This is the first session of a two-part advocacy training during SPARK 2023. This training will equip participants with the information and skills to effectively participate in Social Current’s Hill Day, immediately following the conference, Oct. 18. This session is required for those participating in Hill Day, and all SPARK 2023 participants are invited to join.
In this first training session, participants will learn the fundamental aspects of effective advocacy and develop a strong foundation for future advocacy efforts.
The session will focus on the following key topics:
- Introduction to Advocacy: Participants will gain an understanding of what advocacy is and why it is essential for bringing about change at the local, state, and national levels. They will explore the power of advocacy in influencing policymakers and decision-making processes.
- Navigating the Advocacy Landscape: This segment will provide participants with an overview of the political landscape and the key stakeholders involved in the policymaking process. They will learn how to identify relevant policymakers, government agencies, and advocacy organizations to engage in their advocacy efforts.
- Crafting Powerful Advocacy Messages: Participants will develop skills in preparing persuasive and impactful messages to communicate their objectives effectively. They will learn techniques for framing their issues, using compelling stories and data, and tailoring their messages to resonate with different audiences.
- Building Relationships: This topic will explore the importance of building relationships with policymakers and their staff. Participants will learn strategies for engaging elected officials, fostering meaningful connections, and building long-term partnerships for sustained advocacy.
- Mobilizing Support: Participants will explore strategies for rallying support and building coalitions around their advocacy goals. They will learn how to engage community members, organizations, and allies to amplify their voices and create a broader impact.
This training overlaps with Session B Workshops.
View Part 2 of the training.
Senior Director of Government Affairs
Field Mobilization & Policy Manager
One of the major challenges all nonprofits face today is the retention and development of staff at every organizational level. If you ask, “Does your organization have a professional leadership development program to identify, assess and develop today’s leaders for tomorrow’s challenges?” less than 50% of nonprofit organizations would say yes. However, if you ask about a plan to increase donors and dollars, or to achieve strategic goals, or a budget to maintain financial solvency—all would say yes. This educational and inspirational workshop will identify the five key steps to proactively identify and develop new leaders within your organization. The benefits are significant:
- Employee retention
- Improved morale
- Increased performance and motivation
- Career advancement
- Development of mentors and coaches
- Creates a culture of success
- Energizes the entire organization
- Generates a greater social impact in the communities served
This workshop will provide you with a plan to utilize your own staff as mentors and coaches as well as to promote the new leadership development plan within your organization. The “culture of resignation” has a real solution. Come meet presenter Dennis Miller to hear his incredible true story as well as to share in his knowledge and expertise.
- Proactively identify and develop new leaders within your organization
- Identify the competencies and skills that they will need to be successful
- Create a professional leadership development plan for your entire organization
Dennis C. Miller
Founder & Chairman
DCM Associates Inc.
Terrence F. Cahill, Ed.D
DCM Associates Inc.
From the very personal accounts of a clinician and police officer, who are married, this workshop will provide an overview of how one Maryland police department created a grant-funded Family Wellness Academy called “The Net.” Rooted heavily in brain science and the understanding of trauma, the Family Wellness Academy curriculum provides attendees with a comprehensive understanding of how a career in law enforcement can change a loved one. It is important to acknowledge the historically high rates of suicide within the first-responder community to grasp the essential communication skills needed to care for them. With the help of a rotating staff of local clinicians, attendees become better prepared to ask loved ones not just, “Are you okay?” but also to navigate potentially intense responses.
Workshop participants will leave with a greater understanding of how to further clinical engagement opportunities with law enforcement as well as their larger network of support, including family and friends. In addition, this workshop will discuss the elements of trauma-informed care and brain science that resonate with law enforcement, how to enhance cultural competency for those who work with first responders, and the Family Wellness Academy curriculum. Lessons learned and opportunities for future collaboration will also be explored.
- How to further engagement opportunities with law enforcement and their support networks
- What elements of trauma-informed care and brain science resonate with law enforcement
- Enhance cultural competency of those who work with first responders
- Review Family Wellness Academy curriculum
T/Cpl Wellness Coordinator
Executive Director, Caminos Programs
Board of Child Care
An organization’s ability to provide quality care and services is completely dependent on its ability to care for, equip, and retain its team members. The Buckeye Ranch serves families across a broad continuum of care with multiple, diverse service lines. Since the early 2000s, they’ve established organization-wide standards for serving families through the implementation of their principles of quality care, which are: Strength based, family centered, trauma informed, and culturally responsive. Their understanding of trauma’s impact on the brain has informed the care model and given them a scientific lens through which to implement the principles in their work. As increased turnover and a growing workforce crisis threatened their capacity to provide quality care, they turned attention to the application of these principles as well as the corresponding neuroscience to their team members.
The Buckeye Ranch’s 2020 strategic plan included investments in a deliberate approach toward operationalizing and applying these principles in working with their employees. This effort involved an expansion of their understanding of social-neuroscience to inform the creation of work environments that are not only trauma informed, but also strength based, family centered, and culturally responsive. They have taken a multi-pronged approach to this work, which includes: Restructuring the organization to make professional development a priority, intensive focus on supervisor and manager development, strategic investments in understanding and utilizing team member strengths, and deep dives into organizational self-reflection as well as resource allocation toward culturally respectful responses with their staff. In this presentation, they will offer a brief overview of the brain science informing this work and key strategic initiatives designed to increase employee well-being.
- Basic neurobiology of the stress response and neuro-reward systems
- How social-neuroscience informs the management of stress and reward in the workforce
- Organizational strategies to care for, equip, and retain staff
Director of Professional and Clinical Development
The Buckeye Ranch
Executive Vice President of Innovative Strategies
The Buckeye Ranch
Trauma-Informed Care Administrator
The Buckeye Ranch
In this session, a seasoned panel of peer reviewers for COA Accreditation, a service of Social Current, will guide participants through:
- Self-study and onsite documentation (The BOX)
- Frequent areas of struggle
- The “perfect” site visit
- The post site visit process
Panelists will help participants gain a deeper understanding of these areas, allowing the (re)accreditation process to be a less stressful and more rewarding experience. This session is for those interested in learning more about the accreditation process from those who are in the field. Through many years of experience, panelists have learned simple tips to allow for a smooth accreditation for the organization’s reviewers as well as for the staff who are responsible for organizing the process. Participants will be guided through four key areas to make the process less stressful, easier to organize, and even a little fun. Join this session for an exciting look at these topics and a smooth future site visit.
- What needs to go into site visit documentation and how to make the process easier for organizations and review teams
- Areas where organizations typically struggle and tools to successfully change standard perspectives
- How to prepare for the “perfect” site visit from entrance to exit through guidance from panel members
- Overview of post site visit work
Director of Volunteer Engagement
Chief Operating Officer
Omaha Home for Boys
Retired Vice Present for Quality Management & Corporate Compliance Officer
HeartShare Human Services of New York
Chief Program Officer
Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Senior Director of Campus Life Services
Omaha Home for Boys
Organizations in Social Current’s Texas Change in Mind Learning Collaborative are embedding brain science concepts into everything they do, including their daily work practices. To be well at work, we need to know about basic brain functioning. Our brain mediates our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and as Dr. Bruce Perry, an expert in brain science and trauma, notes “…a brain aware perspective helps me when I’m trying to understand people.” With this knowledge, we can prevent and mitigate the impact of toxic stress on our brains and bodies and achieve the workforce outcomes we strive for—increased trust, stronger relationships, candid conversations, more accountability.
Join this session to explore the brain science strategies critical for a healthy workforce, and how our Texas Change in Mind organizations are bringing them to their daily work.
- Brain science concepts for increasing effective communication and partnering at work
- Regulation strategies that are relevant for the work setting
- Executive functioning, its role in our daily work, and practical ways to reduce executive function burden and strengthen executive function capacities
- Strategies used by Texas Change in Mind organizations to infuse brain science into their daily work
Director of the Change in Mind Institute
Director of Practice Excellence
Deepening the understanding of stress, adversity and trauma is a burgeoning focus in community-based and human services organizations. As part of the understanding of equity and cultural competence within equity, diversity, and inclusion, it is important for organizations to also understand the trauma that exists for people from historically oppressed and marginalized groups. Understanding common language, and practical applications in approaches at the individual, program/organization, and system levels is important to implementing and sustaining transformation. An integrated trauma responsive and equity-focused approach can improve the experience, overall wellness, and long-term engagement, of the workforce and service recipients.
- About the intersection of trauma-responsive practices and equity-focused approaches
- At least one specific, practical action that can support and maintain a resilient workforce
Chief Diversity Officer
Senior Director of Practice Transformation
Innovation is both a process and an outcome. As organizations navigate the continuously changing child welfare system, innovation is more than just managing change as it happens. To ensure an organization is able to support families with the utmost quality, leaders must keep their eyes open and focus on what could be, but also not forget what is. Organizations’ missions, strategic plans, and organizational goals and objectives are all designed to help organizations move forward, improve, and stay on track. However, there are barriers and conditions outside of an organization’s control that impact the speed and direction of movement. Leaders have to reflect on whether movement forward is just movement along the same path or if it is movement to create a new path—with only the latter being innovation.
Change is inevitable and we can’t stop it, but we can decide how we interact with it and what we sculpt from it. Interacting with change innovatively takes strategy, reflection, and continuous adaptation. It also starts with the leader’s vision and framework for staff to follow.
Several organizational change models have been tested over the years, originally developed for the general business world, but they are relevant to child welfare leaders and can be adapted as such. This session will use examples to encourage discussion of how those models can be used practically to inform both strategic decisions and program direction. Leaders will leave with tools they can use to assess which path they are following—the same path or the path of innovation.
- Participants will assess and reflect on where they have been innovative, gotten stuck, and what goals they have for becoming more innovative
- Tools and real-world examples, that can be adapted to assess the status of program/organization and/or future goals
- Actions steps to implement at least one new tool or strategy to move on the path of innovation
Sarah Norris, Ed.D.
Chief Program Officer
Crossnore Communities for Children
Addressing complex challenges of oppression and structural inequity requires that we initiate on a journey of healing and transformation. In this session you will learn five compelling shifts that are the cornerstones to approaching meaningful change. The Five Shifts for Transformation are essential in creating an organizational culture of belonging and oneness. These shifts, such as moving from your head to your heart, are the catalyst for changing our thinking and finding solutions to difficult racial and inequitable thoughts and systems. Participants will learn the shifts and how to apply them to their own personal transformation and to help their organizations transform through an equity lens.
- A trauma-informed, healing-centered approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion
- Define the Five Shifts for Transformation
- Apply the Five Shifts for Transformation both personally and organizationally
Erin Madden Read
Wellbeing, Healing, and Resilience Educator
Vice President of Oneness and Special Advisor to the President