This event is open to the NKU and the northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati community. There is no charge to participate, but registration is required. Lunch will be provided at the Think Tank Session on Tuesday, October 30, but you must register in order to secure your lunch.
Parking will be available in the Kenton Garage, near Griffin Hall and the Student Union. See our campus map/directions.
Family and friends tried to keep Justin safe and thriving, living with his birth mother when he could and with them when he couldn’t. But when he was four years old, Justin entered foster care for the first time. He continued to move between foster care, kinship care, and his birth mother’s home until he was seven years old—when he joined the family that would adopt him two years later. Justin’s big Italian adoptive family recognized the importance of maintaining his ties with his birth mother, his half-sister and her family in England, and other birth relatives.
With the love and support of so many and a good public education, Justin thrived; by senior year in high school, he was Class President and Valedictorian. During his senior year at Harvard College, Justin was in a community action class; he recognized many youth in care didn’t have the consistent relationships he had had, and so began the work to develop Silver Lining Mentoring: an organization that helps youth flourish through committee mentoring relationships and the development of critical life skills.
He went to Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government, hoping to work in broader systems and reduce the need for foster care. This led him to Children’s HealthWatch, a research and policy organization that improves the health and development of young children by informing policies to address and alleviate economic hardships. Seeking to address educational and social-emotional needs, as well as material needs—and wanting to work in the diverse community he loves--Justin moved to become Executive Director of the East Boston Social Centers, a 100-year old settlement house organization serving people across the lifespan. He remains there today.
Justin will speak about his personal and professional journey, the family and community that improved his odds of success, and his work to improve the odds of success for others by expanding access to address material needs, opportunities to learn and thrive, and transformative hope and joy.
Join us as we examine the far-reaching issue of poverty in our region, share programs currently in place to address it, and consider how we can work across the community to provide solutions that help those impacted by poverty overcome it.
LaDonna Redmond, a food justice activist, inspired us to focus on how we can build a future of health and prosperity for all.
Her keynote address and the discussions that followed challenged us to shift the current narrative of lack and insecurity to building societies free from various forms of oppression including food injustice.
Jessica Lynch, a former Private First Class (PFC) in the United States Army and a former Prisoner of War, spoke to us about the importance of perseverance during our Spring 2017 Think Tank event on April 5. She had been injured and captured by Iraqi forces in March of 2003 after her unit was ambushed in Iraq. She was rescued after nine days in captivity on April 1, 2003 by U.S. special operations forces. Jessica’s rescue was the first successful rescue of an American POW since World War II.
Our think-tank session on April 6 featured a plenary panel and breakout sessions on the topics of toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences, trauma-informed care and teaching, resilience and wellbeing.
Dr. Crystal Laura helped us to broaden the discussion around school- and community-based efforts that can disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.
The goal of the think tank was to develop individual and collective commitments to address the issues raised throughout Dr. Laura’s talk and the resulting discussions.
His most recent book is Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Bloomsbury Press. His career as a journalist has spanned almost 30 years. He lived for 10 years as a freelance writer in Mexico, where he wrote his first two books. In 2004, he returned to the United States to work for the L.A. Times, covering immigration, drug trafficking, neighborhood stories, and gangs.
Too many of today’s students, particularly those in impoverished neighborhoods, are not receiving the educational opportunities they need and deserve. Suggested strategies for integrating academic scholarship and reform efforts via social media and other alliances to improve student achievement and school success via community-based reform were presented.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO OF DR. VASQUEZ HEILIG'S PRESENTATION