NYSPEP'S mission is to promote and improve parenting education, in order to enhance parenting skills, knowledge and behavior.


NYSPEP eNews is free to members. This valuable resource informs of upcoming professional development opportunities such as conferences, workshops, trainings, and community events, as well as essential resources and tools for your work with parents, primary caregivers, and families with children.

Please CLICK HERE to subscribe and receive the NYSPEP eNews in your email inbox the moment each edition is published. 

NYSPEP eNews - Archives

NYSPEP E-News, September 2019

NYSPEP E-News, August 2019

NYSPEP E-News, July 2019

NYSPEP E-News, June 2019


NYSPEP E-News, April 2019
NYSPEP E-News, March 2019

NYSPEP E-News, February 2019

NYSPEP E-News, January 2019

NYSPEP E-News, December 2018

NYSPEP E-News, November 2018

NYSPEP E-News, October 2018


NYSPEP E-News, September 2019

NYSPEP Webinar Series Launches on September 25th

Missed our Summer Institute day back in June? No worries, NYSPEP is excited to announce that our 2019-2020 webinar series will continue the conversation held during our Summer Institute. Join us on September 25th, 2019 with fathering specialist, Don Campbell, for Part One of the webinar series. Don will be presenting, “What Divides Us: The Foundations of Implicit Bias and Its Impact on Parenting. 

Through this webinar, participants will gain a foundational understanding of implicit bias and the ways in which we have come to understand its impact on communities and, more specifically, on raising children.

· Explicit versus implicit bias
· The toxicity of micro aggressions
· Implicit bias in the instructional environment
· Limiting the damage
· Bias and fathering

Don Campbell’s background includes a diversified and extensive base of prior experiences in learning and development and social services, including roles with The New York Public Library, the Literacy Assistance Center of New York City, the City University of New York, State University of New York, the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow and WESTMED Practice Partners. Don is a fathering specialist at Forestdale’s Strong Fathers, a program based in Forest Hills, NY that supports fathers aspiring to engage more deeply and provide more meaningfully for their children by helping them grow their parenting skills, emotional intelligence and behavior management skills.

Follow this link to register.

Books Build Connection Toolkit from the American Academy of Pediatrics

As we gear up for the start of the school year and busy autumn schedules, the NYSPEP Website has a terrific resource for parents and caregivers.  The Books Build Connections toolkit from the American Academy of Pediatrics gives families practical ideas for staying connected, finding some quiet time and strengthening literacy skills.

This toolkit features a variety of resources for families to explore and expand their understanding of early literacy. A variety of resources are available. https://littoolkit.aap.org/forfamilies/Pages/home.aspx

For more great family and community resources, follow this link.

Resources on the Impact of Racism from NYSPEP Summer Institute

The 2019 NYSPEP Annual Member Meeting focused on Building Supportive Relationships While Working Respectfully with Families and included discussion of how implicit bias plays a role in all our lives. A list of resources that were shared throughout the day can be found here. Parenting Educators may also be interested in the new recommendations released by the American Academy of Pediatrics on ways to lessen the impact of racism and teens in its policy statement, The Impact of Racism on Child and Adolescent Health.

NYSPEP E-News, August 2019

NPEN Announces Wales Brown Memorial Scholarship

The National Parenting Education Network (NPEN) is pleased to announce the Wales Brown Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded to one parenting educator covering the fee for the 2019 Zero to Three Conference, October 2-4 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

This is an excellent opportunity for professional development and networking for a frontline parenting educator. The scholarship will cover the full Zero to Three Conference fee with an additional $100 stipend to offset travel and hotel costs. (Any remaining travel and lodging expenses must be covered by the scholarship recipient.)   

More information about Wales Brown and the scholarship can be found here.

The application can be found here.  The application deadline is August 12th and the scholarship will be awarded on September 1st.  

New Webinar Series: Trauma-Informed Care: Understanding and Addressing the Needs of Unaccompanied Children (Available in English and Spanish)

Led by the Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center in Boston and in collaboration with the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, the NCTSN presents this webinar series designed to cover the impact of trauma on children during their migration journey. Nationally recognized speakers from NCTSN are joined by experts from the Irving Harris Foundation’s Professional Development Network to provide best practices for culturally responsive and trauma-informed provision of services. This series features diverse expertise from the fields of refugee and migrant health, cultural studies, mental health, early childhood development, childhood traumatic stress, trauma-informed systems of care, and secondary traumatic stress.

Webinar 1: Culture, the Migration Journey, Trauma, and Assessment

Webinar 2: Culture, Development, Trauma, and Socio-Cultural Responsive Interventions with Youth Ages 7 and Older


MEMBER PROFILE: Jackie Spencer, Family Development Lead Educator, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga County

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Jackie grew up as the youngest of 6 children in Sayre, PA. After taking a variety of courses in Psychology, Sociology, Child Development, Literature and the Arts as a Liberal Arts major at Corning Community College, she decided to pursue a career supporting healthy parent-child relationships. She transferred to the University of Pittsburgh to study Psychology, focusing coursework in relation to development. She found the Family Resource Center as a parent of a toddler, participating and volunteering for a little over a year. That lead her to the decision that she would like to be a part of the FRC Team. She applied for a position as a home visitor and began her career as a Parenting Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tioga County.

Jackie has worked in Parenting Education for 16 years. Her primary goal as a parenting educator is to provide parents with research based information and skills to nurture their children’s development. “Parenting is hard work and our culture has not fully shifted to non-violent parenting beliefs as a whole. I believe that parenting education can reduce the occurrence of unintentional abuse and neglect by providing parents with better tools for managing children’s behavior.”

She also enjoys spending time in her garden growing flowers of all types.


 The Power of Play: How Fun and Games Help Children Thrive

With just about a month left of summer vacation, we thought we would put PLAY front and center with this article about how play helps children thrive. You can find the article here:


Parenting Teens

 Is there a teen in your house? Or in your not too distant future? Check out this article from the National Institutes of Health:



NYSPEP E-News, July 2019

NYSPEP Summer Institute Addresses Implicit Bias

The NYSPEP Annual Member Meeting was held on June 5th, 2019 this year at the Carondelet Hospitality Center in Latham, NY. The theme for the day was Building Supportive Relationships While Working Respectfully with Families. Our keynote speaker, Julika von Stackelberg kicked us off with a presentation on working respectfully with all families and discussed our current systems and structures as well as how implicit bias plays a role in all our lives. Julika shared a video created by PBS called "Implicit Bias: Peanut Butter, Jelly and Racism" In the afternoon, we were joined by a panel of four experienced individuals in the field of parenting education. Don Campbell shared his experience working as a fathering specialist in Queens, NY while Priscilla Shorter shared her experience raising her son as a young mother navigating through the healthcare systems. Jackie and Michael Campbell share their experience as facilitators of the Effective Black Parenting Curriculum in Rochester, NY. Our Parent Leader, Kara Georgi continued the conversation with participates through a community cafe discussion. Participates shared their thoughts, ideas and experience and the relevance of the theme for the day through the cafe discussion.  NYSPEP would like to thank our speakers for the day, the planning committee for putting the day together and our participates for their enthusiasm and dedication to parenting education. We hope to see you next year!

Resources from the 2019 Summer Institute are available here.


NPEN Seeks Input for Parenting Education Survey

You can help shape the narrative around parenting education by participating in a survey linked below being conducted by the National Parenting Education Network. NPEN is committed to the promotion of parenting education and seeks to advance the depiction and utilization of skills and the portrayal of parenting and family education professionals in entertainment media. By completing this short survey after viewing a TV show, movie or advertisement, you are helping us collect data that we can use as we pursue working with media professionals.

Our goal is to increase storylines that include family members seeking parenting education information, families using skills acquired from various resources and characters who are professional parenting education providers.  Media exposure will go a long way in the normalization of parenting education and the promotion of a profession often unrecognized by family members, policy makers, legislators, funders, researchers and academia.

To complete this very brief survey, you can draw from something previously viewed, something you are watching now, or when you watch something in the immediate future. Please complete the survey, throughout the month of July, one per media experience, although you are not limited to the number of media occasions you survey.

Please forward this email to all your professional and personal contacts as the more data we collect, the better. We will analyze the date and share the results with the entertainment media professionals.

Simply follow the link, https://forms.gle/aMofMqP4Kk9SkBKt9, complete the survey, and hit submit. This is anonymously submitted so we will not be getting back to you about our results. We will, however, compile data and post it on the www.NPEN.org website as soon as possible.


FREE TRAINING ALERT: DC:0-5 Diagnostic System Comprehensive Training Offered 

DC:0-5 is a research and clinically-informed multi-axial diagnostic system that provides a comprehensive guide to the clinical disorders found in young children. New York State plans to make DC:0-5 the recommended diagnostic tool for all children birth to age 5.

This comprehensive training is specifically designed for participants who are directly involved in the developmental and mental health evaluation and diagnosis of children birth to five years of age. 

This training provides history and background around the need for and development of a specialized diagnostic classification system for infancy and early childhood, as well as approaches to diagnosis from an Infant Mental Health perspective which is developmentally informed, relationship based, contextual and culturally competent.

Participants will learn about the multi-axial classification system and gain an understanding of each: Axis I Clinical Disorders, Axis II Relational Context, Axis III Physical Health Conditions and Considerations, Axis IV Psychosocial Stressors, and Axis V Developmental Competence

Participants will have the opportunity to participate in Community of Practice calls following the training for support on use of DC:0-5™ in their practice.   

Participation in this training is free of charge and participants will receive a complimentary DC:0-5 manual. 

This training will offer 11 CE contact hours for licensed social workers and LMHCs through the NYU Silver School of Social Work. Participants must attend both days to receive full credit. Attendees will be able to access certificates online following the training.

Register early since capacity is limited.  Additional trainings will be offered based on demand in each location.     

Please register below (All Trainings are 1.5 days (9am-5pm on Day 1 & 9am-1pm on Day 2):  

Buffalo Niagara Marriott 
1340 Millersport Hwy, Amherst NY, 14221          
July 11 & 12    
Register Here             

Long Island 
Melville Marriott
1350 Walt Whitman Road Melville, NY 11747    
July 25 & 26    
Register Here          

Location: TBD
September 12 & 13
Register Here

In collaboration with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County
615 Willow Avenue
Ithaca, NY, 14850 
September 26 & 27    
Register Here       

Doubletree by Hilton
455 South Broadway Tarrytown, NY 10591 
September 26 & 27    
Register Here

Hyatt Regency Rochester
125 East Main Street,  Rochester, NY 14604     
Sept 30, October 1     
Register Here    

Marriott Syracuse Downtown
100 East Onondaga Street, Syracuse, NY 14604      
October 2, 3             
Register Here 

Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
40 Civic Center Plaza, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 
October 7 & 8
Register Here

Holiday Inn Plattsburgh
406 New York 3, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
October 17 & 18     
Register Here

November 6 & 7        
Century House, 997 New Loudon RD.,  Latham NY 12110
Register Here


Member Spotlight: Connie Desmarais


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Connie Desmarais received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from SUNY Oswego and a Master’s Degree in Marriage, Family & Child Counseling from Pepperdine University. Connie has been working in the human services field for over 25 years with the majority of her career being in early childhood and home visiting programs. Connie’s passion for serving young children and families can be traced back to her high school and college years where she spent significant time working as a babysitter, camp counselor and day care teacher.

When she’s not conducting outreach and encouraging partners in the Western New York area to look at the possibility of implementing developmental screening into their work, Connie is a mother/stepmother to six children, grandmother of two, and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing with her family and her dogs.

Currently she helps to educate community partners such as pediatric offices, school systems, community based organizations, and parents on the topic of developmental milestones and how they can best support each child in the achievement of these milestones through her work at Help Me Grow. They offer free developmental screening tools to families and partners as well as providing follow-up on the results of the screenings along with any additional resources the family may need to help support them in their parenting. She was also the Program Manager for Healthy Families Niagara for 14 years.


Thank You for Your Service Gail!!!

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NYSPEP would like to congratulate our Steering Committee member Gail Volk (State Education Department) on her retirement. NYSPEP would like to thank Gail for her dedication to parenting education and her involvement in the Committees and workgroup. 


NYSPEP E-News, June 2019


**Member Spotlight will return next month**

***Registration is now closed for the 2019 Summer Institute. We hope to see you there!"

Applications Open for the NYSPEP Parenting Educator Credential

Parenting Educators are invited to apply for the NYSPEP Parenting Educator Credential. The NYSPEP Credential recognizes your professional development and competence and gives you increased visibility in the field of parenting education. The application process involves developing a portfolio to document your knowledge, skills and competencies for work in the field of parenting education. 

The next application deadline is July 31, 2019. Those who are preparing applications will have the opportunity to be partnered with a mentor to help guide you through the application process. You can learn more about the history and content of the NYSPEP Parenting Educator Credential at http://nyspep.org/professionals/credentialing. To begin the application process or ask questions contact the Credential Coordinator at Credential@nyspep.org.


New York Zero to Three Conference is Approaching June 14th in NYC

Equity from the Start: Promoting Social Justice in Early Childhood Programs

Keynote Speaker Eva Marie Shivers, JD, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of the Indigo Cultural Center

Friday, June 14, 2019 
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM 
130 East 59th Street 
New York, New York

Early childhood programs abound with diversity in both the children and the families who participate.  This diversity comes from differences across race, class, developmental ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, languages spoken, and immigration status, to name a few.  How do we, as early childhood professionals, develop our own awareness of the power and privilege afforded to some and of the oppression and marginalization foisted upon others on the basis of these identifiers?  How can we make sure that we inadvertently don't add to the weight of oppression experienced by the families we serve? How can we, instead, become instruments of social justice? 

Our keynote presenter, Eva Marie Shivers, JD, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of the Indigo Cultural Center, and our breakout presenters will address these questions.  Dr. Shivers will begin the day looking at racial identity and how, through mindful transformation, we can be bias disruptors and champion social justice in early childhood programs.  After her plenary presentation, we will break into small groups to discuss and process her talk. 
In the afternoon, the following breakout presenters will continue the exploration: Michelle Gantt, Alexandra Martinez & Quiana Jackson, Veera Mookerjee, Renee Ortega, Laurel Salmon, and Rebecca Shahmoon-Shanok & Lauren Tobing-Puente. Some will address the personal work required to develop intercultural competency, with a focus on self-reflection and therapeutic use of self, and others will focus on racial literacy in early childhood classrooms. Still others will address a range of challenges including international immigration, developmental differences, and incarceration.

Breakfast and Lunch will be provided! Group rates are available. Register today!


PS: It Works! Strengths Based Communication Skills Professional Development Training

What: PS: It Works! Personal-Professional Communication Skills

When: Wednesday and Thursday, July 10 & 11, 2019, 9:00 am to 4:30pm

Where: CCE-Tompkins Education Center, 615 Willow Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850

Facilitators: Anna Steinkraus, Serena Ward & Judy Burrill
Cost: $200 registration fee, includes: training, lunch, snack and Parenting Skills Workshop Series Manual
Additional $25 fee to obtain NY State MSW/LCSW contact hours
Preregistration is required.
Register here: https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/PSItWorks-2_250. For more information: email: ams69@cornell.edu , or call Anna at (607) 272-2292.



NYSPEP Attends Babypalooza at Fort Drum

We would like to thank the staff at Fort Drum for inviting us to table and provide outreach at their annual Baby Palooza event. Our staff were able to meet and provide resources to service members and their families. Many attendees were first time parents and/or expecting parents.

NYSPEP Site Visitations!

Between April 2nd-9th, NYSPEP Steering Committee Members, Timothy Hathaway, Kristin Weller, Judy Wolf, and Melody Tien visited our 2019-2020 Community Coalition cohorts. NYSPEP is excited to partner with these local coalitions and support the parenting engagement work happening in each of these communities. NYSPEP would like to thank the community coalition leads for organizing the half-day meetings and the coalition members for providing space for the opportunity to convene.


Project Teach: Parent & Family Resource Page

OMH is  pleased to announce that Project TEACH has developed resources for parents and families which are now available on the Project TEACH Parent & Family Resource page. These videos and downloadables provide information for parents about mental wellness at different stages of a child/youth’s development and about the typical questions that may be asked in a child’s wellness visit with their pediatrician.

We all have a hand in promoting good mental health. One key role for parents and family members is being aware of the warning signs for mental health concerns. These Project TEACH resources can support a parent’s ability to identify concerns and have conversations with health care providers.

Guiding Caregivers: How to Talk to a Child about Deportation or Separation (Available in Spanish and English)

News reports and adult discussions about deportation can cause children many worries, such as fearing separation from a parent. Caretakers often wonder if it is better to keep silent so as not to upset their children. Having an open conversation, at the child’s developmental level, typically is the best approach. That way, the caregiver can give accurate information and explain the family plan in the event of a separation or deportation. This 2-page handout—created by NCTSN-partner Center for Child Stress & Health at Florida State University—gives examples of developmentally appropriate analogies to aid such discussions. 



NYSPEP Member Spotlight: Renee Falanga Brenner

Renee Falanga-Brenner has a good reason for doing what she does--her oldest daughter Serena, who celebrated her 25th birthday this past December! "Specialists said she wouldn't live past the age of four because of her extensive brain damage suffered at birth!" The impact of that experience has benefited over a thousand parents and early childhood professionals, as Renee has spent the past 19 years providing workshops and one-on-one support to parents who are concerned about their child's development or disability. "I provide strategies, resources, and empower parents with ways they can advocate for Early Intervention or Preschool services. I also share how they can support their child at home, in the community and within their family." She also gives workshops for Early Childhood Educators, School Districts, Head Starts, and Preschool Special Education Programs on topics including Social and Emotional Development and Creating the Ultimate Classroom: Addressing the Needs of All Children.

Renee has been involved with NYSPEP for a little over a year and she hopes to become a Credentialed Parenting Educator and continue the work of providing information about ACEs and Protective Factors via Community Cafes to Ulster, Dutchess, and Sullivan Counties.

In addition to Serena, Renee has three other children, making her the blessed mom of four children ages 16-25. She is a Core Volunteer for Christmas Wishes of Ulster County and is very civically minded, serving as President of the New Paltz HS PTSA; President of Ulster County Youth Board; Co-Chair of Orange County Parenting Coalition; Co-Chair of Hudson Valley Special Education Task Force; and member of the Newburgh Basics Steering Committee.

Conference Alert, This Saturday: Annual Forum--Innovative Practices in Prevention Science

A dynamic conference to help incubate strategies and solutions for moving prevention science from policy to practice in New York State.

Saturday, May 4, 2019 -- 8:30am to 3:15pm

Network with leaders in prevention science. Explore how early interventions improve outcomes in primary care settings. Strategize on the path from idea to policy to practice. And contribute to better health and a brighter future for children and adolescents in New York State.

This conference is presented by Project TEACH, a project funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health.

 Register Now 


NYSPEP E-News, April 2019

NYSPEP Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Colleague Wales Brown

We were all shocked and saddened to hear about the death of our colleague Wales Brown.

For nearly 30 years, Wales dedicated his life to helping parents build stronger, healthier connections with their children throughout upstate New York and beyond. He developed and implemented collaborative programs focusing on in-home preservation, parent education, and reunification of families with a history of abuse and neglect. His ability to connect with parents and children of varying backgrounds, his immense knowledge, and his dedication led him to state and national recognition in his field. Being awarded the prestigious ZERO TO THREE Fellowship (Class of 2014-2016) was a shining example of Wales’s accomplishments and his desire to always strive to expand his knowledge and influence as a leader in the field.

Wales was also a foster parent for more than a decade and was a single father of four boys with special needs who were freed for adoption. He worked in Ecuador, Egypt, and India in children's residential facilities and was a founding member of the Leadership Training Initiative for people living with HIV/AIDS, developing programming to respond to the needs of those in undeserved communities.

His personal and professional background made him uniquely qualified to work with the children and families of Northeast Parent & Child Society in Schenectady, New York, where he worked for 29 years. He was responsible for coordinating and teaching parenting groups for parents of children in different age groups through selected evidence-based curriculums. In addition to the group processes, he provided intensive individual in-home consultations and was a clinician in a supervised visitation program, coordinating and coaching visits using a coached visiting model and working with birth parents to build parenting skills and parental bonding. He completed his Masters in Adult Learning at SUNY Empire State College, and he was a nationally recognized Certified Family Life Educator (National Council on Family Relations). He also coordinated a fathering program in his community service work to help fathers that were separated from their children and worked privately in rural areas providing parent education.

Wales served for many years on the NYS Parenting Education PartnershipSteering Committee as well as the Credential Committee and Communications Committee. He was one of the first Parenting Educators in New York to apply for and be awarded the NYSPEP Tier III Credential: Senior Parenting Educator. While continuing his deep engagement with NYSPEP, he was elected to the National Parenting Education Network - NPEN in 2016 and was involved with the Communications and Membership Committees and had been serving the past two years on the Executive Committee as Secretary. He was instrumental in so much of the work of both organizations and volunteered his time and expertise generously.

Wales's death will be felt deeply in his community and throughout the world of parenting education.

Success in Strong Roots Events in Orange and Richmond Counties

On March 19th, 2019, the Orange County Parenting Coalition hosted their 22nd annual Making Healthful Decisions Conference (Regional Strong Roots). This year’s theme, Building Resilience focus on the collective effort of community members strengthening and understanding the impact of coming together to create positive change within their community. Participates had the opportunity to view the film, Resilience where Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris discusses the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the effects ACEs has on the development of children’s bodies and brain structures. Following the film, participates engaged in a guided discussion with Tamaé Memole (Prevent Child Abuse NY) and Kristin Fortuna (Rehabilitation Support Services). NYSPEP would like to thank the Orange County Parenting Coalition for hosting the event. 


On March 22nd, 2019 the Staten Island Perinatal Network hosted their Regional Strong Roots in Richmond County. This year’s theme, Triumph Over Trauma focus on supporting and promoting a positive parenting environment for individuals with a history of trauma. The keynote was presented by Dr. Myra Sabir from Binghamton University, who shared the significance of Life Writing. Following Dr. Sabir’s keynote address, a panel of parenting educators and medical professionals discussed the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the connection to their work. NYSPEP would like to thank the Staten Island Perinatal Network for hosting the event.

State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 Compares National and State-By-State Data


For the first time, the State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 compares national and state-by-state data on the well-being of infants and toddlers.

The current state of babies tells an important story about what it is like to be a very young child in this country, and where we are headed as a nation. Far too many babies face persistent hardships—such as food insecurity, unstable housing and exposure to violence—that undermine their ability to grow and thrive.

To create a brighter future for all, we must implement policies based on science and budgets that make babies a priority. Report and state rankings at https://stateofbabies.org. 

NYSPEP Member Spotlight: Shamise Quinn


Shamise Quinn is the Project Coordinator at the Community Health Center of Richmond. The center serves as the backbone organization for the Staten Island Perinatal Network for Better Birth Outcomes, a cross-sectoral partnership of more than 40 community-based organizations, health care entities, social service agencies and other related partners dedicated to improving birth outcomes and the livelihood of women, children, and families on Staten Island’s North Shore. 

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University, a Master of Public Administration from John Jay College and has 23 credit hours of project management education from the Project Management Institute. She is an energized project manager/coordinator with documented success in planning, estimating and organizing the overall implementation of assigned projects and is highly competent at providing daily direction, motivation and support for a project team to ensure that project specifications and deadlines are met.

As the project coordinator for the Staten Island Perinatal Network, Shamise continues to make linkages and build relationships between different organizations within the coalition. Shamise ensures that parenting education information is spread throughout the network, and the community. Shamise realizes the importance of parenting education and works hard to make sure that parents, and families are provided with support and resources needed to succeed.

Shamise also loves to read and is a huge fan of Beyonce.


NYSPEP E-News, March 2019

2019-2020 Mini-Grant Recipients Announced

NYSPEP is excited is to announce notifications have gone out to the 2019-2020 Mini-Grant Recipients! Special thanks to the NYSPEP Mini-Grant Review Committee and all those across New York State who applied. This year our review committee has decided to fund four Community Coalitions:

Clinton County:
Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country, Inc.

Livingston County:
Genesee Valley Health Partnership (GVHP)/ Trauma Informed Communities (TIC) Coalition

Niagara County:
Healthy Moms/ Healthy Babies Coalition of Niagara County

Tioga County:
Tioga Strong Families

NYSPEP Member Spotlight: Susan Perkins

Susan Perkins’s career began with adult education roles in Cooperative Extension in Berks County, Pennsylvania, as well as Continuing Medical Education at the Hershey Medical Center. After moving to the Finger Lakes with her young family, she volunteered and was then hired by the Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Tompkins County, leading programming in Family Development and Parenting Education there, and at Cortland County Extension. 

Before joining the NYS Council on Children and Families in 2000, Susan was the director of an Even Start Family Literacy program in Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga counties.  This experience served her well at the Council as a program manager for a statewide family literacy initiative. That is also where she got her start with NYSPEP, as an active member since its inception. She contributed to NYSPEP in several capacities, ultimately serving as co-chair of the Partnership.

Following her retirement from the Council, Susan has remained active in NYSPEP. It is her hope to connect the work of NYSPEP with other organizations with similar vision and to strengthen and expand the capacity of parenting educators across the state.

In addition to all of her professional and volunteer roles, Susan loves the live events at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), where she has ushered for the annual Jazz Festival, New York City Ballet, and the Philadelphia Orchestra for over 15 years!

Susan would love to see NYSPEP be recognized at the local and state level for its advocacy on behalf of parents--providing the information, strategies and support they deserve to raise healthy children. 


The NYSPEP Summer Institute will be held on June 5th this year. Please mark your calendars and save the date! More information and details to follow.

Strong Roots Training Institute to be held in Staten Island

NPEN Webinar Opportunity: Competencies for Effective Parenting Education Practice

Members of NPEN’s Professional Preparation & Recognition Committee developed Parenting Educator Competencies: A Resource Document for the Field of Parenting Education (https://tinyurl.com/npencompetencies) to describe the knowledge, practice skills, and attitudes and dispositions that are foundational to effective practice for parenting educators. NPEN will host a webinar on March 6 to provide an overview of the document, how it was developed, and its potential uses. Please join us to learn more about this important resource.

Identifying Competencies for Effective Parenting Education Practice: An Overview of NPEN’s Parenting Educator Competencies Resource Document

March 6, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. ET (1:00 CT, 12:00 MT, 11:00 PT)
Presenters: Betty Cooke, Glen Palm, and Stephanie Jones

Register in advance for this webinar at  https://tinyurl.com/npenwebinar

The webinar is free for current NPEN members. Others will be directed to join NPEN to attend. Membership is $25. Visit https://npen.org/membership/ to join. Registration confirmation is subject to membership verification. For more information, email Judy Wolf at pprc@npen.org.

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health in New York

You are invited to the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health in New York Free Seminar – register now to secure your attendance at the NYAEYC Pre-Conference Day! Hosted by the NYS Council on Children and Families, NYS Head Start Collaboration Office and experts in Early Childhood Mental Health in New York State.  Come learn about how NY is working to meet the Social and Emotional Needs of all children Birth through Five.

April 4, 2019; 1pm-4pm; Mohawk Room, Turningstone Conference Center, Verona, NY


1.    Infant Mental Health in NYS Overview, resources, training available for early care and education providers, Head Start/Early Head Start and PreK

2.    Screening for possible social emotional health concerns and Early Intervention eligibility

3.    A picture of  the Pyramid Model and Infant Mental Health Consultation in NYS – One agencies success story

4.    Next steps in NYS, initiatives, discussion of progress and challenges

We’ll be announcing more speakers in the upcoming weeks.  Please register today for this free presentation – room capacity limits apply. Lunch is not included, so please plan accordingly. Questions please email Weller, Kristin (CCF) Kristin.Weller@ccf.ny.gov

Strong Roots Training Event  Success in Hornell


On February 8th, 2019, NYSPEP and Kids on Track Steuben County held a Community Coalition Strong Roots training event in Hornell, NY. The theme for the day was Deep Roots are not Reached by the Frost with Danielle Asher from the Family Leadership Network (FLN) as the keynote speaker. Danielle engaged participants with her professional and personal experiences. Participates were able to hear from a panel of ten individuals comprised of parents who were the growing leaders and professionals who were the connectors. NYSPEP would like to thank Kids on Track for their partnership and planning for the professional development day!

NYSPEP Represents at BMCC Student Parent Resource Fair

On February 20th, 2019 NYSPEP Steering Committee Member, Meg Akabas and NYSPEP Program Coordinator, Melody Tien attended the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s (BMCC) Student Parent Resource Fair. Meg and Melody provided information on professional development opportunities, parenting tips and tricks and set up interactive games and questions to students, parents and professionals. NYSPEP would like to thank BMCC for the opportunity to table at the fair.


NYSPEP E-News, February 2019

Agencies Unite to Increase Resilience in Orange County Families

On Friday, December 14 the Orange County Parenting Coalition, in collaboration with the Trauma Institute of Orange County and the Departments of Mental Health and Social Services held a screening of the film Resilience at the Emergency Services Center that was attended by nearly 120 professionals.

The purpose of the screening was to raise awareness among individuals who work with families and children, as well as to learn about how ACEs can be prevented by increasing resilience in families and in our community. Following the film, participants actively engaged in a discussion about how to incorporate this knowledge into their work, how to employ a trauma-informed approach, and how to create welcoming environments for the families they work with.

Orange County Commissioner of Social Services and Mental Health Darcie Miller encouraged participants to take what they learned and discuss it with their colleagues, friends and families with the goal to engage the larger community in developing the skills that lead to greater resilience across the board. As Commissioner Miller said, “Prevention is really what is most effective to ensure the future health and well-being of our community. While the concept of a trauma-informed approach is not new in the field of mental health, it is my hope that this approach will be adopted by all fields of human services and across sectors.”

Julika von Stackelberg, Co-Chair of the Orange County Parenting Coalition and Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County Parenting & Family Life Educator states, "Our vision is for Orange County to become a poster child for the creation of a coordinated community response to adverse childhood experiences and building resilience not only to improve the health and well-being of our community, but in a way that it can be replicated by other communities nationwide."

An additional screening and community discussion is planned at the Annual Making Healthful Decisions Conference on March 19 at Mount Saint Mary College. For more information or to register for these events, please call 845-344-1234.

NYSPEP Member Spotlight: Meg Akabas

Meg Akabas has been a leader in the parenting education world for more than ten years through her direct work with parents and expectant parents, writing about parenting, professionalization of the field, and policy work around supporting parents on a state and national level. Meg Akabas is the founder of New York City-based Parenting Solutions™, a consultancy designed to help parents discover the joy in parenting, and is the author of 52 Weeks of Parenting Wisdom: Effective Strategies for Raising Happy, Responsible Kids.

A New York Certified Parenting Educator, she is the current Chairperson of the National Parenting Education Network (NPEN) and she has served on the Steering Committee of the New York State Parenting Education Partnership (NYSPEP) since 2008.  In addition, her extensive involvement with NYSPEP has included working on the Parenting Educator Credential, Professional Development, and New Parent Kit committees and developing and leading Strong Roots events.  She has also presented workshops at conferences and webinars for NYSPEP on the topics of normal infant development, and how to design and facilitate parenting classes for expectant parents.

Meg has more than 18 years of leadership experience in schools and has served as president of the board of two schools in New York City. She is dedicated to helping parents raise emotionally healthy, responsible and kind children and is on the childbirth education staff at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City where she regularly teaches an intensive workshop on infant development and parenting. Ms. Akabas holds an MBA from Columbia University Business School, a bachelor and master's from Manhattan School of Music and is a certified group fitness instructor.   She lives with her husband Seth in Manhattan, where they have raised their four children.


The latest episode of NPEN supported "Practically Perfect Parenting" podcast is here! "Why Kids Lie and What to Do About." Share with parents and/or use the series for professional development. It's free and available at the following link and on iTunes.Practically Perfect Parenting Podcasts  

The following are from a recent issue of “Baby Talk,” a monthly listserv supported by Pritzker Children's Initiative and North Carolina Children's Initiative. (To join the listserv, send an email with no message to subscribe-babytalk@listserv.unc.edu.)

Talking to Infants Supports Their Brain Development:  A survey of families found that advice given a babies’ one-month well-child visits focused more on feeding and the baby’s weight than on development or learning. For families who want to nurture their child’s brain development, talking, reading, and singing from day one are the strategies to pursue. These actions help create a language-rich environment that supports babies’ brain growth. Read more or watch a video in English or Spanish at parents-prescription-talk-read-and-sing    

Toddlers Need More Laps Than Apps:  In a December 2018 interview with leading pediatrician, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, Director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children's Hospital, he explains that toddlers are depending more and more on screens for self-soothing. When toddlers are left on their own with the device, they are "missing out on those critical human interactions" during a vulnerable period of brain development. He states that "toddlers need laps more than apps" and promotes the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics to avoid digital media use for children under age 2. Read more and watch a related video at cbsNews: effects-of-screen-time-on-kids 

How to Raise a Reader:  From the moment you’re expecting your first child, you are bombarded with messages about the importance of reading. For good reason: The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. This article offers strategies for building the capacity to read in infants and toddlers that are fun, rewarding and relatively easy. how-to-raise-a-reader

Screen Sense: Impact of Media Use on Children Under 3  ZERO TO THREE has created evidence-based Screen-Sense Resources to assist caregivers of children under 3 years old to assess safe media content and usage for young children. The site includes a tool for choosing content and guidance on how to be a screen use role model for young children.

Lullabies of the World:  Looking for international lullabies? The European Choral Association offers free access to recordings, scores, sing-alongs, and pronunciation of the lyrics. Search by 40 languages or dialects to find a song to soothe. lullabiesoftheworld.org

Resources on social-emotional development:  All of the following are from the NYS Department of Health website page on social-emotional development

·  Facts About Young Children With Challenging Behaviors

·  Zero to Three: Handout for Parents Birth to 12 Months (PDF)

·  Zero to Three: Handout for Parents 12 Months to 24 Months (PDF)

Free CDC's Milestone Tracker App:

 The CDC's Milestone Tracker is free app for tracking every child's development in a fun and easy way, now available in Spanish. This updated version of the app includes several improvements and can be used in either English or Spanish. Users can even track milestones in their preferred language and switch between languages during use or before sharing the summary. Milestones App   


From the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN):

New Fact Sheet: For Teens: Coping After Mass Violence Teens will learn from this fact sheet about the common and expected reactions of youth who experience or witness mass violence. The fact sheet also gives tips for taking care of themselves, such as reaching out to others. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/for-teens-coping-after-mass-violence

New Fact Sheet: The Power of Parenting: How to Help Your Child After a Parent or Caregiver Dies Caregivers can benefit from this fact sheet which offers guidance on talking to your child after a parent or caregiver dies. It gives suggestions on how to help children who are facing new fears, how to take care of yourself, how to maintain essential routines while adjusting to the loss and possible new changes, how to create comforting connections to the past while building new relationships, and how to seek out resources and supports for your children. https://www.nctsn.org/resources/power-of-parenting-how-to-help-your-child-after-a-parent-or-caregiver-dies

From Zero to Three:

Grand-Plan Partner Toolkit     For many families with children under 5, grandparents fill a critical need for infant-toddler child care that is trusted, affordable, and accessible. Grandparents are out there providing contributions of love, time, and effort in families of every description. This partner toolkit helps early childhood professionals understand those relationships, support parents and grandparents, and share their stories.

First 5LA:

Resources and information for fathers of infants and preschool age children at Fathers Matter.

Strong Roots Training Institute to be held in Staten Island

On March 22 there will be a regional Strong Roots Event held at Staten Island University.  For more information and details, please contact Shamise Quinn at squinn@CHCRichmond.org



ProAction of Steuben and Yates hosting Strong Roots Training Institute

On February 8th, Pro Action of Steuben and Yates will be hosting Deep Roots Are Not Reached by the Frost at The Main Place in Hornell, NY.  For more information and details, please contact Margie Lawlor at lawlorm@proactioninc.org


Making Healthful Decisions Conference

On March 19 Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County will be holding a Making Healthful Decisions Conference.  For more information and details, please follow this link: http://cceorangecounty.org/events/2019/03/19/22nd-making-healthful-decisions-conference

NPEN to Introduce Parenting Educator Competencies Resource Document


The National Parenting Education Network will introduce Parenting Educator Competencies: A Resource Document for the Field of Parenting Education in a national webinar on March 6.  NPEN's purpose in creating this document is to describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes and dispositions that are the foundation for effective practice for parenting educators.  The webinar will review the development of this resource and its potential uses. The webinar is free for NPEN members.  For others, the cost is $25 and includes the webinar and a one year membership in NPEN. For more information on the document and to receive notice of registration information send email to pprc@npen.org.

Strong Roots Training Institute Kicks Off in Tompkins County


On January 25th, 2019, NYSPEP and Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County held our first Community Coalition Strong Roots training event of the year in Ithaca, NY. The theme for the day was Trauma Responsive Care at Home and in Schools with Renee Hettich from the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York as the keynote speaker. Renee engaged participants with her professional and personal experiences. Participates were able to “Build a Brain” based on the Brain Architect Game developed by Harvard University. NYSPEP would like to thank CCE Tompkins County for their partnership and planning for the professional development day! 


Protective Factors Framework Training in Orange County

The Orange County Parenting Coalition hosted a two-day Protective Factors Framework training on January 10th and 11th in Middletown, NY. During the interactive training, participants were introduced to the five protective factors that help make families strong and equipped with concrete tools to build resilience in children and families. Participant feedback was outstanding. NYSPEP would like to thank Tamaé Memole and Kara Georgi for facilitating the training and discussions.  

NYSPEP in the News

Local Agencies Discuss Effects of Childhood Stress

NYSPEP E-News, January 2019

Community Coalition Application Released, Webinar Recording Available

Calling all interested coalitions! The New York State Parenting Education Partnership (NYSPEP) is proud to announce the release of our 2019-2020 Community Coalition Application. NYSPEP will be awarding four mini grants to community coalitions throughout New York State. 

All interested parties, please read through the application materials and complete the application by COB January 18th, 2019 at 4pm. 

NYSPEP hosted a webinar on December 6th, 2018 at 12 PM to go through the application materials and answer any questions about the application process. Missed the webinar? Please click HERE for the recording.

To learn more about NYSPEP, please visit our website at www.nyspep.org

NYSPEP Member Spotlight: Margie Lawlor

Margie Lawlor’s first interaction with NYSPEP was in roughly 2008 while assisting with some social marketing work being done by one of the committees. She became re-engaged when her organization, Pro Action of Steuben and Yates, Inc. offered to pilot the New Parent Kit in 2016.

Throughout her career she has successfully combined her professional strengths in communications, marketing, strategic nonprofit management and analysis to build a career advancing the effectiveness of the social sector. From her work at the turn of the century in the United Way system, through a successful consulting practice, to her current leadership role in a Community Action agency, she has gained a breadth of wisdom informing her work. Areas of specific content knowledge include early childhood education, K-12 education, family strengthening, housing, healthcare, poverty reduction and community change.

Margie has a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Spanish from George Mason University and a Master of Public Administration from Binghamton University. She lives in Corning, New York with her loving family, including her husband and two young adult sons. She is inspired by her origins in a large Irish family from the working class suburbs of Philadelphia.

Fun fact! Margie hung around with some of the same people as Tina Fey did in high school, and Tina mentioned one of them in her book BossyPants

Webinar Alerts: "Introduction to the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support" and "Nurturing Fathering"

NYSPEP'S Professional Development Series continues on January 24th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. with Introduction to the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support. Please join us to learn more about the nationally-adopted Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support.

Since being issued by the California Network of Family Strengthening Networks in 2012, and adopted by the National Network of Family Support and Strengthening Networks in 2013, these Standards are being used across the country by public departments, foundations, networks, community-based organizations, and families.

Based on the Principles of Family Support Practice and the Strengthening Families Framework and its research-based evidence-informed 5 Protective Factors, they have created a common language across different kinds of Family Strengthening and Family Support programs such as Family Resource Centers, home visiting programs, and child development programs.  They are used a tool for planning, providing, and assessing quality practice.

Register HERE

You can also register for Nurturing Fathering: Using A Group Approach to Help Dads Think and Learn About Fathering, rescheduled to January 14th from 12:00-1:00 p.m. Participants will become familiar with the Nurturing Fathers Program. If you are interested in this webinar, please register HERE

NYSPEP Summer Institute Planned, Save the Date

The NYSPEP Summer Institute will be held on June 5th this year. Please mark your calendars and save the date! More information and details to follow. 

Motherhood Cafe Offered at New York Foundling

Healthy Families New York, NYSPEP and Staten Island Perinatal Network are hosting a Motherhood Cafe at the New York Foundling on January 7, 2019 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity for moms to eat, relax and talk. There are only 20 slots available. If someone that you know or work with would like to attend, please have them call Shamise at (917) 830-1200, ext. 7611.

Strong Roots Training Institutes for 2019 are Kicking Off

On January 25th, a Strong Roots Training entitled Trauma Responsive Care at Home and in Schools will be offered at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County, Ithaca, NY. The cost is $50 and pre-registration is required. In order to register, follow this link.

Then, on February 8th, Pro Action of Steuben and Yates will be hosting Deep Roots Are Not Reached by the Frost at The Main Place in Hornell, NY.  For more information and details, please contact Margie Lawlor at lawlorm@proactioninc.org.

Community Cafe Rescheduled to January 14th

ProAction of Steuben and Yates, Hornell Area Family Resource Center and Hornell City School District are hosting a Community Cafe at Hornell Family Resource Center at Hornell Intermediate School on January 14, 2019 from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Please spread the word about this great opportunity for refreshments and conversations with your neighbors. For more information call Hornell FRC at (607) 324-1304, ext. 1741.

NYSPEP E-News, December 2018

Community Coalition Application Released, Webinar Scheduled

Calling all interested coalitions! The New York State Parenting Education Partnership (NYSPEP) is proud to announce the release of our 2019-2020 Community Coalition Application. NYSPEP will be awarding four mini grants to community coalitions throughout New York State. 

All interested parties, please read through the application materials and complete the application by COB January 18th, 2019 at 4pm. 

NYSPEP will be hosting a webinar on December 6th, 2018 at 12 PM to go through the application materials and answer any questions about the application process. Please register HERE for the webinar. 

For additional information about NYSPEP, please check out our website at nyspep.org 

Webinar Alert: Toxic Stress in Young Children--What It Looks Like, How We Can Help

NYSPEP'S Professional Development Series continues with "Toxic Stress in Young Children: What It Looks Like, How We Can Help" on Wednesday, December 12. The session is being offered in both English (from 10-11 a.m.) and Spanish (from 2-3 p.m.). Those in attendance will increase knowledge and awareness of social emotional development; improve the early identification for children who are experiencing developmental delays in social emotional development; become familiar with possible indicators of toxic stress in young children; and understand the importance of relationship building with families.

To register for the session in English, follow this link.

To register for the session in Spanish, follow this link.

NYSPEP Member Spotlight: Jennifer Gray

NYSPEP would like to take this opportunity to highlight Jennifer Gray, Community Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County. Thank you Jennifer for your passion and long-standing dedication in parenting education!

Read on to learn more about Jennifer:  

I was raised in Palo Alto, CA. Fun fact: I took guitar lessons from Jerry Garcia in when I was in high school! It was exciting to be around San Francisco and Berkeley in the 60’s but also exhausting. I met my future husband while I was getting a BA in History at Mills College. He had previously worked on developing electronic synthesizers with Bob Moog in Trumansburg, NY, and kept telling me about this beautiful community where we could buy an amazing Victorian House and land for $20K and live in the country raising babies.

So we arrived here in June 1972, (just in time for Hurricane Agnes) and spent the next decade doing just that. I became involved in the home birth community and helped develop the Ithaca Birth Group which offered education and support for pregnancy and parenting until 2007. I developed my facilitator skills and wrote lesson plans. I also apprenticed as a direct entry midwife, which gave me valuable home visiting experience.

In early 2002, I started worked for CCE Tompkins as part of the Parents Count program. We offered parenting education while providing supervision for visitation for non-custodial parents. During this time, I completed my Family Development Credential. That job led to 10 years as the Even Start site supervisor for South Seneca, working with low income/ low literacy parents and their children birth – 8. We offered both home visits and center-based programming in the elementary school, providing education and support in Adult Literacy, Early Childhood Education, Parenting Education and positive Parent/Child Activities. It was an amazing program. I loved that job and evaluations showed that we were making a big difference to our many families. The federal funding for Even Start was eliminated in late 2011. 

I was lucky to return to CCE Tompkins in 2012 and will happily stay here for the rest of my career.

My three children are grown now. All of them have chosen to live in California, where I have 8 grandchildren, including 2-year-old twins. Since I am a genealogist, I can say with certainty that there have not been twins in my family since 1804. 

My beautiful Victorian house outlasted my marriage, and I still love living peacefully in the country near Trumansburg, with visits to my family 2 or 3 times a year.

Successful ToT in Steuben County

On September 14th, NYSPEP brought the Community Café Training of Trainers to Steuben County. In partnership with Kids on Track Steuben, participates were

equipped with knowledge on the Community Café model and how to facilitate Community Cafés in their respective communities. Round table discussions focused on

conversations related to parent engagement and leadership. NYSPEP would like to thank Kara Georgi for facilitating the discussion, as well as the leads of Kids on Track Steuben for their collaboration.

ToT Rolls Into Tompkins County Too

On October 31st, 2018, NYSPEP Steering Committee members attended the Community Café Training of Trainers hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Tompkins County. In conjunction with the NYSPEP mini grant, CCE Tompkins County is bringing café conversations to Enfield, a rural community in Tompkins County as well as neighboring communities. Attendees of the training experienced a café discussion and had the opportunity to craft questions for future café topics. NYSPEP would like to thank CCE Tompkins County and Jennifer Gray for hosting the training as well as Anna Steinkraus and Elizabeth Wolff for facilitating the training day. We look forward to the parenting education and supports Enfield residents will receive!

NYSPEP E-News, November 2018

2018 Community Cafe Conversations Coming Up! 

There are several Community Cafe Conversations coming up in the very near future. If you are interested, please visit the NYSPEP website and scroll down to 2018 Community Cafe Conversations for more information.

Article: Helping Dads with Parenting 

The concept of father as breadwinner is still stronger than ideals of fathers as nurturers. Find out how online communities are helping to change that with the Greater Good magazine article, “How Online Communities Help Dads with Parenting”. 


NYSPEP Member Spotlight: Julika von Stackelberg


NYSPEP would like to take this opportunity to highlight Julika von Stackelberg, Parenting & Family Life Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County. Julika serves as the Co-Chair for Orange County Parenting Coalition and is very dedicated in providing parenting education services to her community. Orange County Parenting Coalition is one of four community mini grant recipients of NYSPEP this year. In collaboration with Julika's leadership, NYSPEP has brought Community Cafe conversations to Orange County. Their cafe theme of Resilience engages participants in discussion surrounding increasing resilience through their work with children and families. The Orange County Parenting Coalition is currently engaged with three surrounding school districts. Thank you Julika for your passion and dedication in parenting education!

Read on to learn more about Julika:  

I grew up in Germany and went to volunteer in a kindergarten in a small village called Madietane in northern South Africa after graduating high school. My time there impacted me greatly! It impacted me so much that I was initially opposed to “formal education” as I thought formal education cannot possibly teach me what I really wanted to know and to learn about. 

Therefore I strung together my own education with programs in non-traditional leadership and acting for community development after leaving South Africa. When I learned about the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University in London, my mind about formal education was completely changed and I enrolled and completed my B.A. in African Studies and Development Studies.

Upon completion of my studies and traveling some more, I came to the U.S.A. to live with my now husband, whom I had met during my years of “informal education” in NY. I initially worked for an international development organization, but realized that if I wanted to have a family, the constant travel would interfere.

I then spent 13 years working in fundraising for education and to end gender-based violence. I loved this work, as I got to be involved in community building around causes that were important to me. 

During that time, my husband and I had three children and meeting the needs of a demanding job, commuting and also raising our children more or less by myself became a real challenge. There were many moments I wasn’t proud of my parenting and I knew that there must be a better way. 

In my search for tools that would help me be firm AND loving with my children, I came across the Jai Institute for Parenting. I soon enrolled in their parenting coaching certificate program and when I obtained my certificate, I negotiated fewer hours of work with my employer to allow me to start working with parents one-on-one by phone across the world as their parenting coach. I began to see incredible changes in my own family, as well as in the families I was working with and was hooked! I knew that I wanted to do this work full-time.

When my current position at Cornell Cooperative Extension opened up, I took the leap and left my position in fundraising completely. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I love my work with families in my community and I know that together we’re changing the world in ways I had dreamt of when I was a child.


You Asked, We Listened

At July's NYSPEP Summer Institute, attendees asked for further information about several topics including Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), responding to trauma, parenting and PTSD. Through the E-News, NYSPEP will be responding to those requests and highlighting resources that address these topics.

  • Center on Developing Child Harvard University:

·       FAQs on ACEs and Toxic Stress

·       New Infographic

Parenting with PTSD newsletter shared information about a new documentary,  “Wrestling Ghosts”,  which is about  “the epic inner journey of a young mother, who, over two heart-breaking and inspiring years, battles the traumas from her past in order to create a new present and future for her and her family.”   

There is also a review of the movie available through this link from ACEs Connection.


ACT for Youth is offering links to tools, guides, videos, and teaching materials related to young people and Internet use, digital safety and citizenship, and incorporating technology into youth programming through their Toolkit: Teens and Media.

Did you know that, on average, a child dies every ten days in the US from a television or furniture falling on top of him/her?  The National Parenting Education Network (NPEN) is partnering with the US Product and Safety Commission to inform parenting educators and provide them with materials about the dangers of furniture tip-over incidents and to urge simple and low-cost solutions to prevent tragedies. Please share these materials from the "Anchor It! campaign at your agencies and with the parents with whom you work! Visit the Anchor It! website for more information.

Video about the dangers of furniture tip-over incidents.

Anchor It Tip Sheets and Educational Posters in English and Spanish:






A Challenging Yet Motivating Journey: The Experiences of Young Adult Parents with Serious Mental Health Conditions

Research shows that people with serious mental health conditions tend to become parents at a younger age than their peers. This webinar

 will describe findings from qualitative interviews with 19 young adult parents (ages 22-30) living with serious mental health conditions. These personal narratives provide valuable insight on the unique experiences of young adult parents, a population that has received little attention. Common challenges included childcare, co-parenting, custody arrangements, and housing instability. 

To find additional help and resources to deal with serious mental health conditions, please visit NAMI-NYS

. This is the state organization of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. It provides support to family and friends of individuals with mental illness and persons living with mental illnesses through more than 50 affiliates statewide. 

New Practically Perfect Parenting Podcast Episode Available

The National Parenting Education Network (NPEN) Practically Perfect Parenting Podcast series has a new episode available. This ongoing podcast project tackles some of the biggest issues parents face, with humor and wit. Brought to you by The Charles Engelhard Foundation along with NPEN and hosted by parenting educators John Sommers-Flannagan and Sara Polanchek, each episode pairs cutting edge research in the field and proven techniques. The newly added episode tackles the topic of sibling rivalry.  Share with your clients, or use for a professional development opportunities! 

NYSPEP E-News, October 2018

Training Alert: The Psychobiology of Trauma and Resilience in Families: Strengths in Immigrant and Refugee Communities (Adelphi University)

We often wish we knew how some families and children develop resiliency and are able to triumph in spite of adversity, while others seem unable to rise above their challenges. In examining these important questions, Dr. Sarah Enos Watamura is researching the neurobiological and psychological developments in families with young children--in both the children and the parents. She will help us understand the biological and psychological impacts of trauma for both children and adults, with a focus on the biological embedding of resilience. Her research encompasses newcomer families (immigrant and refugee families) in the United States, and guides us to consider the implications of infant and family mental health. This is a timely and important topic for the many disciplines that touch the lives of young children and families, and will increase our awareness of the physiology of resilience.

The training will be held on October 26th between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at Adelphi University.

To get more information or to register, click here.

NYSPEP Member Spotlight: Wales Brown

For nearly 30 years, Wales Brown, M.A. has dedicated his life to helping parents build stronger, healthier connections with their children throughout upstate New York and beyond. He has developed and implemented collaborative programs focusing on in-home preservation, parent education, and reunification of families with a history of abuse and neglect. His ability to connect with parents and children of varying backgrounds, his immense knowledge, and his dedication has led to state and national recognition in his field.

Wales was a foster parent for more than a decade and is a single father of four boys with special needs who were freed for adoption. He worked in Ecuador, Egypt, and India in children's residential facilities and was a founding member of the Leadership Training Initiative for people living with HIV/AIDS, developing programming to respond to the needs of those in undeserved communities.

His personal and professional background has made him uniquely qualified to work with the children and families of Northeast Parent & Child Society in Schenectady, New York for the past 29 years. He has been responsible for coordinating and teaching parenting groups for parents of children in different age groups through selected evidence-based curriculums. In addition to the group processes, he provides intensive individual in-home consultations and is a clinician in a supervised visitation program, coordinating and coaching visits using a coached visiting model and working with birth parents to build parenting skills and parental bonding. He recently completed his Masters in Adult Learning at Empire State College. He also coordinates a fathering program in his community service work to help fathers that have been separated from their children (www.fatherscareworkshop.com) and works privately in rural areas providing parent education.

He is a roller coaster junkie who has been involved with NYSPEP for six years!


How Brains Are Built: Core Story of Brain Development

Meg Akabas, NPEN Chair and NYSPEP Credentialed Parenting Educator, shared this website and video from the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative. She says: "This short, four-minute "Brain Builders" video does an excellent job of explaining the brain science behind healthy development of infants and young children and the importance of environment and the parent/infant relationship. I plan on using it in some of my classes for expectant parents."

Updated Family Preparedness Wallet Cards and Fact Sheet for Caregivers and Educators

Before the kids go off to school, download and fill out the latest Family Preparedness Wallet Card. You will feel safer knowing your kids have family, medical, and emergency information at their fingertips. In addition to family info, the card gives numbers and websites for a variety of emergency services. Have family members carry a card at all times so they are prepared in case an event occurs when family members are not together. As Wallet Cards are now available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Armenian, and Russian, educators can print out and distribute cards for their students to complete and carry.

All families should have a Family Preparedness Plan as disasters can strike at any time, and there is usually little warning or time to prepare. Download the latest version of the Fact Sheet: Family Preparedness: Thinking Ahead, to learn steps to take before for an emergency event: (1) educate yourself and your family; (2) create a family emergency plan; (3) have a family communication plan; (4) make an emergency supply kit; (5) stay informed during and after an emergency; and (6) practice. The Family Preparedness fact sheet is now available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Armenian, and Russian.


More Attachment Vitamins Lessons!

You can now continue taking the Attachment Vitamins interactive, self-paced e-learning online course for adults working or living with children aged zero to five. Co-created by Alicia Lieberman, expert in parent-child attachment, child development, and trauma, Attachment Vitamins now includes the last four of the nine modules

Lesson 6: Social & Emotional Development in the Toddler and Preschool Years

This lesson explains the role that culture plays on parental expectations of behavior, identifies how executive functioning impacts children's behavior and development, discusses the Theory of Mind and its role in child development, and sets out strategies for parents to use in managing children's behavior.

Lesson 7: Mental Health Concerns in Early Childhood

This lesson identifies the developmental milestones of early childhood, discusses the development of the awareness of self, explains how developmental stages affect children's mental health, and discusses common mental health disorders in early childhood.

Lesson 8: Self-Care When Working in Early Childhood Mental Health

This lesson discusses some of the challenges providers experience in working in early childhood mental health, expains the importance of self-care for parents and providers, and defines reflective supervision.

Lesson 9: Cultural Considerations When Working in Early Childhood Mental Health

This lesson lays out the tenets to developing culturally-informed infant mental health, explains the importance of a culturally-informed infant mental health, explains the importance of a culturally-relevant practice, and gives guidance on engaging special populations.

Richmond County ToT

On August 31st, 2018 NYSPEP brought Community Café Training of Trainers to Richmond County. In partnership with Staten Island Perinatal Network, participants were equipped with knowledge on how to facilitate Community Cafes in their respective communities.  Round table discussions focused on conversations related to the Perinatal age group of 0-5. NYSPEP would like to thank Kara Georgi for facilitating the discussion, as well as the leads of the Staten Island Perinatal Network for their collaboration.