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.