Conference MC


Tommy E. Brewer, II General Manager
LA-North West Covina Region of THINK Together
Conference Emcee

Tommy E. Brewer, II is General Manager for the LA-North West Covina Region of THINK Together, an education company committed to improving academic outcomes for children and youth in under-resourced communities in California. He is a distinguished leader in the Expanded Learning field, having participated in a number of initiatives throughout the state. He’s a native of Washington, D.C. and a graduate of Morehouse College.

Plenary Presenters

Karen Pittman, Co-Founder, President and CEO
Forum For Youth Investment

Karen has made a career of starting organizations and initiatives that promote youth development – including the Forum for Youth Investment (FYI), which she co-founded in 1998. The Forum works with state and local leaders and leadership groups to fundamentally change the way they do business for young people. Prior to co-founding Forum FYI, Ms. Pittman worked on behalf of several organizations including the Children’s Defense Fund. In 1995 Karen joined the Clinton administration as director of the President’s Crime Prevention Council. Karen has written three books and dozens of articles on youth issues, serves on a number of Board of Directors, and has received a number of awards for her work. Karen will provide a provocative overview of equity, expanded learning, and the opportunity gap.

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Jorge Ruiz de Velasco, Associate Director
John Gardner Center at Stanford

Jorge Ruiz de Velasco joined the Gardner Center as Associate Director in 2013. Jorge comes to Stanford from Berkeley Law, where he was Director of the Warren Institute’s Program on Education Law and Policy. The focus of his work is on the study and promotion of change in public schools, the implications of education reform for disadvantaged students, education law and policy, and the effect of immigration on schools and communities. Jorge and Marisa (see bio below) will discuss an edited volume of chapters by leading scholars to be published by the Harvard Education Press in the Fall of 2017. The book and its authors explore innovative school-community partnerships that demonstrate how time can be expanded and reorganized to provide better learning opportunities serving the nation’s most vulnerable young people.

Carol M. Tang, Ph.D., Executive Director
Children’s Creativity Museum

Carol M. Tang, Ph.D. is the Executive Director at the Children’s Creativity Museum (SF) and former Director of the Coalition for Science After School. She is experienced in non-profit management, strategic planning, envisioning, meeting facilitation, team building, fundraising and public speaking. She also has extensive experience in teaching, organizing, and leading science education efforts including out-of-school programming, exhibitions, teacher professional development, public programs, volunteer management and higher education. Play is Not a Childhood Luxury: Research is clear that children learn through play. Intentionally-designed settings and activities that encourage open-ended, creative, and collaborative play can help all children achieve better outcomes through life. In this talk, we will explore what play is and how out-of-school time organizations can re-define our vision of a healthy childhood.

Marisa Saunders
Annenberg Institute for School Reform’s (AISR) Research & Policy

Marisa Saunders is a member of Annenberg Institute for School Reform’s (AISR) Research & Policy team and has been involved in the development of a multi-level indicator system for the Time for Equity initiative. Her primary areas of research focus on students’ access to college and career preparation, secondary to postsecondary transitions, and the postsecondary trajectories of underrepresented youth. Prior to joining AISR, Marisa was a senior research associate at UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access (IDEA).

Small Group Session Leaders

Carol M. Tang, Ph.D., Executive Director
Children’s Creativity Museum

See bio above. What makes STEM programs truly engaging, inspiring, and enriching for girls? Hear about the latest research, and get tips on best practices and free resources for effective girl-friendly programming.

Lara Kain, Senior Director
Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP)

Lara Kain joined LAEP as senior director of Transform Schools in 2013. Prior to LAEP, she worked for four years at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, providing expert leadership and technical support for low-achieving schools and districts, including Title I and School Improvement Grants. She also worked as a teacher and administrator of small public high schools with values and practices that are similar to those of LAEP’s Humanitas and community schools. This small group session will focus on trauma informed program settings and staff, which definitely begins with building an understanding of how trauma impacts learning and behavior. We also then spend time with the ‘how’, what it looks like in youth programs, how staff can change their practice and responses to youth. Lastly we focus on the self care of those adults serving youth, how do we build a program culture that takes care of the adults and prevents burnout and vicarious trauma. Stacey Daraio (bio below) will join Lara and describe how mindfulness in afterschool is an effective strategy for self-care and stress reduction.

Stacey Daraio, Co-Director
Temescal Associates

Stacey Daraio brings 25 years of experience working in the field of youth development as a facilitator, trainer, and coach. She has experience working with diverse groups, from afterschool practitioners and parents to funders and technical assistance providers. Stacey has conducted numerous trainings and learning communities. Prior to her work with Temescal Associates, Stacey was the Deputy Director at the Community Network for Youth Development and a consultant for the Institute for Research and Reform in Education.

Jamie Julian, MSW, Social Worker and Intake Coordinator
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Center for TransYouth Health and Development

Jamie works closely with transgender youth, young adults, and families to access services at CHLA, maintain family continuity, manage crisis/safety concerns, and connect with resources within their community. Jamie works on a multidisciplinary team to ensure that all patients are supported and affirmed in their gender identity. She currently serves on the LGBTQI2-S UsCC subcommittee in partnership with DMH and the diversity council within CHLA.

See the presentation material here

Lou Bigelow, Clinical Research Coordinator
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Center for TransYouth Health and Development

Lou coordinates multiple research studies to evaluate the medical care for transgender youth and learn about how it can be improved. He also worked on mental health research in Chicago with LGBTQ youth for five years and has been working with diverse groups of youth since 2003. Lou is also a yoga/meditation instructor, specializing in trans and queer yoga classes for youth and adults. Jamie (bio above) and Lou will discuss the needs of LGBTQ youth and strategies that afterschool programs can use to support these youth and lessen the bias of all youth and adult staff.

Heather Loewecke, Senior Program Manager, Afterschool and Youth Leadership Initiatives
Asia Society

Heather joined Asia Society in 2012. She began her career as an English teacher at a high school in New York City where she implemented interdisciplinary curricula utilizing a workshop format for developing students’ literacy skills. Then she managed capacity building projects and coached educators in various topics such as conflict resolution, lesson planning, social-emotional learning, behavior management, among others. Heather was a member of the Children’s Studies faculty at Brooklyn College and taught an undergraduate course called Perspectives on Childhood. Increasing Equity through Global Competence. Global competence – knowledge of the world, cross-cultural collaboration and communication, and values of respect and understanding – is required for our changing demographics and global economy. Educating for global competence addresses both the achievement and opportunity gaps by ensuring that all youth are prepared to succeed in a global 21st century. Participants will learn about a framework for developing global competence and explore how to apply it to their own work through an equity lens.

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Dr. Michelle R. Perrenoud, Project Coordinator
Los Angeles County Office of Education
Expanded Learning Technical Assistance Unit

Dr. Michelle R. Perrenoud is recognized as an educational leader and is particularly renowned for her work in the fields of expanded learning, education and youth development. She has extensive experience with research and program design for older youth programs serving middle and high school students. Her scholarly research at UCLA focused on understanding interests of middle school youth in expanded learning programs and youth and practitioner perceptions of the conditions that foster young people’s desires to attend and participate. Michelle is a published author and frequent conference speaker. Dr. Perrenoud will lead this small group session as a discussion group for those who have reviewed Paul Tough’s article in the Atlantic magazine, How Kids Learn Resilience. We will send this article in advance to those who select this small group session. One session participant will receive a signed copy of Paul Tough’s new book, Helping Children Succeed.

Candace Meehan, Executive Director
23 Seeds of Greatness

Candace Meehan is a Pioneer in the field of High School After School Programs in California. Before coming to Jordan, she spent several years in the field creating programs and services for Teen Mothers. She is considered an expert in program development, staff development, and youth development. Candace also serves as the Foster Youth Coordinator at Long Beach City College and has been instrumental in creating a successful Guardian Scholars Foster Youth Program and serves as the Liaison on the Foster Youth Success Initiative Board for community colleges.

23 Seeds of Greatness seeks to provide programs that enrich student development through Youth Development strategies, Youth Empowerment, Character Education, Counseling Services, Community Service Opportunities, Mentoring, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities, Leadership Development, and College & Career Readiness activities.

See the presentation material here