Undoing Racism: Child Life Professional Development Workshop

Child Life of Greater NY is sponsoring an Undoing Racism workshop of Oct. 25 & 26 in New York City.

Join us for the workshop Undoing Racism. This workshop, using the lens of healthcare and its intersection with race will support Child Life Specialists as they examine their own bias, provide tools for dismantling and disrupting policies that diminish the very voices we aim to amplify.

The Undoing Racism​TM​/Community Organizing workshop is an intensive 2-day workshop designed to educate, challenge and empower people to “undo” the racist structures that hinder effective social change. The training is based on the premise that racism has been systematically constructed and that it can be “undone” when people understand where it comes from, how it functions, why it is perpetuated, and what we can do to dismantle it.

The workshop is offered by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, a national, multiracial, anti-racist collective of veteran organizers and educators dedicated to building an effective movement for social change. Since its founding in 1980, The People’s Institute has trained over 1 million people in hundreds of communities throughout the United States and internationally. It is recognized as one of the most effective anti-racist training and organizing institutions in the nation. ​www.pisab.org

The workshop addresses the following areas:
Analyzing power – ​Effective organizing requires an accurate analysis of the systems that keep racism in place. The training examines why people are poor, how institutions and organizations perpetuate the imbalance of power, and who benefits from the maintenance of the status quo.

Recognizing the internalized manifestations of racial oppression – ​The training explores how internalized racial oppression manifests itself both as Internalized Racial ​Inferiority and Internalized Racial ​Superiority​.

Defining racism – ​To undo racism, organizers and educators must understand what racism is, and how and why it was constructed. The training explores how the idea of “race” was created to implement systems that benefit some people and oppress and disadvantage others.

Understanding the manifestations of racism – ​Racism operates in more than just individual and institutional settings. The training examines the dynamics of cultural racism, linguistic racism, and militarism as applied racism.

Learning from history – ​Racism has distorted, suppressed and denied the histories of people of color and white people as well. The training demonstrates that a full knowledge of history is a necessary organizing tool as well as a source of personal and collective empowerment.

Sharing culture – ​The training process demonstrates that even as racism divides people, sharing culture unites us. Cultural sharing is a critical organizing tool and is central to the training.

Organizing to “Undo Racism​TM​”​ – ​The training explores principles of effective organizing, strategic techniques for supporting Poor communities getting a sense of their own power, the importance of accountability to community, and the internal dynamics of leadership development.

When: Event will be held on both Friday, October 25th and Saturday, October 26th from 9 am-5 pm. Lunch will be provided.
Where: Please note that the event will be held in two locations: The Interchurch Center and Bank Street College of Education- more information provided after sign up.

Limited spots available for this event. Please contact us at CLGNYconference@gmail with questions.

Click here to register

6 TED Talks That Reinforce the Importance of Play

Children at play

Guest Blogger, Jennifer Cantis

Studies have shown how vital playfulness is to creativity, relaxation, and peace of mind.

Play is critical for a stable, more productive life experience.

Don’t believe me? Take some time to watch the following six TED Talks. Each will inspire you in different ways to get in touch with your inner-child spirit in order to tackle your adult problems. Whether its playful thinking or playful activities, the next time you’re stuck on a problem, try working through it by use of play!

Tim Brown: Tales of Creativity and Play

In Tim’s speech, he opens with an exercise where he has the audience draw a person in a seat next to them. The catch is that you only have thirty seconds to complete the drawings. As you can imagine, the exercise gets quite a few laughs from the audience. However, something else happens, too: Many people can be heard apologizing to the subject of their thirty-second artwork. “Sorry,” they say, often with a giggle. This is when Tim makes his first point.

“We fear the judgment of our peers,” Tim explains. “This fear is what causes us to be conservative in our thinking. So, we might have a wild idea, but we are afraid to share it with anybody else.” However, Tim points out that this fear does not hamper the creativity of children. Kids will proudly show off their scribbles to anyone willing to look. Unfortunately, as we go from childhood to adolescence and beyond, we become significantly more sensitive to the opinions of others.

Also, studies show that children who feel most secure tend to feel most free about their ability to be creative. Thus, isn’t it logical that employers strive to create this same sense of security in the workplace? Shouldn’t we work to promote environments that boost creativity to inspire our employees to produce innovative ideas?

As Tim points out, many of the most successful companies have appreciated and implemented this idea. These companies want their employees to think outside of the box. They want to empower them to take risks. For example, Google’s offices often look like a mix between the ultimate recess playground and an awesomely interesting museum! They want to encourage creativity in employees through play and environmental stimulation.

Another point Tim makes is the way adults try to categorize every item they come across. Adults tend to ask what an item is, “but kids are more engaged with open possibilities.” As Tim explains, “They will certainly ask ‘What is it?’, but they will also ask ‘What can I do with it?’” It is this question—What can I do with it?—that unlocks the creative possibilities. It is this question that we, as adults, do not ask enough!

Jay Silver: Change the World

Jay’s take on play also leans heavily toward creativity and innovation. In his speech, he largely focuses on the ability to turn everyday items into mind-blowing products and pieces of technology.

He explains that, as a kid, he realized a fact that would forever change his life. “I thought, okay, the way the world works can be changed. And it can be changed by me in these small ways!” He began taking man-made items that were designed for a specific purpose and began creating innovative ways the items could be used.

Later in life, Jay was inspired to start a maker movement. He gathered together a group of teens and encouraged them to go into the woods to see what they could create from the natural world around them. Very quickly, the kids began crafting cool pieces of art!


Erin McKean: Go Ahead, Make Up New Words!

Erin is a lexicographer, which means it is her job to add words to the dictionary. Erin explains, “My job is not to decide what a word is; that is your job. Everybody who speaks English decides, together, what’s a word and what’s not a word. Every language is just a group of people who decide to understand each other.”

During the talk, Erin explains that some people can get very uppity when society wants to create a new word. These people moan and groan, protesting about grammar issues and how a particular word makes no sense. However, this argument is false. As Erin points out, all words were made up by someone at some point in history. In her opinion, a world with more words is a greater place to live.

“Every word is a chance to express your idea and get your meaning across, and new words grab people’s attention. They get people to focus on what you’re saying and that gives you a better chance to get your meaning across.”

Feeling imaginative? Erin walks you through the six different types of words so you can create your own!

Arvind Gupta: Turning Trash into Toys for Learning

In his talk, Arvind promotes an eco-friendly form of play. He explains that earlier in his life he was living in a small village where they had a weekly bazaar. One week when he went, he bought several small items—mostly trinkets—that many would consider junk. One item he purchased was a cycle valve tube, which is essentially a thin rubber tube.

Quickly, he realized how simple it would be to cut small pieces of the tube off and attach matchsticks to the inside of the tube. The rubber’s flexibility would allow the tube to bend around the matchstick. With three matchsticks inside the tube, you could create a triangle, four a square, and so on.

Gupta takes his form of recycle play even further by using discarded items like CDs, magnets, batteries, and paperclips to make engines and turbines. He even does some amazing things with paper!

As Gupta explains, what you can build and do with everyday discarded items “is just limited by your own imagination.”


Steve Keil: A Manifesto for Play, for Bulgaria and Beyond

Concerned about the future well-being of Bulgaria, Steve pushes play as the way to create a greater future for his home country.

In his opinion, Bulgaria is too serious for its own good. Steve believes this is stifling creativity and innovation in his country. He uses multiple studies to show how play can improve the world, including Bulgaria.

Steve encourages a playful atmosphere in the workplace where you treat workers with trust and respect. “Play improves our work,” he explains. “It stimulates creativity. It increases openness to change. It improves our ability to learn. It provides a sense of purpose and mastery.” By introducing play to the workplace, productivity improves.

Charlie Todd: The Shared Experience of Absurdity

Charlie loves to shake things up. He started Improv Everywhere when he moved to New York City. He and his friends pull creative stunts in public places, all for the joy of bringing strangers together for a shared experience.

“One of the points of Improv Everywhere is to cause a scene in a public place that is a positive experience for other people. It’s a prank, but it’s a prank that gives people a great story to tell.”

Final Thoughts

These podcasters recognize play is just as important for adults as it is for kids. “We don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow up,” according to Scott G. Eberle, Ph.D., vice president for play studies at The Strong and editor of the American Journal of Play. Play is critical for creativity, problem-solving, and relationships.

Beautifully Different: Children’s Book Spotlight and Giveaway

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Guest post: Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures: Beautifully Different

Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures is a series of children’s picture books written by Dana Salim and illustrated by Pavel Goldaev.

Beautifully Different, the second book in the Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures series, teaches children that every person is different but that’s what makes us beautiful. 

Yousuf wonders if being different is a good or a bad thing. Kids who are different get teased, bullied and picked on. It would be a lot simpler if everyone were the same. Yousuf’s dad suggests that he play the Time Travel game to see if he can find some answers. Yousuf loves that game. He settles back in a comfortable position, closes his eyes, clears his mind of distracting thoughts, and before he knows it, he is on a boat heading towards a far-away island.

Why are people different?

Why can’t we be the same?

Find out with Yousuf,

in the Imagination Game.

Get yourself ready

to sing, swing and shout!

The Weeds are coming,

and there’s only one way out.

“Beautifully Different offers children a fun-filled and enlightening fable wherein Yousuf learns why being yourself is special and perfect, even if you’re not like everyone else in school. I loved following Yousuf as he travels over the waves and learns for himself the importance of celebrating diversity. He sees how if different people join together, they become strong enough to stand up to the bullies, and, in their unity, become even more special. The illustrations in this book are marvelous! Each panel is bright and cheerful with bold colors that pop off the page as Yousuf plays his Time Travel game and discovers that being different is beautiful, and that appreciating everyone’s differences is best of all. Beautifully is most highly recommended.” –Readers’ Favorite 

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The first book in the series, Dreamland with Mommy, is the perfect book to read before bedtime. An exciting adventure filled with colorful illustrations and an amusing rhyming riddle, the story takes readers on a magical journey to dreamland.

Bedtime is here, it’s time for a game,
Yousuf and his mom decide.
Adventures are waiting to be explored,
as reality and Dreamland collide.
Come join them on this journey,
to a land where dreams come true.
From musical birds to a wacky pirate,
take our hand and join the crew!

Parents around the world have been creating wondrous bedtime stories and songs for their children for centuries… those stories and songs fade away like dreams as kids get older and tuck themselves in at night. Dreamland With Mommy reawakens memories of the crazy, cozy homespun bedtime stories many of us heard from our own parents and elder siblings. It provides children with a new way of looking creatively at the world, while also providing adult readers with the inspiration to keep the tradition of storytelling alive.” — Dawud Wharnsby

“Dreamland with Mommy by Dana Salim is a wonderful book ideal for bedtime. I picked up the book for my three year old and it is much cherished by myself and my son. Combined with stunning illustration by Pavel Goldaev, it takes us on a magical journey to dreamland where we get to meet elephants, singing birds and a pirate on a boat on wheels!”— S. Jaleel

My daughter and I love reading this book together! The story is exciting, fun and easy to read. My daughter loves the pictures in this book and stops to talk about everything she sees on the pages. It’s a great book that will keep your child engaged the whole time.” – Ashley Kline

About the Author:

Dana Salim

Dana Salim loves singing silly songs, standing in the breeze and eating chocolate cake. But most of all she loves spending time with her son, Yousuf, and her husband. From row-boating, walking on frozen lakes, hiking to caves and waterfalls, to reading new books and learning new things; everyday holds an exciting adventure for the family!

Her first children’s book “Dreamland with Mommy” is the first book in the series “Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures”. The second book “Beautifully Different” will be coming out April 2017. (So stay tuned!)

Dana’s childhood adventures were split between Amman, Jordan and Vancouver, Canada. She finished Industrial Engineering at the University of Jordan before moving to Ohio, which was home for four awesome years. And now she resides in McAllen, Texas where she is always on the lookout for new adventures with her family.

Dana founded DS Publishing, LLC with her husband in August, 2016. Their mission is to provide products that instill and encourage diversity, acceptance and confidence in one’s self and dreams.

And if there’s one thing she would want to tell you right now it would be “Believe in yourself and go after your dreams, it’s never too early or too late. Right now is the best time to do it!”

To learn more, go to www.danasalim.com

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We will be giving away a copy of Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures: Beautifully Different, to one lucky winner!
Choose one or more ways to enter:

1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave comment below.

2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy and tag a friend.

3. Facebook: Follow Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures and leave a comment about the giveaway.

4. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy

5. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy, Like and tag a friend in the post.

Good Luck! Winner will be chosen 4/22/17

Beautifully Different Winner