Learning Session "D" - Tuesday April 26, 2022 
10:30 am - 11:45 am

Student Oriented Workshop

D1     Know Your Education Rights and Become Your Own Advocate

Amanda Burckhardt, Alliance for Children's Rights, Education Advocate & Trainer


As a highly transient student population, foster youth face many unique challenges in the education system resulting in only about 51% graduating from high school and 3% receiving any type of college degree. In order to mitigate the negative effects of school instability and trauma, foster youth have special education protections not afforded to other students. These laws are only meaningful if someone knows about them and advocates for their implementation. In this training, youth will learn what their education rights are and how to effectively advocate for themselves in school through an interactive experience.

D2     "I Don't Feel Like Talking." Using Expressive Arts to Support Self-Expression with Foster Youth

Christine Dennis, Lake Elsinore Unified School District, LCSW, PPSC, District Social Worker - Foster Youth Program


Expressive arts are a multimodal approach to self-discovery and self-expression that uses music, body movement, creative writing, art, and drama to process our internal emotions and experiences. Join this immersive workshop as attendees are guided through interactive projects to experience the effects of expressive arts firsthand. The arts are a diverse tool that can be used with different populations and cultures. Current research will be presented to explore the impact of using art to process trauma and support mental health. Expressive arts can be a valuable tool for groups, rapport building, classes, mentorships and more!  The arts are an internal process that does not require another person; making it a valuable method for foster youth to use independently when they do not have anyone to talk to, or when they don’t know how to express and process how they are feeling. Two interactive activities will be facilitated during the workshop. The first activity will allow attendees to experience a creative writing activity and the second activity will be an art-based activity using paints.

D3     Integrating Trauma-Informed Healing and Community Care in Foster Youth Services 

Nikita Gupta, Resilience Education and Training, President/Consultant


The massive uncertainties and shifts of the last two years have catalyzed the need for enhancing the ways in which we make space for deep collective care and community healing.  In this session, we will explore the questions of how and where to make space for community care, and what to do in those spaces once we have created them. This session will focus on simple ways to integrate trauma-informed practices into existing services. Participants will practice and learn a restorative practice and will discuss ideas that they can implement for their Foster Youth. Participants will learn a practice for nervous system regulation that will benefit themselves and the Youth they serve.

D4     Youth Engagement Project- Incorporating Youth Voice on a Child Welfare/Probation County Level and Statewide Level

Kelly Hood, Youth Engagement Project, Director


County Child Welfare Systems and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) need youth voices at the forefront of decision making. Participants will hear how the Youth Engagement Project (YEP) has been successful in engaging youth on the county and statewide level by current youth with lived experience. Participants will obtain strategies on how to properly have youth voice incorporated by engaging in hands-on activities and a panel of youth and county professionals. Additionally, they will learn how having youth voice incorporated in your county and how YEP has helped their youth professionals develop self-sufficiency, supported them through professional personal goals and fostered stability.

D5     Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Practices to Re-engage Youth

Alexis Villa, Associate Dean; Elizabeth Sanchez, Student Success Specialist and Xavier Reyna

Imperial Valley College


Come learn how to implement Diversity, Equity and Inclusive (DEI) practices that we use to reconnect youth to school in a post-covid environment. We will provide workshop ideas and examples on how to re-engage students. In addition, we will discuss supportive services and leadership opportunities for youth in an educational setting.. Moreover, we will have information on how to give youth a voice and provide follow up materials on how to implement these practices at your school/agency. Attendees will leave this session with knowledge about our holistic approaches and basic needs program model.

D6     The DOR "Employment, Independence, and Equality” Bridge for Youth with Disabilities In/After Foster Care

Nancy Wentling, Policy Manager; Brenna Lammerding, Policy Analyst & Shanti Ezrine, Policy Analyst

CA Department of Rehabilitation


Learn about the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) commitment to help youth and students with disabilities involved in the foster care system to thrive in the world of work as a pathway to independence and equality. DOR Student Services and the vocational rehabilitation program can support youth whether they want to get a job, explore career pathways, or consider a full plan to support their unique goals for employment and independence. Hear about the power of advocacy and self-advocacy in uplifting youth voice and promoting disability inclusion in school and in the workplace. Learn how DOR builds bridges with other state and local programs to ensure vocational goals and youth rights are woven into transition plans to support youth during and after foster care.  Lastly, our presentation will cover how to apply for or refer youth with disabilities to DOR programs, and where to go for more information.

D7     Go Make A Difference

Kevon Lee, National activist for anti-bullying, education, and at-risk youth

Come join me in this interactive presentation that tells the story of a child who experienced homelessness, the foster care system, bullying, and educational barriers. The inspiring and empowering story will light a new flame in every educator that hears it. Educators will learn the importance of being in a child's life, and how it only takes one caring adult to put the child on the right path. They will learn how to win the heart of students to break the barrier between educator and student. Every child needs an educator to be the difference in their lives to lead them to success. Learn how the child is dependent on us in order to be the mentor they desperately need.

D8      Too Much to Do -Too Few People: Creatively Using the Virtual Platform for Professional Development

Denise Lang, Program Coordinator, Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program, Monterey County Office of Education

Daniel Tallent, The Tallent Pool

Monterey County, like many other counties has been grappling with the idea of how to train and support teachers/counselors/etc. who are working with foster youth, with limited staffing of their own.  They developed a series of videos that can help them do just that. Subjects include AB167/216, AB 490, Trauma Informed Care, etc.  Come learn how they decided to do the video series, what it took to put them together and how they plan on getting them out to the people who would benefit from the training.  Leave with information on how you can replicate this in your area.

D9     Success Road Map  - this workshop is repeated in session A

Michelle Slade, Founder & Chief Strategist; Bethtina Woodridge, Associate Strategist; 

Cindy Aguilar-Castaneda, Assisting Strategist

C4 Consulting


Students - please join us in this interactive workshop.  You will walk away from this experience with enhanced knowledge, understanding, and ability to set and achieve your goals.  We will work together to help you gain better understanding of your passions/purpose and core values. Leave with a new road map to help you succeed in your journey.