Professional Development Workshop Series

With the vision that all children achieve success, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC is committed to empowering other local agencies and organizations that are also providing positive impact in the lives of children. The Professional Development Workshop Series is a catalog of workshops offered to youth development professionals. Sessions are offered to assist organizations in developing, expanding, and improving their skills and enhancing organizational capacity. Sessions are taught by both BBBS of NYC staff and other industry leaders.

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Fall 2017 Sessions (click for more information)

Know Her Worth: Teaching Girls Empowerment

Tuesday, October 17, 2017  10:00 AM- 1:00 PM

Facilitator: Raven Shelton

Concentration: Youth Development

Cost: Sliding Scale*


Girls are assured that they can be anything they want; that they run on equal playing field, and their opportunities are limitless. But is this message clear enough? We have campaigns that tell us ‘we’re worth it’, but the message remains that we must change. This workshop will address issues of low self-esteem, body image, and dating violence through the promotion of self-awareness, self-worth and self-respect. Through the use of confidence-building activities and leadership opportunities, participants will learn how to empower the girls in their lives to be bold, authentic, and confident. We believe the most fearless thing you can be is yourself; and we believe in the powerful bodies, minds and voices of all our girls!


During this workshop, participants will:

  • Learn girls empowerment techniques
  • Understand creative ways to help girls build confidence through self-awareness, identifying their strengths, connecting to their communities and tapping into their leadership qualities
  • Learn how to educate their girls on healthy body image, healthy relationships, and healthy self-concept


*Sliding Scale ranges from $55 - $75, is based on agency budget, and is available at registration checkout.

Gamifying Group Management: Using Fun to Keep Control

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017  10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Facilitator: Jordan Card

Concentration: Group Facilitation

Cost: Sliding Scale*


Kids just want to have fun! Maintaining order with large groups of kids can be an undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. This workshop will review the science behind effective group management skills that educators and youth development specialists use with kids ages 5 – 12.  Learn how to use fun, play and games to shape signals and transitions to get the results you want, while keeping the stress levels for both you and kids down.


During this workshop, participants will:

  • Learn how effective group management works
  • Understand the framework of building a group management system
  • Gain tips, tactics and strategies for managing groups of 10-100 kids


*Sliding Scale ranges from $55 - $75, is based on agency budget, and is available at registration checkout.

Tuning In: Using Trauma Informed Facilitation

Thursday, November 9, 2017  9:30 AM- 12:30 PM

Facilitator: Karla Robinson

Concentration: Group Facilitation

Cost: Sliding Scale*

Responding appropriately to the trauma our young people exhibit requires practice and patience. This workshop will equip participants with an understanding of how trauma impacts engagement and how to plan, facilitate and assess activities to ensure you are creating a compassionate and supportive environment.  

During this workshop, participants will:

  • Learn how trauma often manifests in group situations
  • Practice planning group activities from a trauma informed lens
  • Learn three strategies for preparing yourself to work from a trauma informed framework


*Sliding Scale ranges from $55 - $75, is based on agency budget, and is available at registration checkout

Quickly and Effectively Reaching Volunteers using Microlearning

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Facilitator: Jordan Card

Concentration: Learning and Development

Cost: Sliding Scale*


Supporting the Learning and Development needs of 1000+ volunteers with varying schedules, priorities and needs can be challenging. Microlearning is a method of providing information in short, concise ways that reach a large audience. Learning and Development experts are using this strategy to connect to their audience in the era of YouTube and Social Media. Using microlearning to connect with your volunteers is a quick way to pass along tips, resources and tools when webinars and in-person trainings are not an option. Learn the basics of microlearning, how to make it effective and build a plan for incorporating microlearning into your volunteer management.


During this workshop, participants will learn:

  • The foundations of microlearning and how it is used
  • A framework and guidance on creating microlearning videos
  • How to incorporate microlearning in their organizations


*Sliding Scale ranges from $55 - $75, is based on agency budget, and is available at registration checkout.


Mandated Reporter Training: Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

Tuesday, November 16th, 2017  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Facilitator: Lauren Graham

Concentration: Child Abuse prevention and reporting

Cost: Sliding Scale*


Professionals who come into contact with children in the course of their everyday activities play a vital role in identifying and assisting children who may be victims of abuse. New York State law requires professionals who come into contact with children and families (i.e. teachers, physicians, nurses, social workers, dentists, dental hygienists, psychologists, optometrists, chiropractors, and podiatrists) to take a two-hour course in identifying and reporting child abuse and neglect. Approved by the New York State Department of Education, this training teaches professionals how to identify signs of abuse and neglect and understand their legal obligations as mandated reporters.  Participants are eligible to receive a certification of completion recognized by the State of New York.

Participants will have increased ability to:

  • Assess real-life situations to determine whether there is “reasonable cause to suspect” child abuse or neglect.
  • Identify the common physical and behavioral indicators of child abuse or neglect exhibited by children.
  • Understand the legal framework underlying the child protective system.
  • Describe how to speak to a child who discloses abuse. 
  • Effectively report child abuse or neglect to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (the SCR).

Creating an Inclusive Environment: Empowering Organizations Working with LGBTQ Youth

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017  10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

 Facilitator: Cole Gionnone

 Concentration:  LGBTQ Inclusion

 Cost: Sliding Scale*

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth are part of every school, every youth program, and every community. Yet, as LGBTQ youth become more visible, youth-serving professionals may feel unprepared to address their needs or to ensure that they are creating a truly inclusive space for LGBTQ youth to thrive and succeed. This workshop is designed to increase a professional competence and confidence in working with LGBTQ youth, with an enhanced focus on issues of gender diversity. This workshop will: share the most up-to-date information about LGBTQ youth- including both the challenges they face and the ways in which they are thriving; incorporate in-depth content on specific needs of transgender and gender nonconforming youth; help practitioners develop their cultural competency in working with LGBTQ youth populations; and provide concrete strategies for assessing and improving their own programs and environments.

During this workshop, participants will:

  • Gain usable strategies for ensuring LGBTQ inclusion in their work
  • Examine their own program and individual work for LGBTQ inclusion
  • Learn best practices for serving LGBTQ youth, with particular attention to transgender and gender nonconforming
  • Have opportunity to ask questions about the experiences and identities of LGBTQ youth


*Sliding Scale ranges from $55 - $75, is based on agency budget, and is available at registration checkout.


Promoting Positive Behavior

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017  10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Facilitator: Dane Martinez

Concentration: Behavior Management

Cost: Sliding Scale *


In this foundational workshop, participants will be introduced to the Ramapo Toolbox for Creating Environments that Support Success and will learn to view youth behaviors that adults find challenging through the lens of unmet needs and lagging skills.  Using hands-on experiential activities, reflection questions, case studies, and role-plays, participants will develop and practice techniques for meeting needs and teaching skills. Participants will leave with an organized “Toolbox” of strategies and a common language for pre­venting, understanding, and responding to challenging behaviors through role modeling, building relationships, clarifying expectations, establishing structures and routines, adapting for individual needs and responding, reflecting, and repairing.

During this workshop, participants will:

  • Examine environments that promote positive behaviors
  • Learn how to respond to challenging behaviors
  • Gain tools and techniques to meet youth behavior needs
  • Understand strategies to teach positive behavior skills




*Sliding Scale ranges from $55 - $75, is based on agency budget, and is available at registration checkout.

Justice Circles: A Restorative Approach

Thursday, December 14, 2017  10:00 AM- 1:00 PM

Facilitator: Maryann Diaz

Concentration: Group Facilitation

Cost: Sliding Scale*


Restorative justice is a process involving the primary stakeholders in determining how best to repair the harm done by an offense. The three primary stakeholders in restorative justice are victimsoffenders and their communities of care, whose needs are, respectively, obtaining reparation, taking responsibility and achieving reconciliation. In this workshop, participants will learn and apply techniques learned to create meaningful and emotional exchanges that impact social discipline approaches to create fully restorative outcomes.

The use of Restorative Practices will:

  • Reduce at risk behaviors
  • Improve Human Behaviors
  • Strengthen Civil Society
  • Restore relationships as it relates to nuclear families.


*Sliding Scale ranges from $55 - $75, is based on agency budget, and is available at registration checkout.

The Project Management Cycle

Tuesday, December 19, 2017  10:00 AM- 1:00 PM

FACILITATOR: Caitlin Klein

CONCENTRATION: Professional Skills

COST: Sliding Scale*


Project management doesn’t just happen. Great project managers create the vision and path to purposefully plan and execute projects to increase the impact of their teams and organizations. This workshop will equip participants with an understanding of project management as a continuous cycle and the skills to create systems and routines to better manage projects.

During this workshop, participants will:

  • Learn about the four parts of the project management cycle
  • Practice project planning and execution using case studies
  • Create a toolkit of resources designed to be immediately used with their organization


*Sliding Scale ranges from $55 - $75, is based on agency budget, and is available at registration checkout.


Presenter Bios

Raven Shelton

Raven Shelton graduated from the University of New Haven with a BS in Criminal Justice-Juvenile Justice and obtained her MSW from SUNY Binghamton. Raven has extensive experience in working with at risk youth in both an individual and group capacity. Raven has experience in creating positive communities among youth populations remanded to detention centers as well as youth in high school and college settings. Raven is also a level II Certified Anger Management Specialist and has worked one on one with youth to help them become more in control of their anger.


Karla Robinson

Karla Robinson, M.S.Ed. brings over 15 years of direct service experience in the fields of youth development, special education and arts education.  For the past 7 years, she’s provided professional development opportunities to support non-profit professionals in creating transformative spaces designed to be truly inclusive of all its’ members.  She’s worked with all ages, from pre-k through college, in a variety of academic, community-based, juvenile justice and residential settings.  She received her M.S.Ed. from CUNY Hunter in Special Education with a focus on Behavior Disorders, and has extensive experience supporting youth caught at the intersection of multiple state institutions.  She currently provides professional development opportunities for Community-Word Project’s T.A.T.I.P Training Program. 


Jordan Card

Jordan Card is the Program Manager of the Center for Training and Professional Development at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC. Jordan has extensive experience teaching youth development skills in traditional public schools, charter schools and youth development programs in Oregon and New York. Jordan has developed training programs and workshops for teachers, school leaders and other educators on the topics of group management, leadership development, and creating inclusive environments. He currently manages the Professional Development Workshop Series and Mentoring Supervisor Certification Program at Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City. Jordan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Family and Human Services from the University of Oregon.


Dane Martinez

Dane Martinez is the founder and president of Keyon Consulting. Before launching his consulting business, Dane was most recently the director of South Bronx programs for Harlem RBI, ensuring successful design, operations, and collaboration. Prior to arriving at Harlem RBI, Dane served as a director in the Teacher Effectiveness Group and Office of School Leadership with the New York City Department of Education. There he led content development, training and design enhancements of performance management systems and leadership programs to support teachers and school leaders. Prior to his work at the New York City Department of Education, Dane was the founding dean of students for Achievement First Bushwick Middle School in Brooklyn. Dane also previously served as a program director with Teach with America-NYC and taught middle school science, math, and English in the Bronx. Dane is a Bronx native who earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in teaching from Pace University.


Maryann Diaz

Maryann Diaz is a Licensed Social Worker, in the state of New Jersey. A graduate from Rutgers University with a Master’s in Social Work, and Kean University, with a Bachelor's Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Ms. Diaz is passionate about revolutionizing urban education. In addition to servicing youth and adolescents, Ms. Diaz conducts professional development workshops within the Social Work and Education subdivisions. Having completed several stays abroad, Maryann is passionate about coupling advocacy and education to empower persons to recognize their abilities to succeed outside of their given circumstances.  

Caitlin Klein

Starting her career working in a special collections library, Caitlin has managed professional development programs, created internal communications systems, and developed and managed technology products for data and knowledge management. For the past 7 years, she has focused on honing her project management skills to organize both herself and the teams of people needed to get big projects done and done well. She holds a B.A. in English from SUNY Geneseo and an M.A. in English from NYU and has completed coursework in Product Management from General Assembly. She currently works as the Knowledge Management Specialist at New Visions for Public Schools.

Cole Giannone

Director of Program Evaluation, Training and Advocacy at the Ali Forney Center. They have been working at AFC since 2010, across multiple programs within the agency. Cole is responsible for training all new hires on agency best practices, policies and procedures for working with LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. Cole provides Technical Assistance to other providers across the country who wish to start LGBTQ housing programs or become better at serving LGBTQ youth.


Nadia Swanson, LMSW is the Coordinator of Training and Advocacy at The Ali Forney Center. She is passionate about working with youth and has done so in various capacities as a social worker, advocate and organizer. 


Alexander Rey Perez is currently a Youth advocate and trainer at the Ali Forney Center. He is a motivated 24 year old who's passions include advocating for youth and LGBTQIA+ people.


Kay Jackson is currently a Youth Trainer at the Ali Forney Center. Kay is 24 years old and identifies as bisexual. Kay wants to be a social worker one day, preferably with LGBTQ youth because she knows what it is like firsthand. Kay feels like she could really make a difference. 


Ja'asriel Bishop is currently a Youth Trainer at the Ali Forney Center, a Consultant at Point Source Youth and a member of the NYC CoC Youth Advisory Board. Ja'asriel is creative, an organizer and an activist.