Congratulations, June 2021 Core Graduates!

The Core program ran from February through June 2021 and provided training for newly-hired Parent Advocates working at Graham and Rising Ground in NYC. 

Core Training Graduates June 2021


  • Bevanjae Kelly
  • Rachel Williams
  • Ebony Hoyt

Rising Ground

  • Maya Marshall
  • Sharkkarah Harrison
  • Andrea Ortiz-Potaltin
  • Tariah Rosenberg

Reflections from Core Graduates

“It felt good knowing that there are other Advocates out there who have experienced struggles similar to mine, knowing we have a safe space to relate to, connect with and support one another.”  — Andrea

“I’ve never had any training like this before. The women in the Rise video are living examples of success and they are still in the fight encouraging and helping other parents do the same.”  — Tahira

“The Rise training has tremendously helped me at Graham Windham because there are things I didn’t know that I was allowed to do, especially with visits and our roles as Parent Advocates.”  — Rachel  

“To self advocate, as well as help others advocate for themselves and their families, I’ve learned to think with a trauma lens, to see all aspects of the family’s hardships as well as be mindful of my thoughts, first impressions, and biases that can cause families to see me as overpowering.”  — Sharkkarah 

“The Rise training is specifically designed for Parent Advocates. The training speaks to real life situations that occur with families day to day. The Rise TIPS helped to shed light on how other parents who have lived experience gave advice authenticity.” — Bevanjae

“I learned to take care of myself first and to understand how to engage with parents differently — using the restorative and transformative justice approach, listening, caring and having parents know they are in a safe space with me. I can feel my power as a Parent Advocate. I can see my power through my work.” — Maya

“Rise should be a big part of every single last community. There should be a Rise in every struggling neighborhood to assist and build parents to advocate for themselves.” — Ebony

About the Core Training

Training workshops addressed:

  • The power of parent advocates and the history of the parent advocacy movement; 
  • The history of child welfare; 
  • Trauma, toxic stress and self care;
  • Restorative Justice circle keeping practice. 

Advocates were trained to use Rise TIPS as a tool to build relationships with parents and hold difficult conversations, as well as to train parents to negotiate and advocate for themselves. 

Rise thanks our workshop presenters: 

  • Felicia Alleyn Davis, Parent Advocate, NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities
  • Michael Arsham, Executive Director of the Office of Advocacy, and Sabra Jackson, Parent Engagement Specialist, ACS 
  • Dinah Clemens, Teyora Graves and Hope Newton, Parent Advocates, Center for Family Representation
  • Jovonna Frieson, Parent Advocate, Children’s Village 
  • Tricia Stephens, Professor, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College
  • Elliot Williams, Parent Advocate, Center for Human Development & Family Services
  • Brooklyn Defenders and Center for Family Representation legal teams

The Core training also included a writing and public speaking workshop series. 

In this series, advocates:

  • Reflected on and discussed their relationships and values;
  • Held circle and partner discussions and wrote to reflect on what support means and looks like in practice, and explore their vision for families and their community;  
  • Practiced effective communication skills to navigate difficult situations at work. 

The Rise Core training was facilitated by: 

  • Jeanette Vega, Assistant Director 
  • Teresa Marerro, Training Coordinator
  • Keyna Franklin, Assistant Editor
  • Imani Worthy, Parent Leader

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