Supportive Communities, Strong Families, Safe Kids

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Since March, we have been closely monitoring regional and national COVID-19 infection rates, as well as State and Federal responses to contain and mitigate the spread. Given the recent surge in cases, travel bans, and closure mandates, it is no longer feasible to hold our in-person summit as planned. New Hampshire Children’s Trust (NHCT) has made the decision to cancel the September 8th, 2020, Annual Strengthening Families Summit and will be offering full refunds in the coming weeks. 

It is our intention to once again hold an Annual Strengthening Families Summit in 2021, when conditions are more favorable and appropriate adjustments can be made to ensure safety and that meaningful programming is delivered to attendees. We would love you to consider joining us when more information is forthcoming. 


No upcoming events at the moment

Summit Objectives


Explore strategies and approaches representing various levels of the social ecology and examine how these create the context for healthy children, strong families and supportive communities.  


Highlight NH efforts that exemplify innovative strategies and approaches.


Explore social norms change regarding accessing community resources. 


Recharge and recommit to this critical work.

Meet Our Speakers

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Pat Stanislaski  Keynote Speaker 

Pat Stanislaski is the Director of Partnering for Prevention, a NJ consulting firm. Her career in child abuse prevention spans almost 40 years, during which she directed a statewide prevention program as well as an international program in 16 countries outside the US. Pat is a frequent keynote/workshop presenter at national and international conferences where her focus has been on the importance of empathy and resilience in developing strong children and families. She has served as a member of the Expert Faculty for the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and with that focus, has conducted trainings in child abuse prevention for more than 6,000 people across the United States and in 16 countries around the world.

Currently, she is a senior consultant for the National Alliance of Children’s Trust & Prevention Funds where she writes curricula, provides technical support to state Trust Funds and has been the lead trainer for their Protective Factors Framework National Certification Training.        


Corey Best  Plenary Speaker 

Corey Best is first, a dedicated father. He is originally from Washington, D.C. and currently calls Florida home, where he began his transformation into adaptive leadership training, community organizing, authentic family engagement, race equity, primary prevention, and highlighting “good enough parenting” for those impacted by the child welfare system.

Corey is commonly known as a leader and skilled facilitator, bringing his professional experiences to life by activating group thinking and guiding sustainable child welfare system advancements. He was granted the 2016 Casey Family Programs Excellence for Children Award for his innovative style and approach. Most recently, he has helped to spearhead an authentic family engagement pilot through the lens of race equity. This work has allowed Corey to take leadership the next level. He believes a leader must have a set of values and behaviors that embrace differences, shared power, and social contribution to see lasting changes within our communities.

Corey is certified in the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Fund’s Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life in Your Work. In addition to several speaking and technical assistance opportunities, he proudly serves as an active Board member with Alia and is a Professional Guide for the Alia Innovation Cohort. In short, Corey’s mission is to positively impact the lives of children, families, and communities through safe and racially equitable relationships.

Schedule Overview


& Registration


Welcoming Remarks


Keynote by Pat Stanislaski


Workshop Block 1


Lunch & Networking


Workshop Block 2


Plenary by Corey Best


Summit Evaluations

Continuing Education Units

This Summit has been approved for:

  • 5 Category A Continuing Education Credits by the National Association of Social Workers, NH Chapter. CEU #3667 including 1.5 Suicide Prevention CEUs for Workshop 1A.*

  • Up to 5.25 hours of continuing education credit by the NH Board for Certified Guardians ad Litem.  (Sessions not approved for credit are noted as such in description**)

And qualifies for:

This event qualifies for professional development hours for Early Care and Education Professionals and for contact hours for nurses in related fields

Qualification for CEUs have been applied for with the following profesional Boards. This page will be updated when decisions are recieved. (No guarantee qualification.)

  • 5.0 CEUs have been applied for with the Board and Alcohol and Drug Professionals (LADAC, and CRSW)

  • 5.0 CEUs have been applied for with the NH Prevention Certification Board for Certified Prevention Specialists


All attendees will receive a certificate of attendance with hours of education detailed. This may meet the professional development requirement of several child-serving disciplines.


Welcome & Keynote Address


Keynote Address—Footprints and Footsteps
Presented by: Pat Stanislaski, Senior Consultant for the National Alliance of Children’s Trust & Prevention Funds

Pat Stanislaski will highlight the hard work people do every day on behalf of children and families to demonstrate that family support workers are not alone.  Others have laid the groundwork, have given these workers footprints to follow, and are still walking that journey today. Others, however, are just beginning their journeys and will continue on to track footprints well ahead of where we are today. No matter what we do in this life, an awareness of those who came before, those who walk currently, and those who will continue on is an integral part of how we perceive our work we do, where it has taken us and where we yet want it to go. With a lifetime worth of child abuse prevention experience—locally, nationally and internationally—the speaker will help us understand the great value we bring to this field and give validation and encouragement for our many efforts. Pat will offer six keys to sustaining the energy and enthusiasm required to do this difficult work: manageability, adaptability, the desire to continue to learn, a sense of humor, a mentor to guide them and evidence of their many successes. All these factors culminate in what the speaker feels is the secret to our success—passion! 

Workshop Block 1


1A.   A Community's Response to Tragedy and Crisis*
Presented by: Carol Lunan, M.Ed., The Grapevine Family and Community Resource Center
Format: Panel (view panelists in drop-down)

In the Fall of 2019, the greater Antrim, NH, community experienced the loss of a 13-year-old to suicide. In the days and weeks that followed, the community lost additional members to suicide, overdose, and witnessed a local teen’s arrest in connection with a homicide. How does a community respond to such events? How do we own our response and prevention efforts as a community? The Grapevine Family & Community Resource Center will talk about their role in bringing the community together and partnering with schools, police, mental health providers, and other organizations such as NAMI-NH and Disaster Behavioral Health Response Teams (DBHRT). They will discuss their work to build a prevention-based network of supports, which included both youths and parents, to address the varied mental health needs the community and how to recognize signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, suicidality, and available community resources. NAMI-NH, DBHRT, and Conval School District staff will talk about their involvement and work to support our community, students and families impacted by these events.

*This workshop qualifies for 1.5 Suicide Prevention CEUs through the NASW, NH Chapter.

Carol Lunan has worked at The Grapevine for 20 years as a Parent Cooperative Preschool teacher, Parent Group Facilitator, and now as the Family Support Director & Parenting Facilitator. She has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and has spent 35 years working with children and families.


  • Kim Varney Chandler, Conval School District

  • Cari Christian-Coates, Conval School District

  • Ann Duckless, NAMI-NH

  • Melissa Gallagher, The Grapevine Family and Community Resource Center

  • Jacqueline Roland, The Grapevine Family & Community Resource Center

  • Diana Schryver, DBHRT

1B.   Clinic and Community Collaboration: Improving child and family outcomes
Presented by: Holly Gaspar, M.Ed., MPH, Population Health at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; Rene Couitt, TLC Family Resource Center; Anya Glendal, The Family Place; Hilary Schuler, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
Format: Presenter-led 

Community organizations and health care systems share the goal of improving health and well-being in communities. However, their differing business models and ways of operating can make it challenging to establish strong partnerships that are required to truly impact health outcomes. In this session you will hear from an innovative program that links clinical and community agencies in various ways to increase partnerships across sectors, improving access and availability of resources and services to families.

**Not approved for GaL CEUs.

Holly Gaspar, M.Ed., MPH currently works in Population Health at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center as a Senior Community Health Partnership Coordinator. Holly spent almost a decade in the field of Child Life at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth, providing direct psychosocial care to children and families in a variety of in-patient and out-patient settings. Holly created and facilitated a multisite, evidence-based program to support children’s coping around painful procedures using non-pharmacological approaches to care. While studying at The Dartmouth Institute for Healthcare Policy & Clinical Practice at the Geisel School of Medicine, Holly joined the population health team as a project manager to create “recovery friendly pediatric practices” in various locations throughout New Hampshire. Holly uses approaches in research, the Dartmouth-Microsystems quality improvement process, systems theory, strength-based and trauma informed care to collaborate with health care settings and community resources to enhance support and access for children and families impacted by substance misuse and social vulnerabilities during early childhood. Holly is continuing to expand this work in collaboration with many national stakeholders with the design of a practice toolkit, expansion of provider education, and several other system initiatives that impact care delivery. In addition to her multiple certifications in child life and therapeutic recreation, Holly has also been asked to share her expertise as an adjunct faculty member at the Community Colleges of Vermont teaching courses in child development and program management.

1C.   Understanding Resilience in Ourselves, Our Families and Our Communities
Presented by: Corey Best, Alia Board member and Professional Guide for the Alia Innovation Cohort; Pat Stanislaski, Senior Consultant for the National Alliance of Children’s Trust & Prevention Funds
Format: Presenter-led 

The Summit's Keynote and Plenary speaker invite you to explore resilience. This exploration will focus first on the importance of individual and family resilience, including new discoveries in the field. The exploration will examine resilience from a community and societal perspective, uncovering adversity and its origins as well as focus on the impact strong connections between families and organizations have in creating environments where people thrive. While recognizing that discussions about resilience often focus on parental responsibility and capacity, the presenters will shift the conversation to include characteristics of resilient organizations and communities and how that shift benefits families. Lean in to a much-discussed topic with two national thought leaders on the subject. 

Please see "Meet Our Speakers" for the presenter bios.

1D.   Working together so our community's kids and families can thrive!
Presented by: Joelle Martin, NH State Representative and Executive Director of Milford Thrives; Monica Gallant, Community Action for Safe Teens and the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley
Format: Presenter-led 

Join Monica Gallant of Community Action for Safe Teens (CAST) and Joelle Martin of Milford Thrives to learn more about how stakeholders in Milford are working together to build community resilience and mitigate the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Discover how every newborn and new family is welcomed to the Milford community. Learn more about the Children's Resiliency Retreat (serving school-aged children who are affected by a loved one's drug or alcohol use). Hear about the Youth Empowerment & Service (YES) team's efforts to support peers and provide education around vaping, mental health and substance use. Find out more about parent and community education initiatives around child development, parenting, ACEs, resilience, and more. Learn how stakeholders from various sectors get involved to create a safe and nurturing community.

Joelle Martin currently serves as Executive Director of Milford Thrives and as a NH State Representative. She is Vice Chair of House Finance Division III (Health & Human Services) and Steering Committee member of the Legislative Children’s Caucus. With previous experience as business executive and preschool teacher, Joelle is a strong voice for NH children and families and has become a passionate advocate for healthy, resilient communities. Currently serving in her second term in the NH House, Joelle was recently recognized as New Future’s Legislator of the year and one of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation’s Emerging Leaders. Her academic background includes an MBA from American University as well as a Master’s degree in Education from Southern New Hampshire University. Joelle is Co-Founder of Milford Thrives, a local non-profit whose mission is to build a healthy, resilient and connected community. She also serves on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley and the steering committee for her community’s prevention coalition, CAST (Community Action for Safe Teens), a recent recipient of a SAMHSA Drug Free Community grant.


Monica Gallant began her career in positive youth development and parent education in 2002. She became a member of the Community Action for Safe Teens Coalition in 2009 and became the Coalition Coordinator in 2011. Making a difference in the lives of youth is one of the most rewarding experiences she has had the pleasure to enjoy. Monica is a Certified Special Education Teacher and Certified Prevention Specialist in the State of NH with a background in emotional/behavioral disabilities. She is a life-long learner and is a passionate participant in community outreach for Nashua Prevention Coalition and Community Action for Safe Teens. In September 2017, Monica was hired as the Director of Prevention Services of the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley. 

1E.   Not the Babysitter: Fatherhood Myths & Dad Realities
Presented by: Janis Lilly, M.Ed., The Upper Room, A Family Resource Center; University of New Hampshire
Format: Presenter-led 

Too often, popular culture stereotypes fathers as absent or ineffective. This leads to a distorted view of their capacity and capability as parents. By looking at what current research tells us about men’s family roles and their willingness to be a present, active parent, we can banish these biases to create an inclusive, father-friendly environment and learn how to challenge our clients to see what is, and can be, possible for dads.

Janis Lilly holds a Master’s in Education from Gordon College as well as an American Montessori Society Infant and Toddler Full Credential Certification. For the last decade she has been the Program Coordinator for The Upper Room, a Family Resource Center’s Teen Information for Parenting Success Program (TIPS). TIPS provides parenting education, access to resources and peer support to young families and their children through community and school-based meetings. Her inclusion and advocacy for young fathers through New Hampshire’s E3 Fatherhood Program has been a highlight. Janis is also an adjunct professor for University of New Hampshire’s HDFS program. Her hair has been blue for the past 17 years.

1F.   Strengthening Our Communities—One Family at a Time
Presented by: Alicia Deaver, Rise for baby and family
Format: Panel (view panelists in drop-down)

Join the presenters for an interactive panel discussion on how four home visiting agencies came together with the assistance of the Monadnock United Way to build a Home Visiting Collaborative for the Monadnock Region. Using the Five Protective Factors as a foundation, the collaborative has built a network of resources and connections that is positively impacting the region. The panel discussion will include information on the formation, important aspects to make the work efficient, using and measuring outcomes to guide the work, and success stories and learned lessons.

Alicia Deaver is an early educator and is passionate about working with young children. She has over 15 years of experience in the fields of early care and learning, early intervention, and early childhood systems. She is the Executive Director of Rise for baby and family, an agency that provides home visiting for infants and toddler who have or are at-risk for developmental disabilities and delays, and fully inclusive childcare. Alicia was originally trained in Strengthening Families in 2008 and worked to embed the protective factors in all aspects of her work.


  • Melissa Gallagher, The Grapevine Family and Community Resource Center

  • Jill Morgan, Monadnock United Way

  • Margaret Nelson, The River Center

  • Pat Payne, Home Healthcare at HCS

  • Penny R. Vaine, Healthy Starts at HCS

Workshop Block 2


2A.   Investing in Prevention & Community to Support Kinship Families
Presented by: Diane Yeo, New Hampshire Children's Trust
Format: Panel (view panelists in drop-down)

New Hampshire has made strides in combating the opioid epidemic for individuals experiencing substance use disorder, and recognizes there is still work to do to address the needs of the children who have been living with parents experiencing substance misuse and the relative caregivers who have stepped forward to care for children when their parents cannot. This workshop will provide an overview of kinship families, their needs, and the state’s response. Participants will examine the unique needs of these families and the issues they face, as well as learn about the role of the Kinship Navigator and  how providers and community organizations can support kinship families.

Diane Yeo is the Family Support Specialist for Kinship Navigation at the New Hampshire Children’s Trust. She brings many years of experience in program development, project management, training, mentoring, leadership, and advocacy. Diane is certified in Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening and Support and is a certified trainer in Bringing the Protective Factors Framework to Life series. She serves as a member of the NH State Commission to Study Grandfamilies, the HOPE Initiative, and the Grand Families Advisory Council. Although she was born and raised in Boston, Diane has been a New Hampshire resident for 26 years. She has many interests and a diverse background and has worked in healthcare and emergency medicine. Diane enjoys creative pursuits, being active in nature, and spending time with her family and her dog, Vida.



  • MaryLou Beaver, The Children's Place and Parent Education Center

  • Cathleen Coburn, NH Commission to Study Grandfamilies

  • Kenneth Darsney, Franklin Middle School

  • Tricia Eisner, Greater Tilton Area Family Resource Center

  • Chief Joseph Hoebeke, Hollis Police Department

  • Rosemary Nugent, NH Commission to Study Grandfamilies, Generations United

2B.   Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families: From Silos to 
Coordinated Systems
Presented by: Athena Cote, NH Division of Public Health, DHHS​; Erin Pettengil, Lakes Region Community Services; Cammie Switzer, Amoskeag Health; Steven Swanson, Lakes Region Community Services; Mollie White, Coos Coalition for Young Children and Families
Format: Presenter-led

Join the presenters to discuss how communities can establish services and supports for families that are coordinated across multiple systems and at multiple levels using the Boundary Spanning Leadership framework. This presentation will provide an overview of NH’s Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families Grant funded by the Children’s Bureau. Panelists from Manchester, Winnipesauke Public Health Region, and Coos County will discuss their work using the Boundary Spanning Leadership framework to support a coordinated and collaborative community-based system. The Community Collaborations work is focused on increasing the Five Protective Factors in families in order to mitigate the risk of child maltreatment occurrence by strengthening their relationships and access to their community. The panel will discuss how they are working across systems in order to create seamless continuums of family support.

**Not approved for GaL CEUs.

Athena Cote is the Project Director for the Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families grant. She works for the NH Division of Public Health, DHHS. Athena previously worked with the Division of Children, Youth & Families, (DCYF), and has over 14 years of child welfare experience. She has been a teaching adjunct at Plymouth State University teaching a Child Welfare and Family Services course to undergraduate students and has also provided mandatory reporting training to various community and childcare staff. Athena has a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the City University of New York, and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of New Hampshire.

2C.   Supporting front line workers and families to be effective and engaged voices for change
Presented by: Rebecca Woitkowski, New Futures
Format: Panel (view panelists in drop-down)

The formality of legislative spaces can often feel unwelcoming, which can be a deterrent for those who wish to advocate. This workshop seeks to help eliminate these barriers for parents and providers by bringing forward the voices of advocates, many of whom are also mothers who have years of experience advocating for and with their children. We’ll cover how to find your voice, write a letter to the editor, state your case with a lawmaker or testify in the Capital. And for the parents, this workshop will cover: stroller dos and don’ts, how to handle breastfeeding, unfriendly legislative staff, long hearings, and even sensory developmental concerns for children. We’ll ask participants to voice their biggest concerns about advocating and tackle them in the workshop, work with participants to plan future actions, and provide resources for attendees to take home. 

**Not approved for GaL CEUs.

Rebecca Woitkowski serves as the Kids Count Policy Coordinator for New Futures. She works to coordinate and lead early childhood policy and advocacy efforts in New Hampshire. Prior to entering this role, Rebecca worked in private practice focusing on civil litigation and family law. Her experience working directly with clients lead her to seek out policy work to help improve the lives of New Hampshire families on a greater scale. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Southern New Hampshire University in 2008 and her Juris Doctor from the University of New Hampshire School of Law in 2011. As a life-long resident, Rebecca has a deep love for New Hampshire and is eager for the opportunity to use her legal skills to help advance policy that will positively impact her home state. In her free time, Rebecca can be found exploring the White Mountains with her family and two dogs.


  • Christina D’Allesandro, MomsRising

  • Nancy Glynn, MomsRising

  • Jess Wojenski, New Futures

2D.   Media Literacy as a Pathway to Healthy, Resilient Kids
Presented by: Heather Inyart, Media Power Youth
Format: Presenter-led

Now that digital devices and social media are ever-present in children's lives, young people are exposed to a constant stream of information and peer-generated content that can impact their physical, mental, and social well-being. However, few children and caregivers are taught how to navigate this complex landscape that is often filled with peer pressure, misinformation, distractions, emotional drama, and cyberbullying. Heather Inyart, Executive Director of the New Hampshire-based nonprofit Media Power Youth, will share how media literacy interventions can empower kids by teaching them the essential skills needed to manage their digital lives, including critical-thinking, empathy, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution, so they can reap the benefits of these technologies.

Heather Inyart is currently the Executive Director of Media Power Youth and has 20 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and national consumer brands. With her diverse expertise in marketing, innovation and strategic planning, Heather leads Media Power Youth in its mission to provide media literacy education to children, parents and youth-serving professionals. Heather has led numerous national cause-marketing campaigns, raising funds for breast cancer research, support programs for individuals with autism and their families, and food assistance organizations. She also serves on the NH Prevention Task Force as part of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs.

2E.   The Power of Puppets: Classroom Based Prevention
Presented by: Erica Skoglund, HAVEN; Sarah Shanahan, HAVEN
Format: Presenter-led

We are just beginning to understand the long-term impact that childhood trauma can have on our communities. This workshop will demonstrate an effective and age-appropriate approach to child abuse prevention that educates and empowers children and the people who care for them. We will demonstrate how we use puppets to engage children as advocates who become invested in helping their “friends” use Personal Body Safety rules to seek help. Based in research and best practices for prevention, this program helps to build the social and emotional competence of children and provides them with language to talk about abuse. Child abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, survives on secrecy. Empowering children, teachers and caregivers to recognize abuse and appropriately intervene and seek help is essential to all children’s well-being, particularly those children who are most vulnerable. This presentation will give caregivers the necessary tools to use and reinforce Personal Body Safety messages and allow them to be better equipped to handle potential disclosures of abuse.

Erica Skoglund has been working as an educator for HAVEN in Portsmouth, NH for eleven years. She has a Master’s in Education from New England College and a BA in Sociology from the University of Delaware, as well as years of experience working in experiential education, running summer camps, and as a classroom teacher at a variety of sites around the country. Erica has a strong background in performance, including training as a professional puppeteer with The Blue Sky Puppet Theater, and performing in professional theatres across the Seacoast.

Sarah Shanahan, MAT, is the Director of Education & Outreach for HAVEN, the largest domestic and sexual violence prevention and crisis response center in the state. Sarah has been working as a violence prevention educator for over 18 years. She has delivered violence prevention programs to over 100,000 students and parents and has also trained hundreds of Granite State educators through the Governor’s youth violence prevention initiative. Sarah is also the recipient of the NSVRC Visionary Voice Award for violence prevention.

2F.   Gender Affirmative Practice: Challenges and Opportunities for Children in Care
Presented by: Harvey Feldman, LCMHC, Spaulding Youth Center; Gabriel Vega, CMHC, Spaulding Youth Center
Format: Presenter-led

Gender non-confirming children in the child welfare system face unique challenges when seeking gender affirmative care. This presentation will help practitioners identify these challenges and provide ways to support gender non-conforming youth that encourages positive social and emotional development.

Harvey Feldman is the Clinical Supervisor at Spaulding Youth Center in Northfield, New Hampshire. He has expertise in both trauma and attachment therapy and works in private practice with transgender and gender expansive adults, youth, and their families.


Gabriel Vega is currently an unlicensed (expected: 2021) Clinician working with at-risk adolescents at Spaulding Youth Center. He has a focus in complex trauma treatment, and aims to counsel children, adolescents, families, in addition to LGBT individuals and groups struggling with trauma, addiction, and related disorders.

Plenary Session


Plenary Session—What? So What? Now What? It’s Time to LEVEL UP!  
Presented by: Corey Best, Alia Board member and Professional Guide for the Alia Innovation Cohort

Corey will enlighten guests as he explores his view of leadership, partnering with parents, and the adaptive value of investing in HOPE™. Co-creating safe, strong and supported communities is achieved through mutual respect, rigorous self-examination, risk tolerance, shifts in practices, and the fundamental belief that all voices embody the collective experiences that contribute to successful families and communities. During his presentation, Corey will uncover meaningful examples of what it takes to live the value of race equity and color consciousness. He believes the Five Protective Factors are integral ingredients that help systems and families work as partners. Experience the joy of interdependent leadership and the transformative power of what occurs when we focus on what’s strong, Level UP, and build a new way of work!

Please see "Meet Our Speakers" for the presenter bio.

Become a Sponsor

Interested in becoming a sponsor for this event? As a sponsor, your organization will have direct access to hundreds of attendees. There's no better way to showcase the good work you're doing in New Hampshire, make connections, and get referrals. 

For more information about becoming a sponsor and the different levels of sponsorship available, please contact Diane Hastings, Community Relations Coordinator.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor


Champion Sponsors


Community Sponsors

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Family Sponsors

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