African American Children and Families Conference

The Power of Our People, Strength Through History, Culture, Hope, Experience and Collective Stories

February 21-22, 2019


Strength From Within

Kristen Harold, UNI Teacher Education Student

Come meet a nationally ranked power lifter from Davenport, IA. Find out about a journey that led to two National Championships, to being a Junior International Champion and 2nd placer in an International Meet. Learn how this sport has been a confidence-builder for becoming a future educator!

Why Black Men Don't Attend Church, and How to Recover a Spirit that Attracts Them

Emerson Miller, President Agape Counseling Services

Come learn of a strengths-based approach to attract more African American men to the churches. This workshop addresses the phenomenon of male identity with topics like the State of Black Men and the Church and What the Church Needs to Do to Attract them.

Mental Health and the Need to Face the Real Issues

Mental Health Panel, Coordinated By Keyah Levy, Asst. Director at the Center for Multicultural Education
Dr. Nafissa Cisse-Egbuonye, Director of Black Hawk County Health Department & Shantila Caston, LISW Mental Health Therapist/Diversity Outreach Specialists - UNI

What are some of the reasons why some African Americans are not receiving much needed Mental health services and what can be done to be supportive in receiving care!

Child Safety: It Takes A Village

Vera Wallican, Child Protection Worker, Department of Human Services

Child safety is everyone’s responsibility. Come and engage in a dialogue regarding child safety, the community’s role in child safety and how DHS responds to allegations of child safety.

Empowering Partnerships within our school community: families, school and community

Audrey Wallican-Green, Principal, Waterloo Community School District

What is the impact on student achievement when the school works towards building relationships with the entire school community? What can teachers and administrators do to empower parents? What strategies are useful with partnering with the community? Join us as we collaborate about ways to successfully build relationships with the entire school community.

This is our Story: Framing African American Parent Engagement Through Historical Narrative

Treya Allen, University of Arizona

The postulation about the lack of Black parent involvement is often based on school-centered definitions of involvement that do not account for cultural based practices established prior to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. However, these practices are not often included in definitions of parent involvement as they are outside the limited definitions of parent involvement constructed and measured by schools. Understanding the historical narratives around education in the Black community and how these narrative influence the practices used by parents can afford new avenues of collaboration and partnership with Black parents.

Think Happy, Be Happy: Igniting Our Youth To Live, Think and Be Happy

Theodora Jn Baptiste, University of Northern Iowa Student

Session is specially designed to promote well-being and happiness as long term goals and lasting positive lifestyle habits. Activities will be provided to motivate youth on ways of living productive and fulfilling lives. Learn of an innovative approach to support youth in optimum happiness and wellbeing.

Domestic Violence in the African American community is everyone's business.  When you hurt your partner, you hurt your children

Robert H. Tyson, Access to Justice Coordinator, Waypoint Services; Lisa Ambrose, Director and Sausha Petroske, Amani Community Services

Domestic violence has an impact on children and families. What have the children seen and heard? Children are often aware of the violence even if partners try to protect them from it. Children exposed to violence may experience traumatic nightmares, unsuccessful school experiences or model inappropriate behaviors. What can you do to help support victims?

The Joys of Being A Grandmother

Joyce Wilder, Grandmother

Many African American children benefit from the extended family experiences provided by grandparents. Grandmothers can provide that extra touch of love that allows the creative and individualism come out in learning experiences of children.

Emotional and loving support are proven key factors in helping these children to achieve and become successful participants in educational settings! Come share some of the joyous experiences of this grandmother who turns unbelievable happenings into positive excitement

Cultural Competency and Bias in Home Visitation-Early Childhood

Stephanie Shavers, Program Manager, Operation Threshold

Cultural issues are among the many factors that should be considered when developing or providing services to families in the home. There are definitely cultural barriers that can be experienced when Home visitors and Social workers interact with African American, foreign born and immigrant parents and their unique needs.

Mindfulness: Cultivating Peace in Classrooms and Communities

Dr. Sarah Montgomery, Associate Professor, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Northern Iowa

What is Mindfulness and how can it help students, teachers, and families navigate their emotions and challenges they face? Come to this session to learn about and experience Mindfulness practices. Engage in discussion about research regarding the positive impact of Mindfulness approaches for classrooms and communities. Participants will be able to explore and find out how Mindfulness practices can support self-regulation and inner peace!

Food Insecurity Among African Americans

Joyce Levingston, Graduate Assistant, University of   Northern Iowa, COE Cedar Valley's Little Free Pantries

Food Insecurity is a continuous concern for Americans and  especially those who are of African American descent. Come learn the facts about and ways to help families in your community fight hunger.

Human Trafficking - What You Should Know

Kenesha Davis, Human Trafficking Specialist, Friends of the Family Agency
We will take a look at the phenomena of human trafficking and how it affects youth and adults. At Friends of the Family we are working hard to end human trafficking and offer services to individuals who have been affected by human trafficking. Through this presentation we will look at effected populations and talk about ways to keep our communities safe.

Cultivating School-Based Literacies Among African American Families

Dr. Tiffany A. Flowers

The purpose of this presentation to focus on practical strategies for supporting school-based literacies among African American families. Some of the topics explored in this presentation include: (a) Focusing on current research regarding African American families; (b) Literacy-based strategies for teachers and parents; and (c) Building capacity for literacy partnerships within African American communities. Participants will leave this presentation with a list of ideas and strategies for supporting African American families in relation to school-based literacies.  

Creating Winning Picture Book Biographies

Don Tate, Children’s Illustrator

As an illustrator, words frightened Don Tate. After all, artists create pictures, they don’t write stories. So how did a non-word person go about writing award-winning picture books (one that he did not illustrate)? In his session, Don will reveal all of that, discussing both sides of the bookmaking process. How do creators of picture book biographies find and then zero in on the right information? How can illustrators find their writing voice? And what about research—how do you know what to include and leave out?

Putting Prayer Back in Schools

Ernestine Meakins, Evangelist, Mt. Zion Church, Cedar Rapids, IA

With recent violence in schools, many feel that the best and most reasonable answer is to put prayer back in schools. When prayer was taken out of schools, it allowed more focus on the lack of understandings and caring attitudes about self and others. When prayer was in schools, we did not witness  as many shootings and other forms of destructive and violent behaviors . Put prayer back in schools.