Pages Books & Coffee in downtown Newton is hosting an author event for Nancy Jensen and her newly released book, "The Girl Who Cried 'Wolf!'" The signing is at 7 p.m. July 25.
"The Girl Who Cried 'Wolf!'" was written by Nancy Jensen and Nathan P. Swink, Ph.D. It is the heroic story of Nancy Jensen’s journey through mental illness to recovery.
Raised in small-town Colorado, Jensen learned early on to depend on church support. A challenging family life combined with further challenges in school left her searching for God and family elsewhere. Her search led her to Newton, where she found a home first in a communal church before spending just over a year at Kaufman House. Kaufman House was supposed to be a progressive place for the mentally ill. It was not. When she tried to blow the whistle, she found no one believed her. She was the girl who cried “Wolf!”
Almost 20 years later, Arlan and Linda Kaufman were taken to trial. With the help of Jensen’s testimony, the federal government found both guilty. Since then, Jensen has worked to pass a law preventing such oversight in the future, received the prestigious Voice Award, and is currently a member of the Sedgwick County Mental Health Advisory Board. After a lifetime of mental illness, she has taken control of her treatment, including eliminating medications and dropping off government support in order to work full-time.
"We wanted Nancy’s story to be told," Swink said. "... We thought people might be interested because the Kaufman trial was such big news in this region. Also we wanted to share an uplifting — if heart-wrenching — story of hope."
Jensen now lives in Wichita with her husband Jeff and cat Moses. She works at the Center for Community Support and Research in service of people who live with mental illness.
Swink lives in Wichita with his two cats Ramapo and Pooka. He works as a substitute teacher in elementary schools and as an instructor of psychology and sociology courses at the college level. He has been a marine, a peace activist, a teacher, and, most recently, earned a Ph.D. in community psychology. He has been writing poetry for more than two decades and reading it publicly for 15 years or more.