“Who did you want to be at age 7 and how does that connect with what you are doing now?” This is the opening question posed by one of the advisory committee members for the SEL/Whole Child Symposium. Bright eyes, laughter, nods, and at times, crinkled foreheads in nostalgic reflection fill the room. Some of the responses include: astronaut, Egyptologist, entrepreneur, athlete, and the matter-of-fact reply, “At that age, I just wanted to play!” This is how we start every meeting—with a question that gives us the opportunity to deepen our connections and understanding of each other. Opening meetings with the explicit purpose of building community not only feels good, but builds a safe, warm space where each person feels welcomed to share opinions and ideas, especially when they may differ from others.
The SEL/Whole Child Symposium Advisory Committee has been meeting since March and will meet monthly leading up to the event date on August 10 (plus one post event meeting). It’s a quick process but an essential foundation for the event. It’s comprised of folks from both school districts and community-based organizations from across the Road Map Region working together to ensure that the symposium is responding to current SEL-related needs and expanding the reach of those doing great work in the SEL field. The committee is tasked with generating ideas and input on key components of the symposium (e.g. learning objectives, content themes, presenters), conducting outreach to attendees and presenters, and contributing to the overall execution of the event. Debates in the room range from how we authentically incorporate youth voice in the event to what the flow of the day should look like. In any case, conversations are rich and YDEKC is grateful for the support, wisdom, and joy that we get to tap from this committee. Thank you to Charles Lea (UW School of Social Work), Emily Tomita (Refugee Women’s Alliance), Erin Hutchinson (Federal Way Public Schools), Jennifer Rojas Youngblood (Communities in Schools of Federal Way), Lupita Torrez (Para Los Ninos), Porter Eichenlaub (School’s Out Washington), Roslyn Kagy (Highline Public Schools), Sarah Butcher (SEL WA), Shelby Cooley (Community Center for Education Results), Willie Seals (Academy for Creating Excellence), and Yolanda McGhee (King County)!
Registration is now open for YDEKC’s 3rd annual Whole Child, Whole Day: A Social Emotional Learning Symposium on August 10th at Highline College from 9AM to 4:15PM! This interactive professional development experience is for practitioners and leaders working in education and youth development sectors to eliminate opportunity gaps for young people aged 5 to young adult. Topics include: Centering Racial Equity, Trauma-Informed and Restorative Practices, SEL System Building, Developing Specific SEL Skills in Children and Youth, and Youth Voice, Organizing, and Leadership. More information and registration is available here! This event is free, with advance registration required. Don’t delay-space is limited.