Building Resilience Symposium: Strengthening the Lives of Children & Youth

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Salem State University

Ellison Campus Center

North Campus

Salem, MA 01970

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Growing up can be hard. Parenting children can be hard. But there are professionals in our community who are ready, willing and able to help make growing up happier, healthier and safer. Join us for a full day of learning, networking, and figuring out how to build the most resilient homes, schools, and communities for our youngest citizens.

Speakers include:

Dr. Michael Ungar, the world's expert in resilience research - http://www.michaelungar.com/

He will present Working with Children, Youth and Families with Complex Needs: 20 Skills to Build Resilience. When working with children and adolescents from emotionally turbulent or physically dangerous backgrounds, we often focus too narrowly on the individual’s complex needs and problems---like delinquency, anxiety or conflict with caregivers---and miss the broader sources of healing and resilience in young people’s lives. This workshop will present a strengths-focused, resistance-proof model for clinical and community work that makes therapeutic interventions more effective and change more sustainable. It demonstrates 20 skills that mental health professionals and educators can use to nurture the resilience of those with whom they work. With ample case studies and fascinating explanations of research, Michael shows why we need to work just as hard changing the environments that surround children as we do changing children themselves. Workshop participants will learn how to identify and enhance access to protective and promotive processes that exert a positive influence on young people’s wellbeing. These include relationships with adults, a sense of personal self-control, agency and power, experiences of social justice and fair treatment, belonging and purpose, spirituality, and cultural rootedness. Michael will also discuss how to contract to achieve useful therapeutic goals that are culturally meaningful, and participants will leave knowing how to help their clients successfully transition their success in clinical, residential and community settings back into their “real-life” social environments at home. This ecological approach to counseling builds on best practice knowledge borrowed from both clinical work and studies of resilience among populations who face significant adversity around the world. This model of intervention creatively combines clinical practice with aspects of case management and advocacy making it ideally suited to the needs of mental health professionals working in community mental health clinics, addictions treatment centres, correctional settings, schools, residential settings and home-based family support programs. The core principles of the approach, navigation and negotiation, can be integrated with other therapeutic models to effectively intervene with children, youth and their families. This workshop explores 20 practical techniques for clinical intervention and case planning while providing participants an opportunity to discuss the most challenging children, youth and families with whom they work.

Dr. Diane Levin, expert in helping children negotiate social media and violence - www.dianeelevin.com

Attorney Wendy Murphy, CNN star & founder of Sexual Violence Legal News Project -www.wendymurphylaw.com/

Joanne Grady-Savard, Cole Resource Center with mental health supports for everyone - coleresourcecenter.org

Dr. Carmen Monico, expert in border children's rights - https://Monicofulbright.wordpress.com/

Dr. Christopher Hudson, Dr.Shelley Steenrod, Dr. Lisa Johnson, Dr. Elspeth Slayter from SSU's Social Work Department

Senator Joan Lovely

Judge Sally Padden

Representative & former Salem Police Chief Paul Tucker

Superintendent Margarita Ruiz and members of the Salem Public Schools will be sharing some of the many ways they help students and the community to build resilience.

Jetta Bernier, MassKids, will discuss how to prevent sexual abuse and help abused children to be more resilient.

Sally Palmer - Revive Mindfulness - will share ideas on how everyone at every age can benefit from mindfulness

Minding Your Mind: Building Resilience Through School Based Prevention Programmimg. Join clinician Jon Mattleman and young adult Kristina to learn about Minding Your Mind's successful engagement of youth, their parents/caregivers, and their communities around building resilience through mental health education. Jon and Kristina are warm and engaging presenters who will share how Minding You Mind supports students and their families in middle schools and high schools to end the stigma of mental health and support the development of positive coping skills and supporting relationships.

and more!


Dr. Ungar will also be providing an evening presentation for people who are unable to make it to the day events. It will be 7-8:30 pm in Salem at a Salem Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty St.. He will be presenting I Still Love You: Nine Things Kids Need from their Parents, Caregivers, and Schools to Build Resilience. How can we show children we love them even when they push us away? How do we make children more resilient when they are angry, self-harming, anxious, abusive or delinquent? In this story-filled presentation, Dr. Michael Ungar provides nine practical strategies parents, caregivers and educators need to help young people of all ages heal, no matter a child’s emotional, psychological or behavioral problems. Based on material from his book, I Still Love You, his clinical practice and his research around the world, Michael will share what families and schools have taught him about the power of unconditional love. Be prepared for an inspiring presentation. Michael’s words will help you understand the importance of the everyday heroics that change children’s lives, even when children’s parents, caregivers and educators are frustrated and unsure what to do next.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are avaiable on a first-come, first-serve basis, so don't wait! Reserve your spot at this amazing symposium NOW.


If you need accommodations, our Office of Disability Services is glad to assist you. Please let us know if you will need accommodations at yvissing@salemstate.edu


If you need CEUs, please bring a check and you can sign up for them there. We can't take cash or cards, fyi.

We are partners with the Youth At Risk conference and encourage you to check it out. They do a super job. You can find more information about their upcoming conference here: https://www.salemstate.edu/yar


If your orgnization would like to set up a resource table or share informtion about what you do, we have space so contact us at yvissing@salemstate.edu

This event is sponsored by the SSU Center for Childhood & Youth Studies, Tower Foundation, Parents Helping Parents, SSU School of Social Work, SSU Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Foundation for Alcohol Education, Inc, SSU Center for Civic Engagement, SSU College of Health & Human Services, SSU Departmet of Healthcare Studies, Danvers Cares, Youth At Risk (YAR) and Mass Kids



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Salem State University

Ellison Campus Center

North Campus

Salem, MA 01970

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