Day 1 Takeaways from the Reclaiming Futures Leadership Institute

We're spending the week in San Antonio for the Reclaiming Futures Leadership Institute (which you may already know if you're following @RFutures on Twitter). For those not on Twitter, we'll be posting updates here on the blog and on Facebook.
Here are our takeaways from Day 1:
Cora Crary, Learning Collaborative Manager, Reclaiming Futures

  • "Sometimes the best treatment is cookies and milk." Day one started off with a fantastic presentation by Jerry Tello who developed the Cara y Corazon curriculum used by Reclaiming Futures Santa Cruz. His presentation reminded us that no scope of work or assessment has the power to heal the way feeling wanted and connected within a community can.
  • Marcus Stubblefield reinforced Jerry Tello's work in his presentation on community involvement. He reminded us that, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."
  • At lunch we got a fantastic dance presentation by the local youth group, HYPE -- including a chance to see our colleagues on the dance floor.
  • Laura Nissen talked about the importance of family engagements and reminded us that systems create trauma in the lives of their clients.
  • To top it off we saw a number of fellows rise to our Twitter challenge. So keep track in real time to their highlights with the hashtag #rf10.

Liz Wu, Blog Editor, Reclaiming Futures

  • "We must not lose sight of why we're doing this difficult work," stressed Dan Merrigan. "It's for the children. They cannot choose their circumstances."
  • Culture heals and our work needs to be based in culturally sensitive practices, explained Jerry Tello.
  • Children need to know they are blessed, wanted and have purpose.
  • Focus on INVOLVING the community, not just ENGAGING them, said Marcus Stubblefield. This means an honest two way conversation without a hidden agenda and with true and active listening on our part. The community knows what they need and may have trouble trusting us if we go in without their buy-in.
  • Here in Texas, teens are putting on dance performances to spread the message of drug and alcohol prevention and they are INCREDIBLE! Check out HYPE.
  • Economic injustices affect who has access to treatment and how that treatment is administered, explained Dr. Laura Nissen.


Liz Wu is a Digital Accounts Manager at Prichard Communications, where she oversees digital outreach for Reclaiming Futures and edits Reclaiming Futures Every Day. Before joining the Prichard team, Liz established the West Coast communications presence for the New America Foundation, where she managed all media relations, event planning and social media outreach for their 6 domestic policy programs. Liz received a B.A. in both Peace and Conflict Studies and German from the University of California at Berkeley. She tweets from @LizSF.

Updated: May 10 2012