Continuing the Conversation with Linda & José about Community Engagement

As we continue toward the horizon trying to discover our Self with every step forward, we begin to realize how interconnected we are to one another. My continuing conversations with Linda Maxwell and José Quintanar represent this path forward. We are learning from one another how to make sense of a world in which there exists much hatred, violence, chaos, and confusion.

In this discussion, Linda and José talk about community-engaged work through a humanizing lens. I am learning much from them including what it means to live a life of service and to be in the moment as we interact with other people. I am learning that each person with whom I interact is someone to learn from, even if the experience seems and feels negative. There is ALWAYS something to learn. Sometimes the knowledge that we gain is from contrast – experiencing that which we DO NOT want. We understand better who we are when we come across others who embody traits that do not resonate with who we are or want to be.

Linda and José teach us from the ground up. This means that they are interested in PEOPLE not the politics, ideals, or belief systems that may surround a person within a specific context. The ground up is actively listening to a person to understand how to reach that individual’s heart. That is where authentic communication begins. That is where love for one self and for the other reigns.

We live on the edge of spiraling into LOVE for one another or falling into our deepest darkest fears of separation. This fear is a frightening place of victimhood, oppression, and distain for our brothers and sisters. Linda and José constantly remind us to center ourselves and to seek LOVE, even if love seems the most improbable solution or outcome.

Peace, strength, and courage, everyone.

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Part 2 of 4 – Community Activism with Youth

Linda Maxwell and José Quintanar

In part 2, Linda and José elaborate upon the four pillars of appreciative inquiry and operationalize them. My paraphrased interpretation includes:

*Our lives are precious – love for self is essential.
*We must recognize the impermanence of life – value every moment.
*Every thought, word, and deed has a consequence – plant positively.
*(Re)discovering our humanity by connecting with others’ suffering – take compassionate action.

They also discuss the following components as being essential to engaging youth:
*The power of relationships
*No judgment
*Reciprocity
*Letting go of ego

Thank you for your continued enthusiasm in learning about their important work. Parts 3 and 4 will be combined in one blog and added to the interview page.

Thank you! Much love,

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Peace, love, and understanding: The real deal in action (Part 1 of 4)

December 3, 2017

Yesterday I had the enormous honor to engage in a second conversation with long-time community activists, Linda Maxwell and José Quintanar. We spoke for over an hour about ways in which to embody and enact lovingness, peaceful action, and compassionate understanding with youth in educational settings.

What I love about these discussions are Linda’s and José’s commitment and passion for living authentically; that is, being conscious of being in alignment with who they are, what they say, and what they do. I am also appreciative of their long-term dedication to social justice and discovering meaning in every interaction they have with historically minoritized and marginalized youth.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to Linda and José’s lived experiences. 

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Interview with Linda Maxwell & José Quintanar, Founders of “We Care for Youth”

December 2, 2017

This is a continuation of a discussion with community activists, Linda Maxwell and Jose Quintanar. This was a lengthy, rich conversation in which Linda and Jose talk about their life’s work through 4 foundational pillars of thought generated through their understandings of “appreciative inquiry.” These 4 pillars are:

*Understanding life as precious
*Appreciating impermanence
*Recognizing every thought, deed, and action has a consequence – either positive or negative
*Having the ability to look outside of ourselves to see and experience the suffering of others. This last pillar requires great empathy in which we decide to DO something about others’ suffering. We bow to the humbling process of recognizing ourselves in others and enact lovingness – a Freirean attribute of humanizing pedagogy.

September 6, 2017 – An introduction to “We Care for Youth”

It is my honor to engage in dialogue with Linda and José about issues and challenges related to youth. I am particularly excited to present their work through a series of video-blog conversations because, in these discussions, they unpack for us what it is to actively listen to youth and act upon the creativity and ideas youth have to offer. Their message is particularly impactful during these divisive times in which historically minoritized youth and their families are positioned as “criminal,” “illegal,” and “un-American.”

Linda and José are founders of the non-profit, youth-oriented, organization “We Care for Youth.” In many ways their activism is a product of a long-term commitment of ensuring the integrity and respect for youth of all backgrounds, particular youth struggling with trauma and violence. Linda and José share tools of authentic engagement that emerged as they listened to the needs of youth who were experiencing difficult and painful periods in their lives.

This conversation is an introduction to who they are and their work. It is also a lived narrative exploring their individual connection to spirituality as they delve deep into youth’s experiences of grief, hope, understanding, and love.

Please take a moment to visit their website: We Care for Youth

You can reach them directly at: WeCare4Uth@aol.com

We thank you for taking the time to engage deeply in their shared story. This is Part I of our continuing conversation.

With love,

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Please check out the interview from May 29, 2018, too!

https://eduspirit.org/2018/07/03/continuing-the-conversation-with-linda-jose-about-community-engagement/

 

 

 

Interview with Dr. Megan Farnsworth


In this interview, Dr. Megan Farnsworth explores authenticity in public spaces. What does it mean to be a teacher educator when you want to bring in your authentic self to your students, to the classroom, and to your teaching? How do we balance sharing who we are with what we are comfortable revealing?

Megan discusses her journey of (re)writing her own story in order to explore “wounds and vulnerability.” She describes the process of releasing emotions tied to grief that no longer serve her higher purpose.

Megan ends this conversation by providing us with specific tools to assist us in slowing down and remaining in the present moment. She demonstrates a breathing technique that she learned recently on her trip to Bali and Indonesia that has helped her bring awareness to the NOW.


BIOGRAPHY

Megan Farnsworth is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Southern Oregon University. She earned her PhD at the University of Arizona (2010) in Multicultural Special Education, and has taught in K-12 schools in California, Oregon, Arizona, and Hawai’i for 11 years, and Post-secondary institutions for nine years. Dr. Farnsworth possesses a strong commitment to teach, serve, and collaborate with Culturally Diverse families and students who experience Exceptionalities, and is currently exploring ways grief affects teaching and learning. Megan has recently begun using story in her teaching, which is a universal tool to build connection and trust. One premise that manifests through story is, Trusting in the connection between that which is seen and unseen transforms fear into love. As a holistic educator, Megan utilizes the tools of narrative and breath to explore the human condition. 

Mary Catherine Swanson


 

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In this interview, Mary Catherine Swanson, Founder of AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) speaks about the origins of AVID, her commitment to equity-related issues, and her passion for serving historically underrepresented youth.

As described on the AVID website, AVID is a global nonprofit organization that operates with one guiding principle: Hold students accountable to the highest standards, provide academic and social support, and they will rise to the challenge. AVID’s kindergarten through higher education system brings research-based curriculum and strategies to students each day that develop critical thinking, literacy, and math skills across all content areas

Mary Catherine’s commitment to AVID began in 1980 with one teacher in one classroom. AVID began with Mary Catherine’s belief that all students could be successful academically if they worked hard, took ownership of their learning, and had access to the skills needed to complete the rigorous course that would prepare them for four-year universities.

Today AVID impacts more than 1.5 million students in 46 states and 16 other countries and territories. AVID’s focus on academic success for historically underrepresented students is significant. AVID 2014 seniors outpaced the national average of enrolling in either a two- or four-year college the first fall term after high school. Further AVID graduates’ persistence into year two colleges averages at a rate of 85% in comparison with the U.S. national average 78%.

Among Mary Catherine’s other successes are her 20-year teaching career as an English teacher and her many recognitions and awards including: A+ Award for Reaching the Goals of America from the U.S. Department of Education, the EXCEL Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the University of San Diego Remarkable Leader in Education recognition. Additionally, she was named America’s Best Teacher in 2001 by CNN/Time Magazine and is the only public school teacher to have won the Pioneering Achievement in Education from the Charles A. Dana Foundation in New York.


Interview with Many Rivers, Dr. Lorri J. Santamaría, Ph.D.

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Mini bio: 

Dr. Lorri Johnson Santamaria has her doctoral degree in Special Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology from the University of Arizona. She is a seasoned and accomplished academic in the fields of multicultural/multilingual education, social justice and equity in education, and educational leadership. She has worked as a university professor in Cal State San Marcos in Southern California and currently still works as a Professor of Educational Leadership in New Zealand. She has authored and edited several books in educational leadership and developed the theoretical framework, Applied Critical Leadership.

In the past year, Lorri’s life has taken an interesting and dynamic turn. Part of this story today is to capture Lorri’s unique, challenging, and rewarding journey with cancer.

We start today’s conversation, asking Lorri to share how her recent journey has shaped her views of spirituality, wholeness, and heart-centered approaches to healing. Then we ask her to extend the conversation to how what she has learned from her personal journey can be applied to transforming education and educational spaces. 

Links and Resources:

Many Rivers II Wellness  – This is a link to Lorri’s business website.

Newsletter 1: MRIIW Newsletter Spring2017

Academic Profile including publications.

Applied Critical Leadership_book