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Date: 8/16/2021 - 8/17/2021
Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Held Virtually

The PA Community Alliance Summit, a project of the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, will discuss and explore the theme: Recover, Rebuild, and Reform. What does it look like in your community to “recover?” How can we “rebuild” communities to move forward? What “reform” is needed to improve community systems? The Summit is two days of networking, discovering alliances and collaboration building within diverse organizations in Pennsylvania led by and/or supporting underserved/unserved populations who experience marginalization and oppression.


9:00 am – 10:00 am  |  Session 1: KEYNOTE

Daniel Jurman will open our Summit with information about the intersection of poverty and trauma.

10:15 am – 11:15 am  |  Session 2: (Choice of A or B)

A: Panel Discussion on Domestic Violence – Domestic Violence happens behind closed doors and we’ve had our doors closed for quite some time now. How do people of color and those in the LGBT communities recover? Facing additional challenges of poverty and mental health how do you rebuild? Now that we are removing our masks and opening our doors, how do people reform their lives?

Panelists: Safe Journey, Crisis Center North, Lutheran Settlement House

B: The Pa Horticultural Society – Mobilizing home and community gardeners to grow and share healthy food and giving people with barriers to employment, such as previous incarceration, an opportunity to learn horticultural job skills, aided people to recover from food insecurity during covid. Equipping people to grow and share food and providing job opportunities rebuilt nutrition and recreation structures that support communities. Transforming blighted lots into mini parks and healthy living environments reforms our communities.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm

Pop-up Talks – Get an introduction to 3 speakers.  Following lunch, join a discussion with 1 or 2 of them.  Discover how you could work together to recover, rebuild and reform Pennsylvania.

12:00 pm – 12:45 pm


12:45 pm – 1:15 pm  |  Pop-up Networking Stations (Choice of A or B)

A1: Colours Organization – Come meet Miles Hunt. Miles will tell us about how We will recover from the effects of physical distancing, both remotely & virtually. We must rebuild our approach to socializing. Let’s discuss engagement reform with the Black, LGBT, substance abuse, and HIV communities.

A2: KenCrest – Come discuss community participation during Covid-19 for adults with intellectual disabilities. We seek to maximize use of technology to rebuild and reform community engagement.

B: Casa San Jose (CASA) – County and public service lack culturally tailored supports or language information, preventing the Latino and Hispanic communities from accessing services and needed information to recover and rebuild during Covid-19. This prompted Casa to explore reforms and develop the Latinx Relief Program, in coordination with community allies and organizations, to provide wraparound services and launch an aggressive social media information campaign to disseminate accurate and language/culturally accessible information.

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm  |  Session 4: (Choice of A or B)

A: Suicide & Prevention Panel – During Covid-19, suicide and prevention loomed larger than previously experienced. Let’s discuss what the experience of community members such as veterans, the aging, people with disabilities and those with a mental health diagnosis looks like to recover and rebuild. And what is being done to reform systems of support.

Panelists: Franklin County Military Outreach Program, Center for Community Resources, Minding Your Mind

B: Awaken Pittsburgh – Since the start of the global pandemic, people faced isolation and the loss of loved ones, jobs, and financial security. The mental health challenges of BIPOC and undocumented communities during this time exacerbated the unequal access to supports that existed pre-COVID19. How do we recover with our depression, anxiety, exhaustion, and have enough to help others rebuild? This session will facilitate a conversation about what can work to reform and heal you.

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm  |  Session 4: (Choice of A or B)

A: Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children – We will discuss how women re-entering community post incarceration recover and rebuild their lives. Key discussion points will include reforms in housing equity and homelessness, social equity, healing from trauma, advocacy and civil rights movements, the justice system, parenting, mental and behavioral health, and addiction.

B: Domestic Violence Service Center – Individuals with disabilities are more likely to experience domestic violence than individuals without disabilities. Abuse may include: physical violence, emotional abuse, financial control or sexual abuse. Points of discussion will be to recognize the signs of abuse, developing a safety plan, and accessing the resources available to living an independent life free from violence.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm  |  Session 5: (Choice of A or B)

A: U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants (Erie Field Office) – This session will focus on the intersection of trauma-informed care & cultural sensitivity. Many marginalized communities face trauma, strive to recover, and rebuild their lives through informed care. But we are not always mindful to reform our care to include cultural sensitivity. Starting from a lens on the refugee and immigrant experience, we will explore the intersections of trauma across other demographics to include race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and class.

B: Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging – As one of the biggest challenges heard during the pandemic was the stress that our aging facility residents and their families endured in not being able to visit and the risk of infection. They are still trying to recover. We can speak eloquently about the advocacy the ombudsman program conducted to rebuild confidence and the efforts made to keep our residents connected with loved ones during the pandemic. It is also an area that needs more development. We’d like to discuss reforms that could make the system better and improve older adult isolation.


9:00 am – 10:00 am  |  Session 1: (Choice of A or B)

A: Opening Panel – Sexual Violence & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Join us to discuss how sexual violence differs for diverse populations such as youth, people with disabilities and veterans? What will help them recover? And how did systems rebuild during Covid-19? We will also discuss what reforms are happening in community-based partnerships?

Panelists: Norristown Vet Center, Mission Kids: Children’s Advocacy Center of Montgomery County, Sexual Assault Resource & Counseling Center (SARCC)

B: U.S. Small Business Administration (Philadelphia Field Office) – Shifts in economic and societal trends during the pandemic provided opportunities for entrepreneurship and the ability to generate income by delivering goods and services communities depended on. We will discuss the resources and support SBA offers for entrepreneurs to start, grow and expand, or recover and rebuild their business from a disaster.

10:15 am – 11:15 am  |  Session 2: (Choice of A or B)

A: Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (PULP) – PULP will highlight overarching issues with utility access and how the pandemic has compounded these problems. We will discuss how communities can work together to recover, rebuild and reform, causing a ripple effect that will help alleviate utility accessibility issues.

B: Autism Society of Pittsburgh – With increases in protests and marches to recover from social justice barriers, and higher exposure to law enforcement, it is critical we rebuild our knowledge of Autism and effective methods of communication and de-escalation. We will highlight the importance to reform education for first responders, who make split-second decisions in their encounters with the public.

11:30 am – 12:00 pm  |  Pop-up Talks

Get an introduction to 3 speakers.  Following lunch, join a discussion with 1 or 2 of them.  Discover how you could work together to recover, rebuild and reform Pennsylvania.  Choose from A or B below.

12:45 pm – 1:15 pm  |  Pop-up Networking Stations: (Choice of A or B)

A: Her Power Incorporated – Childcare facilities faced challenges during covid and need to recover now that we are opening our communities. We will discuss disparities, how children and inner-city businesses were impacted during covid, and how we must reform practices around childcare to be successful moving forward.

B1: Saint Joseph’s University – The Impact of COVID on Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education in Marginalized Urban Communities

In this session we will discuss the impact of COVID on Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education in marginalized urban communities. Data is showing that many vulnerable families discontinued services for their children (birth-5) with disabilities and delays during the pandemic. It’s crucial for stakeholder groups to work collaboratively to conduct community-based outreach in order to reengage families. Young children with disabilities and delays and their families from marginalized urban communities also stand to benefit from sustained collaborative efforts given how challenging the system can be to navigate.

Kaitlin MoranKaitlin K. Moran, Ph.D.

Kaitlin K. Moran is an assistant professor of Teacher Education at Saint Joseph’s University. Her research focuses on the accessibility and equitable distribution of high-quality early childhood education in high-poverty urban neighborhoods. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on child development, the foundations of early childhood education, and the interplay between language, literacy, and culture. Prior to arriving at Saint Joseph’s in August 2016, Dr. Moran was an affiliate professor of education at Temple University from 2010 to 2016 where she taught courses on the history of the American education system, current topics and trends in education, and child and adolescent development. During that time, she also served as a researcher in The School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Research and Evaluation, focusing on early childhood programs and programming, and a K-3 literacy coach for a local charter system. Prior to 2010, Dr. Moran taught bilingual Pre-K, Pre-K, kindergarten, and remedial first grade in the inner cities of both Chicago and Philadelphia. Dr. Moran received her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Notre Dame, her M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education with a Special Education endorsement from Dominican University, and her Ph.D. in Urban Education from Temple University.

Mollie Sheppard, Ed.D.

Mary E. (Mollie) Sheppard is an assistant professor of Special Education at Saint Joseph’s University.  The focus of her research is improving the lives of children with disabilities and their families through effective collaborative teams. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on special education, school, community and family collaboration and inclusive practices.  Prior to arriving at Saint Joseph’s in August 2017, Dr. Sheppard was an assistant professor at Rowan University from 2012 to 2017 where she taught courses in special education and collaborated with colleagues at Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine to incorporate disability and special education topics into the curriculum. Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Sheppard worked as an Inclusion Facilitator in the Newton Public School in Massachusetts.  Dr. Sheppard received her B.A. in English Lehigh University, her M.Ed. in Special Education from Boston University, and her Ed.D. in Special Education from Boston University.

B2: The Mentoring Partnership SW PA – The goal of this discussion on Trauma-Informed Mentoring is to help young people recover and heal, and then rebuild connections to help them grow. We will discuss the impact of the pandemic and recent social unrest as it relates to traumatic experiences.

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm  |  Session 3: (Choose from A or B)

A: Chovanes Law – Trans People, Covid-19, and the Fight Continues – This session will provide basic information on trans people. Trans people are confusing for many people and even our LGB friends. We will review gender dysphoria, a trans-specific disability, defined as the psychological distress that results from being trans. Turning to the future, we will discuss how we need to recover from the past years, which include not only Covid-19, but also hatred towards trans people. Policies and laws will be discussed, the ones that exist and the ones that should exist, and how they could help build our recovery. The future and the needed reforms that PA needs to make for us will finish the session.

Julie Chovanes

B: PA Office of Victim Advocate – The pandemic has compounded risks for sexual and domestic abuse. The Office of Victim Advocate assists in the recovery and rebuilding process for people who have been impacted by these crimes. This session will assist the audience in identifying and assessing risks as well as signs of abuse, and what to do if you know someone who is being abused. It will also focus on safe ways to reach out for assistance, including local and state resources, to help ensure victim and community safety. In addition, this session will identify programs, such as the Address Confidentiality Program, which can serve as an important tool in safety planning.

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm  |  Session 4: (Choose from A or B)

A: Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy – This presentation will explore the ways that mutual aid and community care play a part in supporting marginalized disabled communities. Community partnerships are so very important to help us all recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will discuss what reforms and practices are needed moving forward to create welcoming and inclusive communities.

B: Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 AND Bridge Beyond – Bridge Beyond works with community members and organizations not typically associated with homelessness. The Appalachia Intermediate Unit #8 coordinates and enhances efforts of organizations connected with school systems having responsibility for homeless students. Join us to hear how both seek to reform how we approach homelessness.

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm  |  Endnote Panel: Education, Inclusion, Equity & Rights

Over the last 2 years, our country has seen a rejuvenation of the will to address social inequities and injustices. It appears we seek to recover from hundreds of years of discrimination, bias, and oppression. This session will explore one aspect of life that impacts all of us – our education system. Come hear how different schools in Pennsylvania are rebuilding and reforming to support youth and adults in marginalized communities.

Panelists: Educating Communities for Parenting, The Bridge Way School/Greater Philadelphia Association for Recovery Education, Propel Schools, York County School of Technology

Anita Kulick | Educating Communities for Parenting

Anita Kulick is President & CEO of Educating Communities for Parenting and a founding member of the Pennsylvania Parenting Coalition.  She has worked in the field of education and parenting for over 40 years.  Ms. Kulick started her career as a Philadelphia public school teacher, and for the last 20 years has been developing and implementing specialized programs and services for highly at-risk children, adolescents, and adults; including those who are parenting, adjudicated delinquent, in foster care, parents living with their children in homeless and substance recovery residences, and families impacted by visual impairment.

Ms. Kulick has a B.S. in Education from Pennsylvania State University, an M.A. in Education from Arcadia University, is an IFP Certified Parenting Facilitator and a Certified Trauma-Competent Family Professional.  Ms. Kulick holds a Certificate from the Drexel University Goodwin College of Professional Studies in Positive Psychology, and is an advocate for children, youth, and families throughout the Region and serves on a variety of boards commissions.

Event Presenter

This event is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council; in part by grant number 1901PASCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201.  Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions.  Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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