Since February, I’ve been working as the managing editor at American Journal and Lakes Region Weekly papers and editor at Maine Women Magazine and My Generation. These newspapers and magazines take a local approach to news and features. I’ve been grateful to work with a group of dedicated and kind journalists and editors.

Since the shootings at Parkland, the reporters have been researching and writing for student mental health series that I proposed. My hope in instigating the series was that readers would be able to use the information from the reporting to advocate for their needs and beliefs at their local school boards and in our state capitol. When we have good and balanced reporting, communities are informed to speak up for their priorities. Isn’t that really what all news is about?

That three-part series, “Under Pressure,” started publishing last week and I’m eager for people to read the amazing reporting. Please follow the links.  I’ll edit this to add Part 3 next week.

Part 1:

Under pressure: Mental health needs challenge southern Maine schools

Part 2:


Under pressure: Topsham school counselor has seen the profession evolve


Under pressure: Yarmouth team responds to variety of student needs


Under pressure: As South Portland schools become more diverse, so do needs


Under pressure: Mental, emotional support for Portland students largely ‘crisis driven’

American Journal/Lakes Region Weekly

Gorham High takes team approach to mental health



Finding Joy after Sandy Hook Shooting

The massacre at Sandy Hook  Elementary has become yet another where-were-you-when moment in my lifetime. I will always know that I was in the Jai Yoga Studio making a new commitment to take care of myself a little better, and to find and follow the light of joy within me.

News of the shooting extinguished any joy I may have found during that yoga class, and like many writers, I turned to words to ease my pain of the senseless violence. (It’s raw, I know, but so are the feelings. Please don’t give feedback on the poem.)

Anna J. Boll 12/14/12

the sun is too bright.
A smile,
a giggle,
strains of joyful music,
seem to betray allegiance
to the parents at Sandy Hook.

20 children dead
10 days before Christmas
Their gifts wrapped
Never to be opened
What right have I to cry?

Cry for the country
cry for the world
tears of shame and anger

bullets fly
hope lost
dreams cut short
And again
love turns to grief

I slip into scalding water
Numb to the pain.

My son slept in my bed that night and I’m not sure who was more comforted.

Since Friday, I have been moving on, caring for my children, preparing for the holidays, writing and attending yoga. The meditation and breathing has helped me remember that one of the most powerful things we can do is to bring our own goodness to the world. To be kind, respectful, and understanding. To care for others. To nourish ourselves so we can bring our best to the world. To honor the light in ourselves and others.

This weekend I gave a woman at the post office the .31 cents she needed, I opened the door for an older man, I lifted the front of a stroller for a young mother. I wrote a thank you letter, I called a relative. These and many other small good deeds add up.

“How far that little candle throws his beams, so shines a good deed in a weary world,” William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice.

5 Ways You Can Help Sandy Hook Shooting Victims.

Friends at VCFA are gathering books on grief into lists for the librarians at Sandy Hook. There are some here. SCBWI-NE is making a donation for nonfiction books.

What are you doing to heal?