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Dutch Documentary Series: 'Over de Streep' - Season 4


Vinny Ferraro

Vinny Ferraro

Life Experience:

Vinny is from a big Italian family on the East Coast, and at 17 his uncle Gigi taught him how to do drywall. Gigi taught him that the real tough guys get up and go to work. So by day he would put walls up, and by night he would take walls down. Starting in 1987, Vinny began speaking in drug rehabs and prisons, making him realize how much he loved to work with people. He says it is the one thing in his life that makes him feel human.

By the late 80's, he began speaking at schools and conventions as well. In 1993, he started working with street artists, acquiring "legal walls" for kids' graffiti murals. He also started leading men's groups and teaching meditation, which he continues to this day. In 1998, he spent a year sitting bedside with the dying through the Zen Center Hospice Program in San Francisco, as well as experiencing A Year to Live Practice. He has studied with several renowned spiritual teachers, the Dalai Lama among them. He has taught meditation in San Quentin, and continues to teach incarcerated youth with the MBA project. In 2001, Vinny trained to lead Challenge Days, and since then he has become an integral part of the organization and the work of Challenge Day.

If you really knew me, you would know…

  • I felt alone most of my life.
  • When my mom died, when I was 17, I truly found out the meaning of alone.
  • My parents were drug addicts.
  • I chose to escape most of my teenage years with drugs, and transitioning into volunteer work probably saved my life.
  • I was born to do Challenge Days, and everything in my life prepared me for this.
  • Now I get out of bed in the morning with goose bumps, because I get to go to school and see the kids' faces.
  • You would know I often see myself in those faces
  • traveling has become a passion; and after 20 countries, I'm still thirsty to see how other people live.
  • I love music, costumes and performing.
  • I wasted twenty years being cool, and feeling alone, and refuse to waste one more moment.