Globe West People

Extra help for patients

Rosa Elena Bello (right), with Newton resident Margaret Morganroth Gullette at a 2001 event in Nicaragua, will talk about her work empowering women Wednesday at Brandeis University.
Rosa Elena Bello (right), with Newton resident Margaret Morganroth Gullette at a 2001 event in Nicaragua, will talk about her work empowering women Wednesday at Brandeis University.
By Cindy Cantrell
September 18, 2011

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Although Michele Salvucci of Framingham will be recovering from surgery during Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s second annual HopeWalks next Sunday, she will be participating in spirit.

The event raises money to make integrative support services available to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay, at the hospital’s Joan and James Vernon Cancer Center.

Salvucci has learned firsthand about the center’s importance since being diagnosed with stage 4 head and neck cancer in April. She has benefited from the services of a dietitian and nurse navigator, who continues to provide treatment guidance and emotional support. Additional services include genetic testing, access to clinical trials, psychological and social services for patients and their families, pain management, and therapeutic services such as massage, Reiki, and yoga.

Salvucci underwent chemotherapy and radiation this summer, and takes most of her meals via a feeding tube to keep her weight up. She notes that she is already a survivor, declaring she will be at next year’s HopeWalks “with bells on.’’

“My friends tell me to tie a knot and hold on,’’ she added. “That’s exactly what I’m doing.’’

HopeWalks, a 3.5-mile neighborhood walk, will begin and end at Newton-Wellesley Hospital with Susan Wornick of WCVB-TV as the honorary master of ceremonies. Registration will take place at 9 a.m., with the walk beginning at 10 a.m. rain or shine, with all ages welcome.

For more information, visit

NEWS FROM NICARAGUA: Newton resident Margaret Morganroth Gullette is a prize-winning nonfiction author, and a resident scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University in Waltham. Perhaps her biggest impact, however, is felt in Nicaragua, where she cofounded the nonprofit Free High School for Adults with Rosa Elena Bello.

The women are being reunited this month, as Bello assumes a post as a distinguished visiting practitioner at the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life at Brandeis. Bello will discuss her experiences serving and empowering women and men in Nicaragua in a free presentation at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Goldfarb Library’s Rapaporte Treasure Hall at Brandeis, 415 South St.

Since the Free High School for Adults opened in San Juan del Sur in 2002, according to Gullette, 356 students between 13 and 50 years old have graduated with a diploma certified by the Ministry of Education. In 2006, a technical school was created to offer certificate programs in accounting, tourism management, and civil construction to Free High School graduates.

Last year, Gullette and Bello celebrated the opening of Solidarity House in San Juan del Sur; Gullette says it is only the third shelter for abused women and girls in the country.

According to Gullette, the people of Nicaragua share many of the same challenges faced by the poor worldwide: inadequate sanitation and polluted water contributing to preventable disease, lack of education, high infant mortality rates.

“What we are trying to do is help people transform their lives,’’ said Gullette, noting that students have been known to walk across flooded rivers to reach the Free High School for Adults.

Gullette and Bello met in the early 1990s through their work with the Newton-San Juan del Sur Sister City Project, which continues to serve as the umbrella organization for the Free High School for Adults.

Through the Sister City Project, hundreds of high school and college students from Newton and other volunteers have traveled to Nicaragua to teach English and renovate schools. Similarly, the Nicaraguan students are required to give back by teaching literacy skills to adults in their communities.

“The international volunteer movement is one of the most tremendously thrilling educational and developmental processes that I have been fortunate enough to witness in my lifetime,’’ Gullette said.

To learn more about the Newton-San Juan del Sur Sister City Project and its Free High School for Adults project, go online to

FULBRIGHT FUTURE: Gretchen Garniss of Waltham has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study economic development in Poland. Garniss is one of more than 1,600 Americans who will study abroad this academic year through the US State Department program.

Garniss earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Boston University and a master’s in Central European studies from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.

With experience as a real estate market analyst in affordable and senior housing, Garniss will work to advance independent housing for older residents through the Institute of Economy and Management at Jagiellonian University.

The Fulbright program is designed to increase mutual understanding through international educational exchanges. Grant recipients are selected from more than 155 countries on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Founded in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late US senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the program has provided 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists with the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

SPEAKERS OF NOTE: Lexington Community Education is hosting talks by two educational authorities this week.

Lexington resident Noam Chomsky will celebrate the paperback release of his book “Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order’’ with a talk tomorrow, 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the Lexington High School auditorium. Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a world-renowned scholar and activist who has authored more than 150 titles about power, consumerism, inequity, justice, and US foreign policy.

David DeSteno, director of the Social Emotions Lab at Northeastern University, will discuss the changing forces that shape an individual’s character on Thursday, 7 to 8:30 p.m., in Lexington High’s science lecture hall. A Canton resident, DeSteno is coauthor of “Out of Character: Surprising Truths about the Liar, Cheat, Sinner (and Saint) Lurking in All of Us,’’ an associate professor of psychology at Northeastern, editor of the American Psychological Association’s journal Emotion, and a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

For registration information, call Lexington Community Education at 781-862-8043 or visit its website,

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at

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