Paper Thoughts works to create a culture of communication where children learn their voice and feelings matter. By providing journals and sketchbooks to schools and other youth serving organizations we give children the tools to find their voice. We work to develop a network of caring adults that can effectively assist children in responding constructively to struggles, managing emotions that might otherwise boil over; and developing skills to express themselves; ensuring a brighter future for all.
We at Paper Thoughts believe that:
- Every child needs the opportunity to express themselves and should have the choice in how to do so.
- Emotional literacy and self expression are key to mental wellness.
- Adults must work together to create a culture where kids are free to express themselves
- Writing and art are healing
Who we are
Jen Ostrow, LMSW – Paper Thoughts Founder
I grew up in a family where volunteering and helping others was a big part of what we did together. In high school I volunteered with the Relay for Life through the American Cancer Society. I loved donating my time to great causes, but found that I wanted to make a bigger impact so I challenged myself by starting to run my own charity work.
I coordinated an “Inch-a-Thon” to benefit Locks of Love and was able to get 36 people to donate their hair to help children suffering from various conditions that cause hair loss. Then I coordinated a blanket drive, organizing my friends, raising money, and making blankets for kids whose parents were deployed overseas. Upon entering college at SUNY Purchase, I was elected the Community Service Chair for the National Society of Leadership and Success, and I coordinated various efforts on campus.
It was only natural for me to continue on to graduate school and pursue a career where I could make a lifestyle out of helping others. I graduated with a Master of Social Work from NYU in 2015 and began working as a therapist in a satellite clinic located in a middle school. I loved my job, but my true passion lied with the concept of supporting those deep inner emotions that often get overlooked in modern society. Instead of helping kids feel confident after losing their hair, or helping kids feel cozy when they missed someone they loved, social work exposed me to the need kids have for an emotional outlet, a place to put all the things racing around in their minds and in their hearts.
After a life changing conversation with a student (you can read the details of our conversation on our blog), I started the Paper Thoughts Program, providing quality journals to children I was working with as a therapist, and have now branched out to support anyone in need of an outlet, who may not be able to afford a quality journal of their own.