Always learning

I am always learning. Whether its from experience, a conference /class or reading, I am always on a quest to be the very best foster parent I can be! The past 2 days I attended a conference. I soaked in hoards of information. I wanted to share my thoughts here to inspire others to get involved with their educational opportunities.

Keynote Speaker, John Halligan

John and Kelly Halligan lost their thirteen year old son, Ryan, to suicide on October 7, 2003. At the time of his death, Ryan was a student at a middle school in Essex Junction, Vermont. It was revealed in much greater detail after Ryan’s death that he was ridiculed and humiliated by peers at school and on-line. In memory of his son, John spearheaded the Vermont Bully Prevention bill which was signed into law (ACT117) in May 2004 and only a few months after Ryan’s death . He also successfully led the passage of the law pertaining to mandatory suicide prevention education in public schools (ACT 114) in April 2006.

I heard John both as a keynote speaker and also took his class- both were phenomenal! His keynote address was deeply personal and I found tears falling many times as I pictured my sons Goofy & Pluto in the face of his some Ryan. His class was extremely well done with lots of information about bullying and cyberbully. As an experienced internet/computer user, I still found many tips that I could take home and apply to my life.

Jack’s Brain, Jill’s Brain with The Upside Down Organization

Established in 2007, The Upside Down Organization (UDO) has built its reputation on providing high quality, dynamic learning experiences for child-serving professionals in the United States and abroad. Partnered with The Children’s Guild and functioning as its external training arm, UDO is unique in that it doesn’t just offer professional development – it serves children and families every day.

An instructor can make a class… I would take anything offered by Heather Higgins! This class discussed the differences of boys & girls and how the brain works. She was able to keep us entertained and laughing and, most of all, learning!

Keynote Speaker, David Roche

David’s face distinguishes him from all other presenters and motivational speakers. What really makes David unique, however, is his remarkable spirit, warmth, wit and authenticity. David has transformed the challenges and gifts of living with a facial disfigurement into a compelling message that uplifts and delights audiences around the world. The story of his heroic journey from shame to strength has inspired standing ovations from the Clinton White House to the Sydney Olympics Arts Festival, from most of the 50 states to Canada, England, New Zealand and Moscow.

I heard David both as a keynote speaker and also took a class from him. While he did have a strong message about overcoming his different appearance, I did not feel I left with something tangible that I could take home and apply to my life.

I am so grateful that our agency encourages us to attend so many varied trainings. I plan to take advantage of as many as I can (with the secret goal of achieveing the most training hours in one year in our state, LOL)

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