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SIS Co-Facilitators


Christine Ristaino 

“Sisters Room”
90-minute Empowerment Playshops
Applying InterPlay to explore topics of empowerment, speaking out, and domestic violence.

Christine Ristaino is an author, human rights advocate, and educator. A Senior Lecturer at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, she teaches Italian classes to undergraduates. Christine first attended InterPlay in 2015 and now attends Sustaining International Sisters (SIS) when her busy schedule permits. As a child of Italian descent, Christine spenta a lot of time sitting on her grandmother’s lap surrounded by women who were sharing stories, recipes, and deep and powerful truths. As a result, Christine feels particularly at home amongst the courageous, empowered women of SIS as they confide stories and experiences around their shared humanity as women. Particularly important to Christine, SIS allows this survivor of violence to practice the connectedness of body, heart, and mind. Christine looks forward to offering three empowerment workshops for SIS in collaboration with Certified InterPlay Leader Ruth Schowalter. 

Christine serves on various boards and committees and participates in efforts around social justice, race, class, education reform, and violence prevention. She is an award-winning advisor and teacher and has experience organizing powerful symposiums, seminars, conferences and events. She leads workshops on the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion, privilege, writing and talking about difficult topics, and creating a public voice. She is currently teaching a course about Italian memoir where her students share powerful memoir pieces about identity and overcoming obstacles. 

Christine published an award-winning memoir titled All the Silent Spaces, which was released in July of 2019 and confronts the topics of violence, identity, and discrimination. She also writes and contributes to academic publications, as well as articles, essays, OpEds, and non-fiction, and presents her work in various forums throughout the U.S. and abroad.  She was a Fellow in The OpEd Project Public Voices Fellowship at Emory University and has published articles in the Guardian, Pacific Standard, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on child advocacy, coping with violence, and topics around diversity. She has also been interviewed on various forums throughout the US about her memoir. 

Christine lives in Atlanta with her two children and husband.

Janina - headshot.jpg

Janina Graves

Monthly Bilingual InterPlay for Spanish Speakers
Meeting the needs of women in Panama, Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries who need InterPlay facilitation in Spanish but also want to learn English. This will support bilingual facilitation, leader stipends as well as InterPlay materials translated into Spanish.

¡Hola a todas las SISters - y una bienvenida a nuestras hermanas nuevecitas! ¡Me alegro muchísimo de conocerlas! Yo soy una líder certificada de InterPlay pero como muchas de Uds., vivo en un lugar (Oklahoma, USA) donde no hay InterPlay - entonces, empecé a participar en Global SIS online. ¡Qué lindo darme cuenta que hay hermanas de SIS en Latinoamérica! Ruth y Canan me invitaron a interpretar y traducir para intentar de profundizar las experiencias de las SISters en las formas de InterPlay. Sabemos que para muchas de Uds. una meta importante es mejorar su inglés, entonces bailaremos con los dos - jugamos en InterPlay y mejoramos en inglés (y yo en español). Como Uds., aprendí - y sigo aprendiendo - mi segundo idioma por la paciencia de los hablantes nativos y las amistades de gente por toda Latinoamérica y España. Por su generosidad, me ha dado la oportunidad de viajar a México, Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia, España y otros países. Entonces tengo mucho cariño y gratitud por su tierra y gente y es un placer servirles en esta forma. Entonces cualquier duda me avisan por favor e intentaré explicar y ayudar. ¡Nos alegramos de conocerlas e invitarlas a la SIS!  

Janina grew up in the plains of Oklahoma but has also been shaped deeply by the land and people of many countries. She comes from a lineage of land, community and faith-oriented workers in the United States and Philippines. She now lives amongst the hills and trees of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Spanish Language & Literature and also studied at la Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, México. Her professional life has included young adult and community outreach in higher education settings, literacy and urban youth development, spiritual companionship and contemplative retreat ministry. She has certifications and training in InterPlay, spiritual direction, yoga, mindfulness and other expressive arts, as well as teaching English to speakers of other languages. She’s grateful to Ruth and Canan for trusting her with this opportunity and better preparing her to also bring InterPlay to Oklahoma’s English and Spanish-speaking communities.


To utilize an InterPlay babbling form, she might say…


I could talk about…

the chai I make each morning… learning the different birdsongs outside my window… blushing when I realize my prometido Moisés is looking at me… falling in love with un abuelito while dancing tango years ago… how I prefer one-to-one conversations to big groups… the books that have changed my life… (deep sigh) finding a poem that says exactly how I feel… how InterPlay helped me make big life decisions… wanting to discover more grace and ease…  the deep gratitude I feel for SIS now and during the pandemic.

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