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I am passionate about:
neighborkids, neighborhoods and resident-led community change
A little known fact about me is:
I applied to be an astronaut!
Show my name on the attendees list for events I am attending:
Saint Petersburg, FL, United States
Infant & Child Psychologist
"Everybody needs somebody who is crazy about them. (Thank you Bronfenbrenner!)"
I am a licensed clinical child psychologist with a specialization in infant mental health and a background in complex systems thinking. I have directed clinical training programs and provided consultation to communities across the country seeking to develop Systems of Care for Children’s Mental Health. I served as Principal Investigator of a cross-sector collaborative to develop complexity-informed resources for community sustainability. Together with fellow neighbors, I established place-based efforts in Central-Cocoanut and Lake Maggiore Shores, coming together around babies and kids.
I am reminded of the book by the brilliant anthropologist Michael Agar, "Dope Double Agent: The Naked Emperor on Drugs." I think he would be heartened by your work. It's great that the approach involves students along with teachers and administrators - the diversity of perspectives is sure to generate valuable insights and inventions. One thing I wonder about is the power dynamics that are likely to emerge within teams that include only one adolescent and two adults, given the traditional teen/adult and student/teacher power dynamics that exist. Would it be possible to include at least two teens? It's great how you speak from the perspective of a "grown up teenager" in sharing the story of what inspired you! We are similarly exploring ways to further invest in the capacities of youth so that they can actively participate in collective conversations and local community change efforts as "well-informed, critically thinking stakeholders," as you so clearly put it - though our focus is on children a bit younger, up to age 10. (https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/neighborkid-changemakers) It is encouraging to see a growing number and diversity of efforts that are taking the wisdom and capacities of children and youth seriously!
We also find that coming together around babies is a great strategy for community building, strengthening social capital, promoting early childhood well-being and nurturing civic capacity - both within neighborhoods and the broader community. (https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/neighborkid-changemakers) Your idea of connecting fashion designers and tailors with young children and families in your community - through the use of an available asset, in terms of textiles - is quite creative! It seems like it could be very consistent with Asset-Based Community Development.
Alanna, You say, "A new, ground-up strategy is needed: one where young people are trained and supported to make radical, lasting change in their communities." Yes! We are exploring this too, with a focus on "neighborkids" up to age 10 as the primary changemakers. (https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/neighborkid-changemakers) Your focus on dignity is powerful. Here, we find that people - both children and adults - often talk in terms of the importance of respect, and the problems that arise when people feel disrespected. "Respect" can be such a loaded term, though, in terms of power dynamics. "Dignity" seems to get at the same quality, but perhaps without all the problematic connotations.