Welcome to the original Payson Road website founded in June 2000

Please feel free to browse around but NOTE: You are now walking through a museum. This legacy site is no longer active. Please visit our new HOME

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All About Us 

 



  • Our Mission Expanding awareness and prevention of eating disorders and advancing recovery through the support of creative expression.


What is Payson Road?

  • Payson Road is a global organization providing resources, tools, information, support groups, workshops and creative outlets in support of expanding awareness and prevention of eating disorders and advancing recovery through the art of creative expression.
  • A place where people can be part of a community that encourages them to express their creative voice in a supportive and nourishing atmosphere. Payson Road is dedicated to the individual story.  Although there may be common links, these diseases grip each person individually.  Payson Road understands that each person takes a unique path to recovery and promotes a personalized road map.
  • Seeking to create an innovative and more progressive resource for prevention and awareness of eating disorders, Sarah E. Mason founded the Payson Road Organization in June 2000.  After battling Bulimia for over 20 years, Sarah turned her life around and used her own painful experiences to effectively advocate for eating disorder prevention and awareness.  Sarah is a fierce activist for the cause—flying frequently to Washington D.C. to tell her story before congressional briefings and hearings and fighting for new legislation for eating disorder prevention and awareness.    
  • According to the National Association of Eating Disorders, in the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Approximately 25 million more are struggling with binge eating disorder (Crowther et al., 1992; Fairburn et al., 1993; Gordon, 1990; Hoek, 1995; Shisslak et al., 1995). This statistic is incomplete as it is based solely on those people who are in treatment or therapy. It does not account for the thousands of people who do not have access to treatment or the even larger number who still suffer in silence and shame. This is evident by the over 50,000 hits-per-day Payson Road receives, making it one of the leading resources for Eating Disorders online. 
    Get involved

 

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Our Philosophy

So what do we do:

We find new ways to approach the problem. 

Payson Road takes an innovative and progressive approach to recovery by implementing creative tools such as writing, visual arts, theater arts and unique recovery exercises.  Our mission:

Expanding awareness and education of eating disorders and advancing recovery through support of creative expression

"This mission is very personal to me." States Payson Road Founder, Sarah Mason whose 20 year battle with Bulimia Nervosa inspired her to create Payson Road.  "It was developed out of my passion for creative arts and my frustration with the lack of awareness and resources for eating disorders." 

So what do we think:

Eating Disorders are personal and complex.  

"It's too easy to blame the media.  And frankly it's a cop out--yet another way to avoid really diving into this issue as a problem to take seriously."  Remarks Mason.  

Payson Road's position:

The root of all eating disorders is deeper than low self-esteem and a distorted body image.  These are by products of more complex issues going on beneath the surface. 

 “The eating disorder, Bulimia in my case, became a metaphor for what I was starving for in life"  States Mason.  "Like other addictions such as alcohol or drugs, something is missing and so we try to fill the void with food." Explains Mason.  "The difference for those of us struggling with an eating disorder, as opposed to drugs or alcohol, is that we can't choose to give up food so that we can go on and live a healthy life. We have to negotiate a new relationship with food. Forming this new relationship is a life long challenge."  

This fact, makes eating disorders harder to recover from than any other addiction.   Payson Road is here to help people discover they are not alone in their suffering.  That their story is unique despite common risk factors and they are worth far more than this disease affords.

So how do we implement:

By providing resources, tools, information, support groups, workshops, creative outlets for expression such as writing and other creative art forms.  Payson Road believes creative expression plays a key role in promoting recovery.  By fostering creativity and helping people to discover themselves not through the eyes of their disease but through the things that inspire them, we can help support healthier coping methods, help create goals and develop new patterns for living.

Currently, there is no one cure for eating disorders.  The treatments that are out there simply aren't working.  Payson Road' approach is to reveal each individuals unique story through creative resources.  Helping people to define who they are from their own desires, talents and needs rather than their disease.  "Everyone has a different story even if we share common traits.  Writing has always been my soul's window to the world.  It gives me hope and reminds me that I have so much more to offer than an eating disorder."  States Sarah who believes that focusing on the disease only nurtures the attachment to being a victim. 

Find your center at Payson Road.  We encourage your ideas and feedback and referrals!  Even if you do not suffer from an eating disorder you will be enlightened and engaged by this site. 

You can read Sarah Mason's story at Our Story For more info also check out Our ProgramsNews section and Charitable Donations page.

*** Please note that we are not a treatment center.  We recommend our program in conjunction with therapy.  For treatment referrals visit our Resources page.  

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Programs and Services

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Eating Disorder Resource Programs

  • The Butterfly Fighting Circle (BFC). It's a progressive recovery program drawing from the Chinese Martial Art of shuai-chiao (pronounced swhy jow), a form of Kung Fu.  We are using the Kung Fu concept to help bridge the gap between mind and body by instilling a sense of empowerment physically and mentally - even if it is symbolic.  Like the Kung Fu tradition, to mark the journey, we use different color belts as incentives to move up through the program.  The belts are achieved by accomplishing things from the Happiness List, an exercise from our Recovery Journal

  • Bookstore  has a unique and eclectic collection of recommended books that includes books on the subject of eating disorders and books that we feel are supportive toward promoting recovery and creative expression.

  • Events - Payson Road is dedicated to getting the word out on how serious the problem of eating disorders really is.  One way to spread that word is through events.  In addition to Payson Road's own events, our Event page keeps people informed about Events pertaining to Eating Disorders across the nation. 

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) provides comprehensive information and hard facts about eating disorders. There's also a link to a PDF Flyer that can be printed out and distributed.  It contains comprehensive information about Eating Disorders.  

  • The Mind and Body Program, directed and created by Jennifer Campbell, a Boston area Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, and Yoga instructor, delivers a holistic approach to healing, Yoga and Meditation techniques and other alternative methods of recovery using the mind/body connection.  

  • Our Story is Payson Road Founder, Sarah Mason's personal story about her 18-year battle with Bulimia Nervosa. More information about Sarah Mason  Read her story. 

  • The Recovery Journal  provides proactive exercises for recovery.  Contributed by Payson Road's advisory therapist and Registered Nurse, Susan Ricker, M.F.T. and other members of the Payson Road Council. 

  • Resources offers links, treatment referrals, eating disorder articles with the latest information and treatments, information and resources for professionals, recovery commitments & testimonials.



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Support Groups

  • Payson Road online support group - unlike other support groups, Payson Road's online group is extremely focused on recovery.  Although there are always set backs, each day everyone takes a closer step toward recovery.  

  • Friends and Family Support - Payson Road is dedicated to helping everyone affected by Eating Disorders, this includes family and friends trying to help support their loved ones. We have an interactive support group to help people with this and information on what to do and how to help a  loved one or friend with an eating disorder. 

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Editorial Columns

One of our goals is to help people work toward expressing themselves in a healthier way through our creative corners.  Here's a run down of our editorial columns. 

  • The Truth is dedicated to sharing personal experiences and stories about eating disorders in editorial format.  This column is truly where you can lay it all on the line.  Articles can be submitted anonymously.  It can be viewed as almost a formal journal entry, yet one that can be shared with others who understand.  There's an incredible sense of freedom that comes with stepping into our truth. 
  • the Corner features editorial articles from varied topics, local-national-to world wide. The column's focus is widespread so to give people the opportunity to flex their creative muscles which we believe is an important part of the recovery process.  We encourage people to write about things that inspire them or make them feel--whether it's positive or negative.  That feeling of being alive again helps once re-discovering their sense of self. 
  • The Voice is a monthly editorial column focusing on social, political and cultural issues.  It's an opportunity to express ourselves and use our voices fully.  Persons struggling with eating disorders often get stuck in their own world of their disease, unable to see the world around them.  Writing about issues that affect everyone and being able to think critically about the world at large helps take the focus of being a victim of a disease.  
  • Payson Road Poetry Wall.  This section has been incredibly successful.  Updated quarterly, contributors can submit as many poems as they like.   You don't have to be a poet to write a poem.  You won't believe how expressive poetry can be.  It's a genuine healer. 

Please note: While we do not guarantee that submitted articles will be posted, we accept unsolicited material for review for all of the editorial columns.

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Resources for Professionals

The Professional Referral Network - We believe that a successful treatment program is the result of the combined efforts of  a dedicated team.  We encourage all of our members to seek therapy and we are committed to the professionals affiliated with Payson Road.  

The Eating Disorder Online Action Committee (EDOAC)  is made up of professionals and members of the Eating Disorder Community working together, sharing experiences and knowledge for the common goals; gaining deeper understanding of eating disorders, developing prevention strategies, bringing large scale awareness to the problem.

If you are a professional working with eating disorder patients or working for the cause of eating disorders, take this opportunity to join something truly special.  We're all in this together.


Click to subscribe to the EDOAC

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Developing Programs  

These are programs, that with your help, Payson Road hopes to develop.  

  • Sponsorship Program - People struggling with eating disorders will be paired with someone in recovery.  The person will act as a sponsor.  The sponsors are not therapists or qualified mental health professionals.  They are recovering from eating disorders themselves.  Their goal is to help mentor someone who is still struggling with an eating disorder by sharing their experience, checking in with the person on a regular basis and establishing a system of goals and rewards.  The sponsor will be available to the sponsored via email.   

  • The Buddy System -  For those who want more of a one-on-one exchange, we are developing a Buddy System.  The Buddy System will pair people up with an email buddy that they can contact directly.  The match will be determined by a short questionnaire the participants fill out.  All participants are either recovery or struggling with eating disorders and are not therapists or mental health care professionals. 

  • 24-Hour Support - We are working on creating a  program in which people can log on to a message board and connect to a therapist 24 hours a day. This will be a group chat room that is monitored and authorization to join required.  

  • The ultimate goal would be to develop this program so that people could interact one-on-one with a therapist 24 hours a day.

  • My Journal - Payson Road hopes to add member/user accounts that will include My Journal.  Members will be able to log on and work on their own writing journal that they can save and update.  My Journal encourages people to use writing as a means of expression rather than eating disorders.

  • Scholarship Programs - Payson Road hopes to award scholarships to writers that are recovering from an eating disorder.  The terms of the awards are being developed. 

Make a contribution today and help Payson Road develop more great programs.

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Workshops

The Creative Collective

On March 1, 2001 Payson Road launched the first of it's creative workshops for Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  The Art of Healing workshop, held at Payson Road's Los Angeles location, was an artistic fusion designed to help people struggling with eating disorders utilize creative expression to help them cope with their disease. 

The workshop included a Discussion Group, creative writing exercises, improvisational acting exercises, mind and body work with a Kundalini yoga session.

ASK - Art Speaks for Kids 

Creative Workshops - Inspiring a child's spirit through the art of creative expression.

Fusing their collective talents and backgrounds, Payson Road Founder, Sarah Mason and actress Kerry Remsen, along with a team of theater and film making professionals, will launch ASK in 2004.   


The workshops, designed to help build children's self-esteem by sparking their creative spirit, are not pre-scripted so the children are given the opportunity to fully express themselves beyond their addiction and/or normal teenage insecurities.  "I think every kid needs a cheerleader to help them realize their dreams." says Mason. "We want to show kids how to use their voice so if they lose their cheerleader, they've got themselves."

Details for the program including costs are still being determined.  For more information and/or how you can enroll your child, please contact Sarah Mason 310-364-1660 or email, ask(@paysonroad.com)

read the press release

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How you can
Get involved

Payson Road's Crew

Every member of the Payson Road Crew volunteers their services to Payson Road. We are completely indebted to these exceptional people.

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Executive Directors


Sarah Mason
President and Founder, Payson Road 

Boston native Sarah Mason makes her home in Santa Monica, California where she is a freelance  writer with numerous credits including the award-winning television series a&e Biography.  

Throughout her thirty plus years she has established herself professionally as a dancer, choreographer, writer and businesswoman.  She has written and choreographed  her own plays and published numerous magazine articles.  Currently she is focusing her attentions on writing screenplays and directing and producing her own digital video projects.  She is currently at work on her first novel,  Life in a Toilet, a memoir of her 18 year struggle with Bulimia.

Sarah is involved with several charities but is dedicated to helping teens and young  women who suffer with Bulimia.  She lectures (Lecture Info) in high schools and junior high schools across the country and continues to play an active role in helping teenagers find healthier ways to express who they are.

You can read more about Sarah's own personal struggle with Bulimia on Our Story.  You can also read her personal welcome letter at Editor's Letter and her Full Bio


Alexei Gerulaitis
 - Chairman, Payson Road Board of Directors, Technical and Security Supervisor

Without the love and support of Alexei Gerulaitis, Payson Road would not exist.  His expertise on web design and content has been invaluable.  And his creative input and his unyielding support are crucial to the growth of Payson Road.  As the founding Board Member to Payson Road, we could not exist without him. 

Alexei left Moscow, Russia in 1990 for the United States on a Visa he obtained through his Moscow Break Dancing Troop.  The dance troop never made the trip they were supposed to make across the ocean but Alexei did.  Alexei put his degree from Moscow University in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science to work for him n 1992 when he founded Computervice, now DV411, a successful Digital Video Integration company specializing in high-end systems for non-linear editing as well as professional digital video equipment - cameras and decks etc.

Alexei's knowledge and expertise in this industry are widely known and respected.  A reputation that DV411 is proud to put to use through it's unsurpassed service, products, and support.

Moscow praised Alexei's break dancing talent's awarding him with numerous trophy's including National Break Dancing Champion in 1985 and 1986.

Although DV411 may have him by day, Alexei's still loves to dance. You might even be able to catch him on the Promenade in Santa Monica along with his dance partner Larry Cook  performing their popular break dancing rendition of Enigma's "Sadness".


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Board of Directors


Alexei Gerulaitis, Chair, President, DV411 
Carolyn Aldwin, PhD, Development Psychologist and Professor of  Adult development and aging, 
   and Stress and Coping, University of California Davis
Charlotte Bornstein, RN, President, Charlotte-James Clinic
Jonathan J. Busa, RFC, CMFC, Partner and Founder, Ceres Financial Group
Michael R. Levinson, PhD, Research Social Scientist and Professor, University of California Davis
Susan Ricker, MFT, RN
Sarah Mason, President, Payson Road

 

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The Managing Team


Jodi Beuder
 - Advertising Manager


Jodi is a Los Angeles native, but don't hold that against her. She's one of the most talented writers and copyrighters anywhere. And we're grateful for her witty and gifted contributions. Jodi spent the beginning of her professional career at the American Film Institute where under her direction she increased the membership dramatically. She has since changed directions and has excelled in several companies as a Marketing Director, most recently for a high-tech company in Reno, Nevada where she lives with her husband Chris.  2003 was an extremely exciting year for Jodi.  She gave birth to her first child, Brody and her first novel, Kingdom of Rain

Jodi has been part of the Payson Road team since its inception.  She served as Editor for both the Corner  and The Catch columns for three years and continues to run Payson Road's advertising programs.  In addition to juggling motherhood, a full-time job and Payson Road, Jodi is currently working on writing a children's book with her husband. She recently begun work on her second novel. This very busy, multi-talented woman is a major component to Payson Road's continued success. We are grateful to have her on board! 

Jennifer Campbell
- Director, The Mind and the Body

Jennifer Campbell is a massage therapist, Reiki Master, and Yoga instructor living and working in a seaside town south of Boston.  Having struggled with both anorexia and bulimia, Jennifer has reconnected with her True Self and is now successfully in recovery. She credits alternative therapies and mind/body integration as having played an important part in her healing process.

Knowing she will never be a 9 to 5 kind of girl, Jennifer has learned to embrace her free spirit and has allowed creativity to be a driving force in her life.  Jennifer believes in the innate wisdom people posses within themselves to heal, and she continues to work to help others connect with and access that wisdom.

A firm believer in the mind body connection, Jennifer approaches her life and work with a holistic perspective.  A dancer at heart, she finds peace in the power of movement.  As a writer, Jennifer finds an avenue for self-expression and a new way to connect with people.  
      

As the Director of Payson Road's Mind and Body section, Jennifer Campbell brings an exciting new dimension to the site and Payson Road's progress recovery program.  She also graces the pages with her touching stories.

Cindy Corbellini - Payson Road Council 

Cindy lives in Southwest Florida with her husband Michael and their two Birman cats. Before moving to Florida, she spent many years as a professional legal secretary in some of the most prestigious law firms on the East Coast. Since getting married she has taken a break from the legal field and currently focuses her attention at home. Having just joined the Florida Medical Association Alliance (a organization created for the spouses of doctors) Cindy hopes to create awareness of eating disorders in her county. She feels strongly that there is a niche for ED awareness that might someday include incorporating Payson Road as a tool for recovery in her community. 

Cindy has been with Payson Road since 2000 and served as the on-line group moderator for quite some time. She continues to share her experience of recovery with all who reach out in the on-line group. I don't know what I would do without Cindy. Her dedication, loyalty and commitment to Payson Road is truly amazing. 

Leslie Freeman - Editor, The Truth column, Payson Road Council, Contributing Writer

Leslie Freeman, like many woman, was taught at an early age that her wants and desires were at best "unrealistic" and has worked hard to prove that theory wrong. She started working at 16, in the typical fast food market, and by the time she was 17 became their youngest manager. Her hard work and ambition of helped her excel in several key companies and she recently finished her bachelor's degree in Business Management.  Leslie is currently a production manager for a Olympia Restoration in Northern California.  

Leslie's own struggles with Bulimia led her to Payson Road over three years ago.  She has been a major contributor to all of the support groups and council.  Her considerable talents have been a Godsend to Payson Road.  She was the catalyst for rebuilding and expanding the Poetry Wall, and is a major contributor to the group and the site in general. She incepted and organized the Recovery Chat program.  Her energy, enthusiasm and dedication is beyond compare.  

Mindy Silbergleid
- Payson Road Council

Mindy lives in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, where she is a full-time special education teacher and is currently pursuing her masters in elementary education.  Developing the idea at a young age that her thoughts and feelings didn't matter, Mindy is learning more each day about the importance of listening to her body and sharing her thoughts and emotions with others.  Learning to do so has truly helped facilitate her own recovery process from both anorexia and bulimia.  It had enabled her to begin meeting her own needs instead of engaging in eating disordered behaviors.  Her input and commitment to Payson Road is invaluable. 

Sarah-Louise Stancer  - Editor, Payson Road Poetry Wall, Payson Road Council

Sarah-Lou has been a member of Payson Road for over three years--commuting, (online) from North Yorkshire in the UK. Sarah-Louise has been a coordinator of an out of school kids club, an advanced teaching assistant for children with special needs, physical, emotional and mental. Sarah-Lou currently works as a nursing assistant in an elderly severely mentally ill respite unit and day unit.  Sarah-Lou has been Bulimic for 15 years and in that time has tried many different therapies, but has found the most successful to be writing. As a result she spends most of her spare time writing poetry and studying towards her B.A. in English Literature.  Her award winning, critically acclaimed poetry is featured in the Payson Road Poetry Wall. Sarah-Louise brings her poetry skills and talent to Payson Road as the newest Editor for the Payson Road's Poetry Wall. We are thrilled to have her officially on board!

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Contributing Writers


Carolyn Aldwin, P.h.D. - Development Psychologist and Professor of 
Adult development and aging, and Stress and Coping at  UC Davis
Ed Bishop - Film Editor/Writer
Jonathan Busa, RFC, CMFC - Financial Advisor/Investment Specialist
Janet Campbell - Writer, Banking Associate
Kristen Herbert - Public Relations/Marketing Manager
Michelle Plakas Kaiser - Writer
Nina Smith Lindqvist - Communications Assoc., Erikkson Worldwide
Susan Ricker, M.F.T. - Psychotherapist and Registered Nurse

 

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Website designed and administered by Sarah Mason. Website Logo and  Graphics Designed by Tahara Hasan. Payson Road was created Copyright © June 2, 2000.  All rights reserved. Copyright © 2012 [Payson Road]. 

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