Alivia believes everyone has the power to make a positive impact in the lives of others and within the communities we live.
She is drawn to stories that connect us, heal us, empower us and help foster dialogue and compassion.
After visiting Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2003, and soon later meeting a Vietnam Veteran who wanted to share his story to help others, Alivia began research on her debut novel, Beyond the Wall: The Journey Home, a work of historical fiction that depicts life after combat for two Marines a generation apart and the healing of wounds seen and unseen.
For Dennis Michaels, a Vietnam combat veteran waging an invisible forty-year battle with survivor’s guilt and PTSD, life changes when he mentors an Iraq War veteran undergoing rehabilitation at Walter Reed Medical Center for loss of limb. Building a bond, this warrior of old and warrior of today share glimpses into a world seldom discussed as they transform pain into healing, and honor their Marine code of conduct: Never leave anyone behind.
Described as “a moving novel” by Vietnam Veterans of America Magazine, “powerful and poignant” by Midwest Book Review, and “at it’s best in conveying survivor’s guilt” by a professor of psychology at Brown University, the novel has received recognition from the veteran, military and mental health communities.
Impassioned to better understand post-combat issues, Alivia subsequently directed and produced a short documentary, her first, Beyond the Wall: Homeless Zone to explore factors that lead to homelessness among veterans. The film premiered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the 2010 GI Film Festival.
From 2011-2012, she directed Profiles in Service: It Takes A Nation, produced with Code of Support Foundation, to share the stories of Americans who embody the word ‘service’ and highlight the sacrifices our service members and their families make every day.
Over a period of three years, she co-penned a stage adaptation of her novel, Beyond The Wall, with Marine OIF/OEF combat veterans Alexandre Buffington and Jack Eubanks, a member of the Posse Veterans Program. The play has been workshopped at George Washington University, Vassar College and was featured as a reading at Vassar’s 2013 Modfest at the Streep Studio.
Alivia is currently writing, producing and directing Power of One: Preventing Suicide in America, a feature length doc and essay project, to learn and share inspirational stories about people, programs and best practices at the forefront of preventing suicide. Power of One is not just a project; it’s a philosophy and a platform. She envisions expanding the project into a series dedicated to difference.
Follow Alivia on Twitter @AliviaTag