Partnership for After School Education

Our inaugural Forum series will focus on the trauma and the healing facing our field. As we enter a new season, acute trauma is now becoming more chronic trauma, and with it comes a new set of considerations.


Join us at our October Forum to discuss what healing spaces and practices can look like to sustain the energy, connection, and resilience of the afterschool field and the youth and families we work with. Each forum will feature a main speaker to frame the issues and breakout workshops to delve deeper and to share more hands-on training and activities. We hope you will join us!

What to expect? Forums are an invitation to participate in an active community dialogue on issues facing our field, and we encourage active participation through a variety of means. The opening plenary and breakout workshops will be hosted via Zoom Meetings and attendees are encouraged to turn their video on, use Chat, and when prompted unmute themselves to fully engage in the forum. Breakout sessions will be smaller, allowing for more intimate conversations and hands on activities. We will also share a co-authored Google Doc that all attendees will have access to, and encourage the sharing of resources and questions.

9:45 am – 10:00 am CHECK-IN

Log in early to set up your video and audio, and update your profile name to include your full Name, Pronoun(s), Organization Name.

10:00 am – 11:00 am PLENARY

Featuring Lorelei Atalie Vargas, the plenary will discuss the different levels of trauma experienced over the last few months. Exploring the links between individual, collective, and organizational trauma, the conversation will also include ways organizations can become more trauma responsive places of work.

The plenary will be recorded.

11:00 – 11:15 BREAK

11:15 am – 1:00 pm BREAKOUT WORKSHOPS

Workshops are first come, first served.

Workshops will not be recorded.

Breakout Workshop #1 - Vicarious Trauma and the Importance of Self Care

Featuring Dr. Deb Courtney. Explore the impacts of trauma and vicarious trauma on our minds and bodies. Conduct a self-care inventory, and learn a variety of self-care practices that you can incorporate into your daily practice including EFT, Mindfulness, Meditation, etc.

Primary Audience: This workshop is especially for front-line staff looking to understand the effects of trauma and to learn strategies and practices they can integrate into their own work and self-care practice.

SACC Topic(s): 3

Breakout Workshop #2 - Connection Circles

Facilitated by Mary Adams and Barbara DiGangi, University Settlement. Join an experiential workshop on Connection Circles, a community care model developed by University Settlement. The first part of this workshop will offer an opportunity to participate in a Connection Circle - walking through a mindfulness exercise, guided prompts and sharing of psychoeducation on stress and self-care. We’ll then talk about the purpose of a Connection Circle, review each section of the model, and share best practices. Participants will learn how to adapt and apply the model for the youth and families they work with, and/or colleagues they work alongside.

Primary Audience: This workshop is for any staff looking for tools, strategies and a structure for encouraging self-care and buffering against stress and secondary trauma.

SACC Topic(s): 3

Breakout Workshop #3 - Trauma and Resilience Informed Practice for Supervisors

Presented by April Terrell, Ramapo for Children, this workshop will explore practices supervisors can incorporate to build a healthier workplace and a more resilient staff team.

Primary Audience: This workshop is for supervisors and program directors.

SACC Topic(s): 3, 5


Lorelei Atalie Vargas

Lorelei Atalie Vargas serves as executive director of Trinity Commons, a new venture of Trinity Church Wall Street which has been a part of New York City’s history for over 300 years. Trinity has evolved into a global institution leading advocacy around social and racial justice and offering grants to support mission aligned programs. Trinity Commons will serve as a hub for high quality social programming offering universal, targeted and intensive programs for all New Yorkers. Prior to her curre... Read More

Dr. Deborah Courtney

Dr. Deb Courtney is a psychotherapist and author passionate about helping people reclaim their inner peace and create their best lives! She has integrated her traditional, trauma-informed, evidence-based training with spiritual healing approaches to honor the connection between mind, body, and spirit. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Work, an LCSW, and MA in Forensic Psychology. Deb supports individuals, couples, and families on their path to wellness in her private practice in New York. She also sup... Read More

Mary Adams

Mary is an LCSW with over 20 years of experience working in, developing and managing programs that serve children, adolescents, families and adults in New York City. Originally working in foster care, including directing a residential program for adolescent girls, she moved on to run a community based college prep program in East New York Brooklyn, direct a school for high-risk youth in Bedford-Stuyvesant and supervised supportive housing programs for formally homeless young adults and families ... Read More

Barbara DiGangi

Barbara is a LMSW whose passion dwells where social impact strategy and equity intersect. She has spent 12 years working in, supervising and building home and community-based programs for at-risk youth and families. Her experience includes a focus on start-ups, organizational change, and activism. Barbara was a marshal at the 2017 Women's March in DC, has led a widely publicized petition causing her high school to improve their sexual assault policies, and her insights have been published on sit... Read More

April Terrell

April Lee Terrell is a self-published author, partner of The American Mom blog, and the founder of Authentic U, an educational consulting firm dedicated to helping adults shape the future by teaching our children to live authentically, with empathy and kindness. April spent ten years’ in the Baltimore City Public School System as an Early Childhood Educator and Administrator. As an Administrator in City Schools, April was an instructional leader of an Early Learning Center; coached teachers, and... Read More