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Thu, Jun 20


The Giving Tree Wellness Center

Coffee & Conversation: The Hugging Army

Sit with us as we talk about The Hugging Army: An Experience in Connection. Learn how hugging is a form of meditative practice, the healing benefits of hugs, and the value of human connection. The conversation will be lead by local author & founder of the Hugging Army, Vanessa Leigh White Fernandes.

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Coffee & Conversation: The Hugging Army
Coffee & Conversation: The Hugging Army

Time & Location

Jun 20, 2019, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

The Giving Tree Wellness Center, 311 Penn Ave, Scranton, PA 18503, USA


About the event

Registration is free. Click the registration button to sign-up.


The Hugging Army: An Experience in Connection is an interactive program where Vanessa teaches her audiences about the lack of human connection in contemporary society. And, how it impacts our personal and social lives. Through storytelling and photographs, she expresses the positive impact that hugging strangers has had on her life. You will learn what a mindful hug is; the healing benefits of mindful hugging; and how to reconnect with others in your own unique and powerful way. Vanessa ends the program guiding you in the practice of mindful hugging.

How did The Hugging Army get started? One day, as an experiment, Vanessa set out in the streets of her city, with one blindfold, a free hugs sign, and open arms, only to have an experience of connection with strangers that she had never felt before. With one simple gesture of a hug, she has set out to educate, inspire, connect, and hug as many people as possible. Whether on the street, auditorium, church, or community center, she spreads her love in the world one hug at a time.


Vanessa Leigh White Fernandes has worked in the mental health field for the last 35 years. In that time, she has offered support and assistance to many different groupings of people. However, it wasn't until she stopped seeing others as broken, and she needing to fix them, that she started to see each person as a human being, just like herself. This began her on a journey of self discovery that has helped her to feel confident, and live her happiest, most peaceful life. She is founder of The Hugging Army, and one of her favorite ways to spend time is to offer free hugs in her local community of Scranton, and beyond, and writes about her experiences. She is author of the book, The Hugging Army: An Experience in Connection. She lives in Scranton with her wife and three kitties.

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