Awakening the human potential for inspiring sustainable, impactful, solutions.
October 27th-29th 2017
Omni Charlottesville Hotel, Charlottesville, Virginia
Engaging Youth Action Focus Track
Bringing the SPARK Back!
Presented by: The Cypress Initiative Team,
James Hird, Jamie and Brock Sellers, and Risa Ramji
The Engaging Youth track will point participants toward unleashing the potential and resiliency in your community’s most vulnerable youth.
Our youth face unprecedented challenges. Learn from a non-profit leader, social workers, an alternative school principal, a parent and youth mentors, who have significantly reduced risk factors our youth face in their own community – and found a new energy for their work.
Sessions will include:
Foundational principles that naturally unleash creative potential and innovation, Relationship and resilience building in yourself and others, Practical Teaching demonstrations, as well as Insight-Discussion opportunities.
Session 1: Finding the balance between your role and creating rapport. Led by Jaime Sellers and Brock Sellers
Session 2: Listening to Understand. Led by Risa Ramji
Session 3: Sharing what you’ve learned with your community. Led by The Cypress Initiative Team
Brooke Wheeldon-Reece, MBA, is the President/CEO of The Cypress Initiative, Inc. – a 3 Principles based non-profit organization.
She is the co-author of the S.P.A.R.K. (Speaking to the Potential, Ability and Resilience inside Kids) Mentoring Curriculum which is currently being taught to over 1,000 children in Tampa and around the world.
Prior to her work with The Cypress Initiative, she was a national trainer for the Mendez Foundation’s nationally recognized Too Good for Drugs and Violence prevention programs. She also spent time as a business consultant and curriculum developer for Verizon and Learning.com.
Brooke knew she found her home with The Cypress Initiative after watching her husband come out of a deep depression with seemingly little effort. She now dedicates her work to creating sustainable change throughout all populations via mentoring, coaching and teaching an understanding of the mind.
Helen Neal-Ali is The Cypress Initiative’s Lead Community Educator. She has over 18 years’ experience in prevention education and training. In the past 18 years she has trained with Elsie Spittle, Dr. Jack Pransky, Jan and Chip Chipman, Judith Sedgeman, Sara Murre and Michael Neill. Through her experience and recovery from domestic violence, she opened a licensed consulting firm, Life Changing Consulting.
She has since developed and facilitated self-esteem, substance abuse and parenting programs to the clients of several, local nonprofit agencies (Alpha House, Mercy House, Faulkenburg & Orient Road Jails, The Spring of Tampa Bay, The Boys and Girls Club, Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan, Informed Families of Miami, DACCO, TUMC Academy Charter School, Good Will, Family Justice Center, Hillsborough Correctional Institution). Now as a full-time employee for Cypress, Helen leads the charge facilitating programs in our schools and communities.
Jamie Sellers is a 1999 graduate from the University of Alabama School of Social Work and licensed private practice social worker who has been sharing the Three Principles for over 16 years. Over the years, he attended numerous Sydney Banks Conferences and received training and guidance from pioneers in the field, such as Pransky and Associates.
He and his brother, Brock, are pioneers in sharing this understanding in Alabama and have conducted training nationally for numerous service agencies, schools, mental health providers, and professional conferences. In 2013 they formed Innate Health Solutions, a company dedicated to sharing the Principles in a variety of contexts, such as personal development, in school settings, and with businesses. Given his background in mental health and social work, he is certain that a more foundational understanding of the Principles can essentially alleviate any “level of suffering.”
He is also an avid Alabama football fan and a part time professional magician. He currently lives in Homewood, AL with his wife Michele and 2 kids, Ashton (19) and Mattie Kate (6).
Brock Sellers is an Alabama native and clinical social worker who specializes in all things related to child welfare, foster care, and adoption. He has been a student of the 3 Principles for over 15 years and has been formally sharing this understanding since 2005 in a variety of settings. Having benefited from several years of mentoring and collaboration with Pransky and Associates, he and his brother, Jamie, have been sharing the 3 Principles through training and consultation for service agencies, schools, mental health providers, and businesses throughout Alabama and the Southeast.
In 2014, they formed Innate Health Solutions, a company dedicated to helping individuals, families, and organizations thrive by discovering the power of this understanding. Brock currently lives in the small town of Helena, AL with his beautiful wife, Robin and his two very active sons, Preston and Caden.
James Hird has been an educator of 26 years in his home district of Manatee County Schools, in Bradenton, FL, where he is a native and a product of the school district. He earned his BS in Psychology from Tennessee Tech University as a student athlete and returned to Bradenton to begin a career working with at risk youth. He earned his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2002. While he’s spent the past 13 years as an administrator for students in Title I schools, his career of working with students in alternative settings spans 26 years and includes students in Juvenile Justice, Residential treatment, charter and public schools. He is currently the principal of Horizons Academy where he continues his life’s work of recovering at risk students.
Risa Ramji, from Atlanta, GA, is a State of Mind Coach who embodies The Three Principles. She works with individuals, mother/daughter groups and students in grades 5-12.
Risa grew up with the understanding of the nature of thought which, she believes, gave her amazing resilience as her family moved multiple times and her friendships were constantly shifting. This incredible knowledge has also given Risa the ability to go through a divorce with ease & humor. Something that doesn’t happen too frequently. Raising her children (ages 10 & 13) with the understanding of the inside-out nature of life has been an incredible opportunity to teach them in an organic way. They are brilliant little people.
Nicole Wilson is The Cypress Initiative’s Community Programs Coordinator and Youth Mentor. Nicole is responsible for organizing and planning with representatives and organizations in the community & mentoring the youth to further The Cypress Initiative’s mission.
Prior to her work here, Nicole was an Elementary School Student Aid for Hillsborough County Public Schools. Because she is passionate about working with youth, Nicole believes she is right where she belongs with sharing this understanding of the mind to children in her community.
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