Monroe County Childhood Conditions Virtual Summit (MC3)

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 10am – 3pm

In October of 2020, Youth Services Bureau of Monroe County and Building a Thriving Compassionate Community (BTCC) convened approximately 150 community members for the Monroe County Childhood Conditions Summit (MC3). Our theme of what surrounds us shapes us grounded us in the understanding that children are shaped by the relationships they have, the neighborhoods they live in, the places they learn and play, and the community organizations that serve them.

The 2020 MC3 Summit revisited our original theme and explored conditions surrounding equity, trauma and advocacy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to build thriving compassionate communities, we know we must widen our focus from individual youth and families to the conditions that frame our lives.

Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors (Youth Services Bureau, Monroe County Public Library, Anthem, and Community Justice and Mediation Center), we were excited to share the 2020 summit free of charge. We offered virtual sessions the day of the summit and links to pre-recorded sessions that may be viewed at your own convenience. Below you will find links to recorded sessions, they will be continually updated.


Summit Schedule

Complete session descriptions follow the schedule.

These sessions were held virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, October 27th:

10:00 – 10:45 Opening Session

View the Opening Session

11:00 – 12:00 Concurrent Morning Sessions (3 options)

  1. Engaging Children in Virtual Programming
  2. Teens Tell All: Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic
  3. Can Schools Work Magic Out of Thin Air? How COVID Exposes Indiana’s Unsustainable K-12 Funding*

12:00 – 1:30 Summit Speaks Videos

1:30 – 2:30 Concurrent Afternoon Sessions (3 options)

  1. Youth Action for an Inclusive School Curriculum and Climate*
  2. A Multi-Faceted Approach to Having Candid Conversations About Race With Children*
  3. Youth Trauma and Resilience in a Pandemic*

2:30 – 3:00 Closing Session

View the Closing Session

These sessions will continue to be updated throughout October 2020:

  1.  Inclusive Language: Do I Say This or That? Help!*
  2. Creating Virtual Teen Spaces in Discord: Strategies, Tips, and Tricks*: Available here!
  3. From Stuck to Unstuck: A Toolkit for Responding to Trauma in Our Individual, Family, and Community Systems*
  4. BIPOCx: What is Really Killing Us?*
  5. Understanding and Addressing Microaggressions*

*CEUs are available for these sessions.


Session Descriptions

Morning Session 1: Engaging Children in Virtual Programming

View the recording

Closed captioning for the recording

Description:  Let’s talk about how to develop online programming that is interactive, engaging, safe, and developmentally appropriate. Join WonderLab education director Deirdre Sheets in discussing how WonderLab brought hands-on, interactive learning online. Discussion will include online safety, child development, programming and delivery practices, and how to build an online learning community.

Presenter: Deirdre Sheets

Presenter Bio: Deirdre Sheets has a long and rich background in education. She has taught preschool through adult learners in formal and informal settings as well as in most curricular areas. Her traditional education and experiences are complemented by Montessori training and more than a decade leading a science-rich Montessori elementary program. Her work in secondary and adult public education has allowed her to develop an understanding of individual learning styles and paces as well as practices and approaches that engage and inspire. As WonderLab’s Education Director, Deirdre is responsible for leading the Education Department in bringing WonderLab’s educational philosophy and programming to the public. Deirdre studied Theater and English at Eastern Michigan University and later completed additional degrees in American History and Education, with minors in geography and environmental studies, at Northeastern Illinois University. Additionally, she earned her Naturalist Certification through the Morton Arboretum outside Chicago, IL. Her Montessori Elementary I and II training was completed through the Institute for Guided Studies.

Morning Session 2: Teens Tell All: Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic

View the recording

Link to slides (click here)

Description:  Join us, the Monroe County Youth Council (MCYC), for a panel discussion on the impact of the recent pandemic. In our session we will be describing how our daily lives have changed in relation to school, extracurriculars, work, social media, social life, and mental health. We invite you to get a better understanding of the teen experience in Monroe County and how you can support us in improving the conditions for local youth.

Presenters: Kaitlyn Young, Tara Ganguly, and Estelle Ryhal

Presenter Bios:

Kaitlyn Young is a senior at Bloomington High School North (BHSN) and has been a member of the Monroe County Youth Council (MCYC) for four years. She currently serves as a youth leader with a focus on outreach. Outside of MCYC, she is co-president of BHSN’s Best Buddies program and is a member of National Honors Society and Latin Honors Society. Kaitlyn enjoys swimming and serving ice cream at Bruster’s.

Tara Ganguly, a senior at Bloomington High School North, has been a member of MCYC for four years. She currently serves as publicity director and has previously worked with the League of Women Voters and the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department. Aside from MCYC, Tara dances ballet and is on North’s Model United Nations team. In her free time, Tara enjoys curating her Spotify playlists and playing with her dog.

Estelle Ryhal is a senior at Bloomington High School South. She is a four year member of the Monroe County Youth Council (MCYC), leading the Learning Team. Outside of MCYC, she is the co-president of Bloomington South Democrats, and she enjoys cheerleading, coaching, and theater.  

Morning Session 3: Can Schools Work Magic Out of Thin Air? How COVID Exposes Indiana’s Unsustainable K-12 Funding*

View the recording

Link to slides (click here)

Description:  For over a decade, Indiana legislators have worked at dismantling public education in Indiana under the name of choice. Now, in the time of COVID, schools are struggling more than ever and citizens need to be aware of what is at stake. (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenters: Keri Miksza and Jenny Robinson

Presenter Bios:

Keri Miksza has two children in elementary school in Monroe County Community School Corporation. She was drawn into education advocacy back in 2014 when the ISTEP was clocking in at over 12 hours for an 8-year-old. She has been involved with the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, both in Monroe County and at the state level, since 2014. She is currently vice chair. She also serves as secretary of the Rogers-Binford PTO and was formerly a Girl Scout troop leader to a dozen powerful girls. 

Jenny Robinson is chair of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education–Monroe County, a group she has volunteered with since 2013. She has three kids in local public schools. A Hoosier transplant, she was drawn into education advocacy after Indiana’s school funding cuts of 2009. She has volunteered on school board campaigns and the 2010 and 2016 referendum campaigns for the Monroe County Community School Corporation as well as in her children’s school libraries. She has given public comment at the Indiana statehouse about the teacher shortage, standardized testing, the punitive grading system for schools, funding for high-need students, and new workforce prep graduation requirements.

Afternoon Session 1: Youth Action for an Inclusive School Curriculum and Climate*

View the recording.

Description: This session will raise awareness of racism in schools and a plan for youth-centered action.  By sharing the experiences and perspectives of those in our coalition of students, as well as the process we’re using to collect and analyze trends in the stories and experiences of students and their families, we hope participants will understand (1) how students are affected, (2) why they have been affected, and (3) what we can do about it through a process of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). This presentation has implications for youth-centered action projects and anti-racism efforts at all ages. (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenters: High school students with Community Leadership Building; Dr. Kirstin Milks, BHSS Teacher; Dr. Stephanie Serriere, IUPUC Professor

Presenter Bios:

Community Leadership Building (CLB) is a youth-led action group dedicated to promoting all types of equity in the climate and curriculum at Bloomington High School South and beyond. Their mission, in part, is “for high schools to be a safe environment for BIPOC perspectives and to actively counter all racism and issues of oppression that intersect with race…” The adult facilitators of Community Leadership Building are Dr. Kirstin Milks, a teacher at Bloomington South High School, and Dr. Stephanie Serriere, a professor of education at Indiana University Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC).

Dr. Milks (@DrMilks; she/they) learns from and with AP Biology and Earth/space science students at Bloomington High School South in Bloomington, Indiana. She’s committed to engaging students in authentic scientific and personal practices, collaborating with students and community members to create justice-oriented spaces and opportunities, and supporting and making public the work of teaching and learning. Kirstin is a National Board Certified Teacher, a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and a Senior Fellow at the Knowles Teacher Initiative, where she is an editor-in-chief of the journal Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives. She holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Stanford.

Dr. Stephanie Serriere is a professor of social studies education in the Division of Education at IUPUC. Her research centers around the idea that public schools are places where children learn to be and become citizens who participate in a diverse democracy. In addition to publishing in leading social studies journals and working alongside classroom teachers, Dr. Serriere serves as a national consultant for PBS kids’ programming for social studies content. She is the co-author of the book that is a 5-year case study of a public democratic elementary school, “Civic Education in the Elementary Years: Promoting student engagement in an era of accountability”. It is her goal to promote powerful teaching practices in schools so that civic education remains at the heart of the US public school system with a commitment to justice-oriented citizenship that reaches populations less civically empowered.

Afternoon Session 2: A Multi-Faceted Approach to Having Candid Conversations About Race With Children*

View the recording

Closed captioning for the recording

Description:  Conversations on race and equity are challenging among adults, professionals, and even social justice scholars, so imagine the difficulty that comes from discussing race with children. Research indicates that children begin recognizing and conceptualizing race as early as 4 years old. Join a dynamic panel of community members that includes a community-based organization (CBO), social justice advocate, and parents.

This session is dedicated to normalizing discussions of race with youth in the Monroe County Community. Learn best practices, community resources, and ways to lead an engaging and inclusive discussion with the youth you serve. The panel will explore  the importance of allyship and continuous learning strategies for engaging adults in race-conscious conversations with youth. The session will offer a case study that can be a replicated model for social service agencies, and you’ll hear from long-time community members and parents on how they manage to raise children with strong cultural identity in a predominantly white community and school system. This session will include a panel discussion, a train-the-trainer activity, and a chance to apply what you learn, as well as a resource list to help continue your learning and ability to engage children in conversations about race. (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenters: Ginny Hosler, Monroe County Public Library; Maqube Reese, Tribe LLC; Muhammad Saahir, Blue Sofa Counseling; Nichelle Whitney, The Guarden LLC.

Presenter Bios: Join us for a conversation with Ginny Hosler, Maqube Reese, and Itia and Muhammad Saahir. Each of these individuals bring a unique lens to youth advocacy and conversations on race. Ginny Hosler received her master’s degree in Library Science with a specialty in Youth Services from IU-Bloomington in 2014. Hosler will speak to the importance of allyship and continuous learning strategies for engaging adults in race-conscious conversations with youth. Maqube Reese is full-time at the IU Kelley School of Business as an Assistant Director for Diversity Initiatives. Reese will offer a case study for developing programming with a community-based organization that can be a replicated model for social justice advocacy with youth. Finally, Itia and Muhammad, both long-time community members and parents to six amazing children, will share how they manage to raise children with strong cultural identity in a predominantly white community and school system. Your session is facilitated by Nichelle Whitney. Nichelle owns The Guarden LLC which provides diversity and inclusion training to organizations and teams.

Afternoon Session 3: Youth Trauma and Resilience in a Pandemic*

View the recording

Link to slides (click here)

Description:  Participants in this session will gain an understanding of trauma and what it may look like for young people and how to mitigate the effects of trauma by fostering resilience through community and youth-led initiatives.  While the information presented will be applicable for any instance of trauma or crisis, it will be centered around the current, collective trauma that is COVID-19.  Attendees will be provided with resources via an interactive game and charged with actionable items that they can move forward with in the community. (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenter: Lindsey Badger

Presenter Bio: Lindsey Badger is the Prevention Program Coordinator and Educator at Middle Way House. She teaches curriculum on Building Healthy Relationships, DV/SV prevention, and Teen Peer-Advocacy to youth in Monroe County. Additionally, she facilitates Queer Peer Advocacy and Queer Talk for LGBTQIA+ community members. She is the President of New Leaf-New Life and guides their program team. Through New Leaf, she has been facilitating transformative justice programming in the jail for almost 10 years. She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Communication and Culture, Indiana University, Bloomington. Among other awards acknowledging her teaching and community investments, she has been recognized as the 2018 recipient of the IU Communication and Culture Outstanding Teacher Award and 2016 recipient of the City of Bloomington “Be More Knowledgeable” Award for her innovative Education/Literacy initiatives.

Pre-Recorded Session 1:  Inclusive Language: Do I Say This or That? Help!*

Description: The words you choose to use can be damaging to the recipients.  By participating in this session, participants will understand how word choice is critical to being inclusive.  We will learn the most politically correct terms, the history of some popular phrases, and how to stop being hurtful. (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenter: Dr. Gina Forrest, MPH

Presenter Bio: Dr. Gina is a native Hoosier and wants to make Indiana a more inclusive, healthier and happier state!  

She has earned a MPH (Master of Public Health) and a PhD in Health Behavior from Indiana University – Bloomington.  Her research focus is health disparities. 

Dr. Gina has been in the field of training and facilitating discussions in the areas of diversity,inclusion, equity and cultural awareness for over twelve years. Topics include Implicit Bias, Race and Ethnicity, Working across the Generations, Healthy Communication, Aging, Gender Identity, Socioeconomic Status, and Inclusive Language. 

In addition, she has over 13 years of experience in the public health field where her expertise is in grant management, conducting needs assessments, program planning, and evaluation.  Dr. Gina has taught undergraduate courses at Butler University and Indiana University – including Health Disparities, Public Health Program Planning, Public Health Administration, Healthcare in Diverse Communities, Personal Health, Exploring Public Health, and Community Health, and Human Sexuality. 

Link to Recording: Coming soon.

Pre-Recorded Session 2:  Creating Virtual Teen Spaces in Discord: Strategies, Tips, and Tricks*

View the recording

Slideshow (links from recording included)

Description: Come learn how MCPL has utilized Discord as a platform to engage with our teen audience during the coronavirus pandemic. We will discuss our specific goals, outcomes, and strategies for success; we will also cover how we built the server and other nuts and bolts that could help other organizations set up their own Discord server. (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenters: Sam Ott, Jen Hoffman, Jon Paull, Macklin

Presenter Bios: Jen Hoffman, Macklin, and Sam Ott have Master of Library Science degrees from IU and specialize in working with teens at MCPL. We are using Discord as a way to transition our pre-pandemic services to the virtual world in order to meet the needs of our audience and provide opportunities for engagement, programming, and peer-to-peer interaction while our physical spaces are closed. Jon Paull has a background in computer science and also works in our teen spaces and used those dual skills to construct the server. We have been successfully running our MCPL Teen Services Discord since the start of July so we have experience with outlining services, role management (and troubleshooting), and fostering engagement.

Pre-Recorded Session 3:  From Stuck to Unstuck: A Toolkit for Responding to Trauma in Our Individual, Family, and Community Systems*

Description: It is likely that you encounter individuals who have experienced some form of trauma (stress, poverty, racism, abuse or more). How you interact with someone who has experienced trauma can affect that person and your work. Information on trauma and its treatment has grown, as has its recognition by a growing number of community health practitioners in the United States, including teachers, physicians, psychologists, therapists and social workers.  As our net ability to understand trauma increases, the need to dislodge it becomes urgent. In this presentation we will describe how awareness of trauma is not the end of the process. Participants will learn to identify the ways trauma remains embedded in systems of care even after it is recognized by our community. Moreover, to prevent trauma from getting stuck, participants will learn ways to dislodge trauma from the individual and how to move trauma through the system.

In recent years, advancing knowledge of trauma informed care has raised awareness of the ways trauma gets stuck or embedded in a system due to such things as negative labels, the failure to identify trauma, a lack of resources, the lack of joyful and healthy connections in a system, and the trauma of care providers. Additionally, from the field of neurobiology, we have gained insight into the effects of the vagal system and memory in processing trauma.  Participants will walk away from this training with an integrated understanding of how to discuss trauma and improve the culture of care where trauma is present. Participants will expand their toolkit for responding to trauma in a more humane and holistic manner, informed by cutting-edge research. (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenters: Sky Adams, Sara Farmer, Grace Theofanis

Presenter Bios: Catholic Charities Bloomington is a community mental health center that provides quality mental health services to persons in need across the lifespan, regardless of their religious, social, or economic background and ability to pay. We consider it a privilege to deliver compassionate and caring services to support and empower those in need. 

Sky Adams, LMHCA: Sky graduated from Indiana University in 2019 with his master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Sky is currently the Play Therapy Coordinator at Catholic Charities Bloomington and specializes in working with children and families.  

Sara Farmer, MA, MSW: Sara graduated from Indiana University in 2020 with her master’s degree in Social Work. Sara integrates play therapy, Theraplay-techniques and attachment-based therapy techniques into her counseling practice with the children and families she serves.  

Grace Theofanis, M.S. Ed.: Grace graduated from Indiana University in 2020 with her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Grace integrates play therapy, Theraplay-techniques and attachment-based therapy techniques into her counseling practice with children and families she serves.

Link to Recording: Coming soon.

Pre-Recorded Session 4: BIPOCx: What Is Really Killing Us?*

Description: Racism is a public health crisis.  It is a driving force of the social determinants of health (like housing, education and employment) and a barrier to health equity.  The intergenerational trauma of racism creates extra burdens to overcome and negatively affects the dimensions of health and wellness of BIPOCx. Dr. Gina, a public health expert, will sit down with us to answer some of your questions about addressing these injustices.  (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenter:  Dr. Gina Forrest, MPH

Presenter Bio:

Dr. Gina is a native Hoosier and wants to make Indiana a more inclusive, healthier and happier state!  

She has earned a MPH (Master of Public Health) and a PhD in Health Behavior from Indiana University – Bloomington.  Her research focus is health disparities. 

Dr. Gina has been in the field of training and facilitating discussions in the areas of diversity,inclusion, equity and cultural awareness for over twelve years. Topics include Implicit Bias, Race and Ethnicity, Working across the Generations, Healthy Communication, Aging, Gender Identity, Socioeconomic Status, and Inclusive Language. 

In addition, she has over 13 years of experience in the public health field where her expertise is in grant management, conducting needs assessments, program planning, and evaluation.  Dr. Gina has taught undergraduate courses at Butler University and Indiana University – including Health Disparities, Public Health Program Planning, Public Health Administration, Healthcare in Diverse Communities, Personal Health, Exploring Public Health, and Community Health, and Human Sexuality. 

Link to Recording: Coming soon.

Pre-Recorded Session 5: Understanding and Addressing Microaggressions*

View the Recording.

Description: In this session, participants will develop a shared language and understanding of how microaggressions show up in youth work environments. We will clarify why there is a need to address microaggressions for the health, sense of belonging, and wellbeing of young people and youth workers.  We will then strategize on how to respond to challenging scenarios and move forward to build equity and inclusion in youth work settings. (CEUs are available for this session.)

Presenters: Stephanie Solomon and Nichelle Whitney

Presenter Bios:

Stephanie Solomon is the Prevention Coordinator with Youth Services Bureau, with a focus on promoting healthy relationships and environments for youth and families in Monroe County.  She is a graduate of Indiana University with 18 years of experience in the social service sector and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Public Health.  She is a member of Building a Thriving Compassionate Community (BTCC), mentor for the Monroe County Youth Council, Adult Ally with the Prism Youth Community, and member of the Implicit Bias Community of Practice. 

Nichelle Whitney is the creator of The Guarden. She spent much of her adult life as a scholar, a professional, and community-change agent. Her heart for diversity education stems from the notion that education is important, but grace, accountability and reconciliation are required. In addition to diversity and inclusion workshops, Nichelle leads diversity recruitment and outreach efforts for an institution of higher learning, chairs the Monroe County Women’s Commission, serves with the Community Foundation of Bloomington & Monroe County Board of Directors as a Fellow, and chairs the Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee for the state of Indiana.



Information about previous MC3 summits can be found here: 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019