Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring: Director of Family Connects (POSITION FILLED)

Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring: Director of Family Connects (POSITION FILLED)

We are so excited to announce that we are hiring a Director of Family Connects!

Under the guidance of the Executive Director, the Director of Family Connects will lead the State Intermediary functions related to planning and implementation of the Family Connects model in Colorado.

Experience, Skills, and Qualifications include:

  • At least five years experience implementing an EBP or experience in implementation science, understanding of model fidelity
  • Training and practical experience with project management
  • Experience scaling maternal child health, public health, or social service initiatives
  • Deep understanding of community health systems
  • Understanding of policy affecting early childhood initiatives, familiarity with Medicaid reimbursement, value-based payment systems
  • Commitment to advancing social and racial equity through collective action.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to manage collaborative projects, including balancing deadlines with community processes
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain highly collaborative working relationships with individuals of diverse professional backgrounds, technical expertise, and lived experience
  • Comfort with ambiguity, shifting environments, and shared decision making
  • Ability to balance multiple projects with shared deadlines while being responsive to emergent needs
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and Google suite

Compensation: This is a full-time position eligible for benefits. Starting salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience in the range of $70,000 – $80,000.

 

View the complete job posting here.

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three references via email with “Director of Family Connects” in the subject line to hiring@illuminatecolorado.org. The deadline to apply is February 4, 2022.

Illuminating Leadership Award Recipients Light the Way Toward Brighter Childhoods

Illuminating Leadership Award Recipients Light the Way Toward Brighter Childhoods

For several years, Illuminate Colorado has honored the contributions of exceptional individuals and organizations who have furthered our collective mission to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment. “The work that we do at Illuminate is never done in isolation, but always in collaboration. That is why we want to continue the tradition of lifting up others who are lighting the way toward better childhoods in Colorado,” said Jade Woodard, executive director of Illuminate Colorado, who hosted several virtual award presentations over the course of the last several weeks.  

Read about previous Illuminating Leadership Award recipients:

Ray Washington – Lori Moriarty Leadership Award

The Lori Moriarty Leadership Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a career that exemplifies the achievements and character displayed by the late Commander Lori Moriarty. Lori Moriarty, a former Children’s Trust Fund Board Member, 20 year law enforcement veteran, and founder of both the Colorado and National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, was unyielding in her efforts to educate professionals on prioritizing drug endangered children.

Ray Washington, founder and executive director of Bigger Than Me and Fatherhood Support Services was presented with the Lori Moriarty Leadership Award in recognition of his career of service to strengthen families by strengthening fathers. Washington is a father, grandparent and kinship provider. He is proudest of his children and his faith.

“I’m just a vehicle that’s gonna bring them to the services, that’s gonna help them understand it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to share your emotion. It’s okay not to be where you might want to be, but have a plan to get there,” Washington said in the 2014 documentary “Finding Fatherhood: New Hope for Families in Colorado.” 

He has mentored and advocated for fathers across Colorado and filled the vacant father role for young men in his community for years. “When dads are involved in their children’s lives, the children do better – financially, educationally, emotionally and socially,” Washington said in a 2010 Colorado Community Media article. “When you stabilize the dad, you stabilize the family, and that helps stabilize a community.”

We were unable to hold a fireside chat with Ray, but the impact of his work cannot be overstated. Illuminate Colorado’s Executive Director Jade Woodard shared, “Over many years and in many spaces, you have been relentless in your advocacy to ensure community is represented and voices are lifted. You are a beacon of light and in our hearts, we believe that your advocacy and leadership has made Colorado a better place to raise a family and be a father.” 

Lisa Thomas – Courageous Leadership Award

The Courageous Leadership Award recognizes a person in elected office or public employee for distinguished service focused on the prevention of child maltreatment and strengthening families.

Lisa Thomas received the Courageous Leadership Award for her work supporting youth and families in Baca, Cheyenne, Kiowa and Prowers counties as the About F.A.C.E. coordinator for the Collaborative Management Program. She is involved in leading child sexual abuse prevention efforts, building protective factors in families, and implementing Circle of Parents in southeastern Colorado.

Due in part to Thomas’ efforts, Kiowa County was the first county in the state of Colorado to reach the tipping point to create a new standard of child safety in the community. “That was our dream come true,” she said. “We thought, you know what, if we can do anything, we can certainly tip Kiowa County!”

Hopefully with the work that we are doing well here down in southeastern Colorado, we can lead the way for other people, other counties as well,” Thomas said.

Constellation Philanthropy – Catalytic Leadership Award

The Catalytic Leadership Award honors an individual or organization that has invested or inspired philanthropic investment to accelerate the prevention of child maltreatment and strengthen families in Colorado.

Constellation Philanthropy received the Catalytic Leadership Award for its work connecting individual funders who work and learn together to make a difference in Colorado’s early childhood landscape. Members learn about issues affecting early childhood in Colorado, discover organizations creating change, and explore opportunities to co-invest, but members retain complete control of their philanthropic dollars

Kate Reinemund, executive director of Constellation Philanthropy, said that the organization is most proud of “seeing all of these awesome innovations, awesome ideas that have been deployed in the ecosystem really grow and come to life.” For the last seven years, Constellation has been “supporting leaders in however they want to be taking on the idea of innovation in their own work,” she said.

Constellation will be sunsetting at the end of 2021, but over the last seven years, the organization has supported 74 innovative projects with over $7 million, and 37 families are now equipped to continue funding work and innovation in the early childhood landscape. 

Dr. Courtney Everson – Innovative Leadership Award

The Innovative Leadership Award is presented to an individual or organization who has made significant contributions to the field of child maltreatment prevention.

Dr. Courtney Everson received the Innovative Leadership Award for her work as a member of the Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee, co-chair of the Substance Exposed Newborns Data & Research Work Group, and lead evaluator for the Colorado Partnership for Thriving Families. 

Everson said that her work as a researcher is at the intersection of public health, prevention science, and social policy. She is a senior researcher/project director for the Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at the University of Denver and concentrates on maternal and infant health, child well-being, positive youth development and family strengthening.

One of the big questions Everson’s work strives to answer is, “How can we think about using research and evaluation to really uplift health and well-being for families, to think about moving from a focus of ill-being to true well-being, to think about moving from intervention to prevention, to think about moving from disparity to equity.”

Community Leadership Awards

One of the most powerful gifts you can give to future generations of Coloradans is sharing your lived experiences with policymakers or contributing your story to the narrative in Colorado to promote positive community norms that strengthen families and create impactful systemic change. In recognition of this amazing gift, Illuminate created a NEW award category – The Community Leadership Awards – to recognize those individuals who have dedicated an extraordinary amount of their time and openly shared their experiences to further systemic change and strengthen families in Colorado. 

The Community Leadership Awards recognize those individuals who have dedicated an extraordinary amount of their time and openly shared their experiences to further systemic change and strengthen families in Colorado.

Adam Combs and Adrian Nuñez

Adam Combs and Adrian Nuñez received the Community Leadership Award for their work facilitating two Circle of Parents groups in Colorado Springs: Circle of Fathers and Fathers of Freedom. Circle of Fathers and Fathers of Freedom create a safe space for fathers to share their experiences, challenges and accomplishments with other fathers. Fathers of Freedom serves active duty and veteran fathers, and Circle of Fathers serves fathers statewide. 

Combs and Nuñez are looking forward to strengthening these Circles through in-person meetings and through Children’s Circle, a curriculum-based children’s program to build the social-emotional skills of the children of caregivers and parents attending Circles. 

Nuñez said that they were inspired to begin this work because “we realized that what we’re doing [with Circle of Parents], we’re able to break the cycle with a lot of things, especially when it comes to abuse.”

Combs said that this work is important for the community because “[t]he more we educate ourselves as parents, as fathers in our case, the better off our children can be to thrive.” 

In addition to this work, both fathers have been very open about their experiences parenting engaging with the media and even blogged on occasion to help create a stronger understanding in the community of how, together, we strengthen families and prevent child maltreatment.

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Building a Fort on a Solid Foundation

by Adam Combs | Aug 25, 2021

Sometimes it is hard to quantify what it means to be a well-rounded parent, or in my case, father.  How many experiences should one provide their child?  How many activities should I be engaged in with her, personally?  How many lessons should she be signed up for?  I believe the answer is simple: as many as you both can handle.  That is just what we were doing until the pandemic hit and all our usual routines came to a screeching halt. 

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RELEASE: One in Five Colorado Parents Say They Have No One to Turn to For Support

“The biggest reason I started this group was because being a stay at home father who is a combat veteran and has battled a lot of things over the years, at times have begun to feel isolated and withdrawn from the rest of society,” said Adrian Nunez, one of the founding members of the Circle of Parents group Fathers of Freedom, pictured with his two children.

Marilyn Fausset

Marilyn Fausset received the Community Leadership Award for her work as a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) advocate and co-chair of the Substance Exposed Newborns FASD Awareness Workgroup. 

Fausset was inspired to begin this work when she adopted two children with FASD. She said that when she retired from being a special education teacher, she wanted to work toward FASD awareness and education because she realized that “not everybody has that ability or that time.”

When asked what she would like to see change as a result of her advocacy, Fausset said, “I would like to see training for all professionals–anybody that we take our kids, even adults to–I would like all of them to know about FASD about the prevalence, and the effects, and the symptoms.” 

In addition to this work,  Fausset also helped launch the blog series Becoming FASD Aware, sharing the experiences of families impacted by FASD to strengthen families and build awareness, with her blog What good was his diagnosis anyway?

 

Diane Smith

Diane Smith received the Community Leadership Award for her work as a parent partner with Denver Parent Advocates Lending Support (DPALS) and chair of the Family Advisory Board to the Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN) Steering Committee.

DPALS connects families with parent partners like Smith to help them navigate the child welfare system through peer-to-peer support, and Smith uses her voice on the Family Advisory Board to identify barriers in seeking support and services, raise awareness about best practices when working with families, and inform priority-setting within the SEN Steering Committee to best serve the needs of families impacted by substance use.

Smith said that “Family Advisory Board gave me an opportunity to share with others, to share my story, to share my worries and fears, my concerns with our system, be able to be that systematic change, implement our desires, and also be there for support for others.” 

Smith is also passionate about the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors framework because “we can foster that protective factor within our parents and the families that we’re working with, and we can strengthen and build them up to maybe have a voice of their own one day.”

She has been a mentor to countless other parents and caregivers and worked to inspire others to get involved in a deeper level to create and inform systemic change.

“It is important to involve families with lived experiences as voice partners in program improvements and systemic change because it is the best way for our systems to evolve. When people are trying to identify what works, what doesn’t work, and how we change things for the next family, it is important for families to give input and share their experience,” said Smith.

Toni Miner

Toni Miner received the Community Leadership Award for her work as a Circle of Parents in Recovery facilitator and outspoken inspiration to other families walking a similar path. Miner was inspired to begin this work because of her own recovery journey. “I want to be able to give back. I want help, like I said, really build that leadership in parents to help reduce that recidivism,” she said. 

Miner is most proud of watching parents in her Circles grow. “I watch parents come in very broken and feeling very alone . . . to see them become strong, wonderful people and wonderful parents, and to see them give back to each other and to help each other understand that they’re not alone,” she said.

In addition to hosting a local Circle group, Miner trains and coaches other Circle of Parents in Recovery facilitators helping to expand the capacity of other communities to support families impacted by substance use disorders.

Miner has seen the evidence that Circle of Parents strengthens families and builds protective factors. “Risk factors are not predictive factors because of protective factors, and I really believe that we are building those protective factors in families, and that we are serving families as a whole [through Circle of Parents],” she said.

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Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring A Community Initiatives Associate

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Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring: Director of Family Connects (POSITION FILLED)

Illuminate Colorado Is Hiring a Strategic Initiatives Manager (POSITION FILLED)

We are excited to announce that we are hiring a Strategic Initiatives Manager!

Under the guidance of the Director of Strategic Initiatives, the Strategic Initiatives Manager will facilitate coalitions and work groups with an emphasis on behavioral health system efforts.

Experiences, Skills and Qualifications include:

  • Lived or professional experience related to maternal behavioral health such as experience with substance use, pregnancy, parenting, and/or perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
  • One to four years of coalition management, community organizing, and/or group facilitation experience
  • Passion for facilitating collaborative processes, coalition management, community organizing.
  • Commitment to advancing social and racial equity through collective action.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to manage collaborative projects, including balancing deadlines with
  • coalition input
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain highly collaborative working relationships with
  • individuals of diverse professional backgrounds, technical expertise, and lived experience.
  • Comfort with ambiguity, shifting environments, and shared decision making.
  • Ability to balance multiple projects with shared deadlines while being responsive to emergent needs.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Excel) and Gsuite

Compensation: This is a full-time position eligible for benefits. Starting salary is negotiable and commensurate with skills and experience in the range of $50,000 – $60,000.

If this sounds like an exciting opportunity to you, click on the link below for more details about the position.

 

View the complete job posting here.

 

To Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three references via email with “Strategic Initiatives Manager” in the subject line to hiring@illuminatecolorado.org. The deadline to apply is January 18, 2022.

Eight Ways to Strengthen Your Family and Community Before the End of the Year

Eight Ways to Strengthen Your Family and Community Before the End of the Year

Since November 1, Illuminate has been shining a light on ways you can get involved and illuminating ways that you can strengthen your family and the families in your neighborhood this holiday season. If you feel strongly about supporting your community, protecting the kids in your neighborhood and would like to make it a better place for your family, your neighbors, and generations to come, here are some small but effective suggestions from Illuminate Colorado you can implement right now:

Get to know your neighbors 

The first step to assisting your community is to get to know the people that are a part of it. If you don’t already know your neighbors, invite them over to share a cup of coffee or a home-cooked meal. Check for local groups on social media or visit in-person community meetings to build up connections. Organize a fun activity to bring people together.

Last year, we started a new tradition –  luminary lighting at home – to build a sense of togetherness in the community at a time when we needed to stay a part, to stay safe.  It’s something that we don’t want to let go off and hope more people will join us in organizing a luminary lighting for your neighborhood to build those social connections and friendships we know to be so important when trying to prevent child maltreatment. Post your neighborhood pictures on Dec. 10 #LighttheWayCO to inspire others.

Create a Crisis Plan for Your Family

If the unthinkable happened tomorrow, what would your family do? If for some reason, you lost all of the resources and support that you rely on everyday to provide for your family, where would you turn? One way you can help strengthen your family and your community in the process is to make a list of resources, before you’re in a panic and overwhelmed with stress. Becoming more familiar with the resources and programs available to strengthen your family will help prepare you to be a better neighbor if someone you know should need some advice on where to turn to for support. 

Start a fundraiser

Charity begins at home, they say. Start a fundraiser for someone you know, your local school or an organization on your family crisis plan. It can be a great way to bring your community closer together and potentially turn someone’s life around at the same time. Set up a donation jar at your holiday party, collect what you can and give an unexpected gift to a nonprofit or family this holiday season. 

Volunteer your time 

In every community, there are countless organizations like food banks, youth groups, domestic violence shelters, CASA organizations and family resource centers. They always need a helping hand. Volunteering your time at one of these places is an excellent way to help many people. If you prefer something less official, you can always offer to help a parent who has their hands full with babysitting.

Inform new parents or a family in need in the neighborhood you are going to help

Let’s face it, asking for help is a really hard thing for most people to do. Offer it up. Don’t ask parents “what can I do to help?” Instead, take steps to get the neighborhood meal train set up, ask if they have any allergies and what days they would like dinner dropped off. The comfort in knowing there are people around you who support and care about you is a gift unto itself.    

Taking care of yourself is an important part of parenthood. 

Schedule time for an activity that can help you decompress, relax and recharge. Resilience is built by learning healthy coping skills and strategies to manage stress and function well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.​ Take care of yourself, to take care of your kids.  

Incorporate charitable Giving into your business model. 

According to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, corporate social responsibility leads consumers to believe products are better quality. Consider donating a % of sales or proceeds as part of your business model. 

Pick an organization you’ve never given to before and give $5 on Colorado Gives Day 

If you live in Colorado, you likely know that nonprofits are trying so hard to let everyone know to schedule a gift for next Tuesday, Colorado Gives Day. Five dollars is close to the price of a cup of coffee, but we promise you, every little bit helps. Of course, if you have never given to Illuminate before, we hope you’ll think of us, but given that our mission is to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, you can also help by giving to anyone of the thousands of other organizations strengthening families throughout Colorado. We build brighter childhoods, together.

Today is DAY 32.  

These are just a few of the 61 ways we are encouraging people to light the way toward brighter childhoods before the year is done. Today is DAY 32.  

If you took inspiration from one or more of these ideas, complete the pledge form to let us know that you promise to do one or more of these ways to make a difference and Enter to WIN the Light the Way Prize:

4 general admission entries to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. (does not include surcharged temporary exhibits, IMAX, or Planetarium). All 4 entries must be used at time of admission. Entries expire 10/28/22.

Thank you to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for donating this Light the Way Prize to help build brighter childhoods in Colorado. A winner for this prize will be selected at random at 9 AM (MTN) on Tuesday, December 7 and notified at the contact information provided.

NEW Trauma-Informed Communication and Care Provider Education Series

NEW Trauma-Informed Communication and Care Provider Education Series

“We regularly hear from our colleagues that they recognize the importance of taking a trauma-informed approach to patient care, but very few have had the opportunity to receive formal training on trauma-informed care and communication,” said Dr. Laurie Halmo, pediatrician and toxicologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado and co-chair of the Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee work group focused on expanding healthcare provider education resources related to substance use and pregnancy with an emphasis on family leadership and addressing implicit bias. 

Designed by Healthcare Providers, for Healthcare Providers

Now, thanks to Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee Provider Education Work Group and the Colorado Perinatal Care Quality Collaborative, a NEW Trauma-Informed Communication and Care Provider Educational Series designed by healthcare providers, for healthcare providers, is available beginning next Monday. Each session grounded in the perspective of someone with lived experience related to substance use and pregnancy underscores just why this topic is so important.

Anyone who interacts with perinatal patients and their families in a clinical setting, from gynecologists, obstetricians, neonatologists, and pediatricians, to mental/behavioral healthcare providers and social workers, are encouraged to attend. Clinical professionals will walk away with the knowledge and tools to care for individuals in the perinatal period and those who are impacted by substance use in a trauma-informed way that leads to better experiences and outcomes for all. 

NEW Trauma-Informed Communication and Care Provider Education Series 

The educational series includes:

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an overview of the impact of trauma on women’s health, mental health, substance use, and experiences with obstetrical care

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effective trauma-related screening questions and practical provider and team approaches to improve communication and trauma-informed care in obstetrical settings

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practical tools for recognizing and reducing stigma and bias in interactions with patients

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practical tools for optimizing brief clinical interactions with individuals impacted by perinatal substance use in a trauma-informed, non-stigmatizing way, including motivational interviewing, attending skills, and the LEAP (Listen, Empathize, Agree, Partner) approach

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