Get to know Melissa Turgeon

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Tell us more about your “day job”.

I’m the Facing Cancer Together, Program Director at Angel Foundation. Angel Foundation is a local Twin Cities non-profit that has two programs, one that provides Emergency Assistance to adults in active cancer treatment. I’m the Director of the Facing Cancer Together program that provides expertise to help adults with children who have cancer, parent through cancer. Our programs focus on the family to help increase communication and coping tools. Additionally, help provide age-appropriate and honest information to children at every potential stage of cancer. We have year-round, free, programs that include a camp, teen outreach, and family programming.

What do you do in addition to your work at CATC?

I’ve been flexing my leadership muscles and attended the Women’s Leadership Conference last spring at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management. It was a great opportunity to challenge my therapy sensibilities and integrate women-inspired inspiration and develop harmony in my career. I also thrive learning and experiencing more about integrative and creative arts therapies, to cultivate ways to continue to help those living with chronic illness. I am traveling to New York next month for the Expressive Arts Summit and get back to my Pratt Institute Art Therapy roots. I’m thrilled to be participating in collaborative workshops from multidisciplinary professionals. I’m also a big nerd for voracious reading about herbs and essentials oils and anything I can eat medicinally to improve health. I use witch hazel and tea tree oil for everything!

Who’s your favorite artist (visual/musician/performance…)?

Prince. It will forever and always be Prince. I saw Prince many times at Paisley Park in the 1995-1996, “Love For One Another” performances and his genius will never outshine anyone else for me.

What do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

I really love to dance. If I need to perk up, I likely will put on a really loud dance song and jump around to fully get myself out of my brain. I overthink things sometimes and movement really helps me shift everything over and refreshes my creative flow.

What are your other hobbies/passions?

I enjoy gardening, traveling, going to the movies, and snowboarding. But, my favorite activities always include my husband and my daughter.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

I had kale with a fried egg.

What made you decide to become an art therapist?

Being an only child, it always felt so isolating, so I turned to art to learn how to express myself and explore a variety of modalities. I loved being messy and going against the rules. I always was inspired by the process of art versus the polished look or message of a final art product. When I learned of Art Therapy at the library, before the dawn of the internet, it immediately captured my attention to learn more. I was fascinated that Art Therapy could give meaning to those who couldn’t express themselves with words. I was immediately hooked.

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