Monday December 2, 2013 from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM EST
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Lincoln Theater 
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Ave
West Hartford, CT

Driving Directions 


Kate Schworm 
Ana Grace Project, Klingberg Family Centers 

Love Wins: A Conference on Promoting Love, Connection, and Community for Every Child & Family



The Inaugural event of

 The Center for Community and Connection,

 A transformative initiative of the

Ana Grace Project of Klingberg Family Centers

 Event Sponsor: Stanley Black & Decker


A conference to honor and celebrate Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, whose life was ended at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.

 Join us for a day-long conference for those concerned with mental health and community well-being to help build connections that prevent and cope with trauma.  

 Those who participate in this conference will learn about and contribute to best practices in building community and interpersonal connections to prevent violence and promote recovery. Conference outcomes will contribute to a shared body of knowledge for community members, parents, and professionals to create their own roles in building connections that will enable love to win. 




8:00 – 9:00   Registration and Continental Breakfast                                            

9:00 – 9:30     Welcome     

          Walter Harrison, Ph.D., President, University of Hartford     

          Prelude Choir, Connecticut Children’s Chorus

                  Let There Be Peace on Earth

          Nelba Márquez-Greene & Jimmy Greene, Ana and Isaiah’s parents


          Steven Girelli, Ph.D., President & CEO, Klingberg Family Centers                 

9:30 – 12:30      Keynote Speaker

          Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Fellow, The ChildTrauma Academy

                  Love and Loss, How Relationships Heal                                                      

12:45 -  2:00        Lunch                                                                                      

 2:15 – 3:45       Breakouts                                                                       

A. Teaching and Learning with Compassion 

Deborah McCarthy, O.T., Mindfullness Collaborative for Youth and Schools and Adi Flesher, M.Ed.,  Garrison Institute

 B.  Community Connections: A public health approach to treating adversity

 Alice Forrester, Ph.D., Clifford Beers Child Guidance Clinic

C.  What's Zip Code Got To Do with It?  The Human Cost of Unmet Mental Health Needs in Our Cities.

 Isabel Pacheco Logan, L.C.S.W., Office of the Public Defender;  Keith Gaston, M.S.W.,  Village for  Families and Children;  Geoffrey Scales, Hartford Juvenile Probation;  Karl Koistein, L.C.S.W., DCF;  Iran Nazarrio, COMPASS Youth Collaborative plus Janis Astor del Valle and Lara Herscovitch, “Getting There” -  Performance Piece about Gun Violence

D.  Creating Compassionate Communities

Christopher Kukk, Ph.D., Center for Compassion and Community

E.  Mental Health First Aid: Mobilizing the Public to Respond Effectively to Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness.

Bryan Gibb, M.B.A., National Council of Behavioral Health

F.  Circle of Security: Parenting to Transform Families and Communities. 

Charlie Slaughter, M.P.H., R.D., DCF

4:00 – 5:30 Closing                                                                          

Final Thoughts:  Nelba Márquez-Greene and Steve Girelli

Music:  Jimmy Greene and Friends, reception

Register Now!


Registration Required by November 22nd

CEUs  Available


Love and Loss, How Relationships Heal

Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.

A great gift of humankind is our capacity to form and maintain relationships.  The foundation of health – emotional, social and physical – arises from our relational neurobiology.  The capacity to manage stress, distress and trauma, the capacity to give and receive pleasure and comfort, and the capacity to communicate and connect are all essential elements of a healthy person, family, community and culture.   Dr. Perry will discuss how empathy develops, why it is essential for our development into healthy adults, and how it is threatened in the modern world. Further, Dr. Perry will address how compassion and love - make individuals and society - creative, productive and humane. Changes in technology, child-rearing practices, education, and lifestyles impact our relational capacities – making us more vulnerable to loss – and less capable of meeting our full potential.  Practical practices that can help capture the healing power of relationships will be presented.

Dr. Perry is recognized world-wide for his work on the essential power of love and empathy in healing.  He is the Senior Fellow of The Child Trauma Academy, a not-for-profit organization based in Houston, TX, and adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. 


A. Teaching and Learning with Compassion

Deborah McCarthy, O.T. and Adi Flesher, M.Ed.

This break-out session will examine how contemplative practices can be used to respond to the ongoing crisis in American education.    

Ms. McCarthy has been an occupational therapist for 18 years and is currently working in Connecticut schools with children and adolescents who have issues with attention, self-regulation, anxiety, stress and trauma.  She founded the Mindfulness Collaborative for Youth and Schools.

Mr. Flesher is the Field Development Director for the Garrison Institute’s Initiative on Contemplation and Education. His role fosters the expansion of the scope, scale and effectiveness of work in contemplative education for K-12 educators. 

B. Community Connections: Taking a Public Health Approach to Treating Adversity

Alice Forrester, Ph.D.

This break-out session will describe New Haven's efforts to reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences using a two-generational approach.  Participants will discuss how collaboration and grass roots activism can impact children and families facing mental health challenges.

Dr. Forrester is the Executive Director of the Clifford Beers Child Guidance Clinic in New Haven, a community-based, mental health center for excellence for the treatment of children and families.  She was appointed by Governor Malloy to sit on the Sandy Hook Commission and has served as the Project Director of two National Child Traumatic Stress Network grants.

 C. What's Zip Code Got To Do with It?:  The Human Cost of Unmet Mental Health Needs in Our Cities

Isabel Pacheco Logan, L.C.S.W.,  Keith Gaston, MSW, Geoffrey Scales, BS, Karl Koistein,L.C.S.W., Iran Nazarrio, and performers Janis Astor del Valle and Lara Herscovitch, “Getting There" - Gun Violence Performance Piece

This panel will explore the link between undiagnosed and untreated mental health needs and violence, truancy, addiction, gang activity and other issues that impact urban youth.  It will foster an open dialogue with participants about the existing resources available to families and providers, and resource gaps.

Ms. Pacheco Logan works in Hartford Juvenile Matters Court and has served as adjunct faculty at CCSU and the University of St. Joseph, where she spearheads the Latino Community Practice Program.

Mr. Gaston serves as a clinician for The FatherWorks Program at The Village for Families and Children where he works with young fathers between the ages of 15 and 24 in an effort to help them develop and understand the joy of fatherhood and parenting. 

Mr. Scales is the Supervisor II for Juvenile Probation in Hartford. He has been employed with Juvenile Probation for 18 years and has been the Supervisor in Hartford for the past 10. He has led his office in implementing the principles of risk reduction and taking a relational/strength based approach in working with court involved children.

Mr. Koistein is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked for the DCF in Connecticut for eight years. Karl is a Supervising Clinician in Region 4,  the Hartford and Manchester  catchment areas. He supervises mental health and substance abuse specialists.

 D. Creating Compassionate Communities

Christopher Kukk, Ph.D.

The workshop addresses weaving compassion into the fabric of our learning (schools) and living (cities and towns) communities, drawing upon ideas from neuroscience, psychology, evolutionary biology, economics and other social sciences.  This will guide us through the “hows” and “whys” of creating compassionate communities.

Dr. Kukk is Professor of Political Science at Western Connecticut State University and founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation.

 E. Mental Health First Aid: Mobilizing the Public to Respond Effectively to Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness

Bryan Gibb, M.B.A., Director of Public Education, National Council for Behavioral Health
National Trainer and Spokesperson, Mental Health First Aid USA

In this workshop attendees will learn about the origin, mission, impact and stigma-reducing power of Mental Health First Aid, an evidence based public education program created to teach members of the general public and professionals how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use disorders, provide support, and if appropriate, deescalate crisis and refer to professional help.

Mr. Gibb oversees national dissemination of the Mental Health First Aid USA program. He is the lead trainer, certifies instructors to teach the course in their communities and is involved in all new curriculum development.

 F. Circle of Security Parenting: Transforming Families and Communities

Charlie Slaughter, M.P.H., R.D.

This workshop will underscore that genuine life grows in healthy, life-giving relationships. It is in relationships with genuine connection that children grow best in terms of love, joy, and capability.  Participants will discuss a new, innovative, and attachment-based intervention called Circle of Security Parenting.

Mr. Slaughter is an early childhood prevention coordinator for DCF.  Charlie is the program lead for the Triple P (Positive Parenting Program), Early Childhood Consultation Partnership program, and the Therapeutic Child Care program.