Joan M. Portman is a passionate advocate for finding creative ways to improve people’s lives due to more than nine years of coordinating her Healing Environments Program. Joan applied the knowledge gained while earning her BA in Art (and Design) to initiate what became her 30-year career as an award-winning interior designer specializing in high-end residential projects. She applied her extensive knowledge of Feng Shui to enhance her singular talents. Joan thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her clients to be able to personalize their home environments to fit their unique lifestyles. Her clients inevitably became friends.
In 2007, Joan introduced her Healing Environments Program to the Director of Volunteer Services at St. Mary Medical Center, Langhorne, PA. Upon approval, she reached out to the Bucks County community. She inspired more than 300 volunteer crafters to create handmade comfort items for hospital patients (afghans, hair-loss caps, baby blankets, mastectomy, and heart pillows, to name a few). These were then offered as gifts to more than 27,000 patients by trained on-site hospital volunteers.
Creative Healing Places: Stories of Hope, Comfort, and Inspiration is a compilation of true stories about experiences gathered from these volunteers, crafters, hospital staff, and clergy, as the lives of patients and their families were enhanced. Through this work, Joan has served thousands of families.
Joan’s ongoing mission, Sew Many Smiles: Creating Brighter Days with Handmade Love! is her continuous means of spreading joy and comfort to those in need while inspiring people of all ages to become involved in this effort. Her goal with this movement is to light up the world with handmade items. Currently, that goal is 10 million smiles.
When not writing, speaking, or crocheting afghans and other comfort items to donate, Joan thoroughly enjoys time with her family and friends and making new friends. Kayaking, biking, gardening, and nature hikes provide more welcome activities.
You’ll feel like you are standing in the room as you read these emotional vignettes. It makes you grateful for all you have, teaches, and inspires you so you can make a difference.
Steven Weinick, Senior Vice President, PepsiCo Global, Research and Development (retired).
Everything about this book is right and righteous. It affirms the harmony of faith communities working together while affirming that every human soul is worthy of being treated in a godly manner…In reading this tender book and taking it to heart, one will be inspired to live a life of “loving our neighbors as ourselves.”
Cantor Steven Stoehr, President, Cantors Assembly Foundation.
As a hospice medical director, I have witnessed what beautiful rooms, gardens, waterfalls, nondenominational chapel space, and music can do to ease patients’ and their family’s anxiety and fear. I was privileged to visit patients in their homes. From each of those experiences, I would take a fictional piece of cloth from which I will make my own quilt for when my time comes to make the journey we all face. Joan Portman’s book is a poignant read about the quilt she is making.
Linda L. Coffin, MD, Former Hospice Medical Director, Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island. (Now New Hope Health)
There is so much wisdom here: thoughtful insights, pragmatic suggestions, gentle storytelling, and a real-life lesson in transforming the culture and personality of healing institutions into communities of possibilities and defiant hope.
Rabbi Charles S. Sherman, Melrose B’nai Israel Emanu-El, author, The Broken, and The Whole: Discovering Joy after Heartbreak, Lessons from a Life of Faith.
Thank you, Joan, for sharing your own experience with your Father-in-Love, where your story began, and where you created a wave of caring for others to do the same.
Carol Fenton, Founder, and Leader, Connect-the DOTS charity.