Marena Blanchard is a writer for The Forecaster, a weekly newspaper in Maine.
Raised in San Clemente, Cal., as Marena grew up she was always close enough to the beach to hear crashing waves and barking seals on a distant rock. She was born Oct. 1, 1984, to a Jamaican immigrant and an American woman of French, Greek, and German descent.
Several childhood pictures feature Marena with a book somewhere within reach or exploring natural spaces on an epic adventure. She soon found a passion for the stage and attended South Orange County School of the Arts, a performing arts academy.
Moving to New York at the age of 17, she graduated from SUNY Rockland Community College with an associate's in liberal arts and a paralegal certificate. While at RCC, she started a gay-straight alliance with her best friend and served on the college's Board of Trustees as the student representative.
After transferring to CUNY Hunter College, she became president of Amnesty International and Model United Nations while studying political science and religion, with a focus on the Middle East. Marena also worked with a group of students to form Agents of Change, which organized college students to provide direction action in their comunities throughout New York City.
She was brought to Portland, Maine by AmeriCorps VISTA, a federal program designed to fight poverty whereby a volunteer is placed in a non-profit for one year. She served with Hour Exchange Portland and was first exposed to the genius of time banking and the cooperatively-owned business model.
Marena became a mother in 2010. Having met before in dreams, it was quickly confirmed that little Imani really did have eyes that shine as brightly as stars and a personality bubbling over with joy.
She volunteers with the NAACP Portland branch through the organization's King Fellows program, and helps to educate and train students 7-12 in civics through the priniciples espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Her hobbies include modelling, maintaining her website, and obsessively watching the news.
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