Awards, Reviews and Testimonials


2008 Gold Editorial Award from Parenting Publications of America for the full-length feature article “Tech Etiquette: Old-Fashioned Manners in a Wired World”:
“An engaging anecdotal lead kicks off this entertaining and useful feature exploring new ways kids communicate and what parents need to know to help them communicate well and safely. This well-written story nicely blends the writer’s personal observations and experiences with research studies about technology use.”

Reviews – Grace Goes to Prison

“This powerful story shows how persistent compassion melts cold hearts and reconciles enemies…. even behind bars. An excellent resource for study and discussion.”
~ Donald B. Kraybill, Co-author Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy

“I had heard of Marie’s work long before I met her: the prison unit that didn’t blow up during riots because of her nonviolence training program for inmates, her courage and compassion in working with people in prison. Now her inspiring story from small-town girl to justice advocate has been told, and told well. It needs to be heard.”
~ Dr. Howard Zehr, Professor of Restorative Justice, Eastern Mennonite University

“One of the men Marie worked with wrote “she was like an ear for the silent screams of men…and a voice for many who had never been heard.” He no doubt spoke for many others who have had the privilege of being involved with Marie’s work. Her generosity of spirit and genuine love for all fellow human beings is a model to which all of us should aspire. The story of her dedication over the past 30 years is extremely compelling and a definite must-read.”
~ Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, Co-Director, Mennonite Central Committee Office on Justice and Peacebuilding

Grace Goes to Prison is a story of relentless compassion. The reader sees the clanging, numbing world of prison life through the eyes of a woman whose determination, resourcefulness, and fearless love won the trust of hardened prisoners and prison administrators alike. This is a story of one who sees each new problem as an opportunity, of a blessed community of volunteers, and of God’s faithful provision.”
~ Bob Gross, Executive Director, On Earth Peace

“This is an inspiring and engaging book. Slow and steady – always clear about her guiding vision – deeply rooted in love and respect for all – always working in partnerships – Marie follows the path that unfolds in front of her. She is a leader without any authority. She influences lives without any structural power. What a lesson about how to make change! Marie created spaces for connection, belonging and meaning for people on both sides of the prison bars. This is the story of an ordinary human being touching the lives of countless others through deep and abiding love. It is a moving story and it is a reminder of the capacity we all have to influence the lives of others.”
~ Kay Pranis, former Restorative Justice Planner for the Minnesota Department of Corrections and co-author of Peacemaking Circles: From Crime to Community

Reviews – Other

  • Review of feature article “C-Section Risks: What Every Woman Needs to Know”:
    “Ms. Snyder’s article is exceptionally well-done. The evidence is accurately reported in a way that readers can understand . . . The best coverage to date on this topic.” – Maureen C., subject matter expert and reader
  • Review of feature article “Every Child is an Artist: An Arts Education Guide for Parents”:
    “Beautifully written. Thank you for the clear and insightful way you encouraged all of us to include the arts in the lives and education of our children. I learned a lot from your article and will undoubtedly quote from it!” –Jeff S, arts director for large urban school district


Testimonials – Speaking/Workshops

“Melanie Snyder is an inspiring speaker. Her research into America’s troubled and troubling criminal justice system left her with a determination to educate the rest of us. She shines a bright light on some very hard truths about the misuse of incarceration and the tremendous waste of human and financial resources. More importantly, she tells stories of people who have found a better way. If our ultimate goal in criminal justice is to make things better, and not worse, we all need to hear these stories. Melanie’s exceptional presentation is perfect for any community that values peace and justice.”
~ Jane Wiggins, Ph.D., Director, The Campus Suicide Prevention Center of Virginia, James Madison University

“Melanie Snyder spoke to three classes at Mary Baldwin College, and the conversation that ensued enabled students to examine what their values were and why. She not only made her case for restorative justice and told the story of Marie Hamilton, she tackled hard questions from students who, quite frankly, believed in retribution. We wrestled with the effect of recommending forgiveness when a woman is living with domestic violence. We struggled to figure out what goes into becoming as effective as Marie Hamilton was, and what it means to be “wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.” Melanie Snyder can be a catalyst for wide-ranging discussion at a deep level. She is honest. She isn’t selling a simple message without thought about the repercussions. She’s real. I can highly recommend her as a speaker and as a fellow human being who is trying to live a life with compassion and dignity and does not think she has all the answers.”
~ Pat Hunt, Chaplain to Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Virginia.

“Melanie Snyder brings to life how valuable restorative justice can be to our society. The dedication and commitment Marie Hamilton exhibited through her work is inspiring. We need to follow her model and change the way we manage our justice system. Melanie is helping to make this a reality.”
~ Marty Thomas-Brummé, Founder of The Rose Mediation Center, Scranton, PA

“Melanie Snyder brings her passion, compassion and a true depth of knowledge to the topic of our prison system and the issues associated with incarceration. She spoke with a clarity that obviously touched the entire audience, which by the way, contained both liberal Democrats and tough-on-crime Republicans. Her message is a pragmatic one: we have to do something differently; what we’re doing is not only not working, it is making things worse. She was inspiring and I hope she continues to write, speak and be an advocate for the change that is so clearly needed.”
~ Wendy Roberman, Albemarle County Government Office, Charlottesville, VA

“Melanie Snyder has spoken for several colleagues’ classes at Mary Baldwin College. She is able and willing to weave in any approach most helpful for a course. She spares nothing in terms of preparation and communication and makes it easy to get her into a classroom or lecture hall. Though she can speak with large groups or small, she creates an intimacy with stories of those she’s interviewed. Melanie does not lecture, rather, she tells stories and pulls you in. Once riveting her audience, she wraps up by stating facts from the Pew Center’s research to put the stories in context. Writing the book and touring the country to speak about it is a gift of love. She’ll never financially be adequately compensated for her work and travel. It’s all about her passion for creating awareness and dialogue about the state of our national criminal justice system. If you want to challenge and engage your students, your book club, or your civic or church group, call Melanie!”
~ Marion Anne Ward, Director of the Adult Degree Program, Mary Baldwin College, Staunton VA

Testimonials – Freelance Services

“It’s unusual for us to work with writers who are not in our immediate geographical area ( New York City); we find that local writers know our market best, and that it makes more sense logistically. Melanie Snyder is our exception! She takes an assignment and runs with it. The result is always a well-written, well-researched piece that we are able to use as our lead article. Some writers need their hands held; Melanie takes the assignment, does a great job (always on time), giving us four different versions for our four different publications, each containing great local quotes. Melanie is a real pro.” – Helen Freedman, Executive Editor, Big Apple Parent / Brooklyn Parent / Queens Parent / Westchester Parent

“It is great when someone listens to the directions for a project but even greater when they go beyond what was requested, as Melanie did for Business Outsourcing Solutions. She brought creativity to our projects that took us further than our own expectations. Working with Melanie was my first experience in working with a really good creative person where everything came in not only on schedule but before scheduled completion dates. I highly recommend her to anyone who wants the talents of creativity, business acumen, and plain old clear thinking all rolled into one. I welcome any calls or questions about her work.” – Fredrick S. Weil, President and CEO, Business Outsourcing Solutions

“There’s a lot to be said about a writer who puts in the extra time to write copy that’s informative and enjoyable to read. Melanie does just that, and she does so under crazy deadlines while employing a great sense of humor.” – Susan Fitzgerald, Editor, Celebrating Special Children

“Melanie is terrific to work with as a feature writer . . . never misses a deadline, turns in very clean copy and well-researched stories.” – Jennifer Bryerton, Managing Editor/Publisher, AlbemarleFamily

“Melanie Snyder has been engaged by our firm on a number of projects. In each she has been highly professional, helpful and efficient. She has worked on projects ranging from messaging to sales presentations. We recommend her services completely.” – Ross Federgreen, Founder, CSRSI and CCAS

“Melanie created our organization’s newsletter and edited it for two years. She gathered relevant information from statewide business and technology resources and organized it in an extremely easy to read twice monthly publication. Her outstanding talent as a writer made for high quality content.” – Gail M., executive director, technology organization

“Melanie Snyder has been a terrific writer for our campaigns. Her ability to find unique and trusted sources has made our written materials credible and respected. Our PR campaigns have been much more powerful thanks to her strategic thinking behind her terrific writing.” – Suzanne E. Henry, President, Four Leaf Public Relations LLC

“Her writing goes beyond informing and describing. She draws the reader in so that a place or a person is tangible, multidimensional, and engaging to the reader. She has the ability to convey history, technical detail, and human touch in just the right balance.” – Elizabeth C., reader