experience that connection. That relatability that I so deeply desired and didn’t even know it.”
Brandon H.