Professional Development Workshop Series 

This program offers the staff of social service organizations a series of stand-alone workshops taught by experts in the fields of non-profit management, human resources, and social work.

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Workshops at a glance:


  • Mentoring 101  
  • Volunteer Training: Train the Trainer  
  • Child Abuse and Neglect  
  • Feeling Good Feels Good: Preventing Burnout by Managing and Maximizing your Time 
  • Mission Possible: How to Engage Resistant Youth
  • Tuning In: Using Trauma-Informed Facilitation 
  • In Plain Sight: Identifying and Working with Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth 
  • Moving Forward: Running Efficient and Effective Meetings
  • Know Her Worth: Teaching Girls Empowerment
  • Justice Circles: A Restorative Approach

Register for workshops 

Mentoring 101 (Thursday, January 19)


Thursday, Jan 19, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM

FACILITATOR: Kiana Walbrook

CONCENTRATION: Youth Development

COST: Sliding Scale *


In this interactive workshop, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC will share the results from the new study by Philliber Research Associates to help participants identify the best mentoring models to enhance the services provided to their youth. This workshop will also touch on techniques to strengthen existing partnerships with schools, creating new and more impactful Out of School time programming, and most important, mentoring best practices.

Volunteer Training: Train the Trainer (Tuesday, January 31)


Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM

FACILITATOR: Cecilia Low-Weiner

CONCENTRATION: Volunteer/Staff Management

COST: Sliding Scale *


Volunteer Training is the foundation to a successful program but it’s often overlooked and rushed. In this interactive Workshop, participants will learn how to create the most engaging and effective training for their volunteers and take the time to practice implementing it with feedback. 

Child Abuse and Neglect (Thursday, February 16)



Thursday, Feb 16, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM

FACILITATOR: Stephen Forrester

CONCENTRATION: Youth Development

COST: Sliding Scale *


The NYPSCC Identifying and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect Training is New York State Department of Education-approved course that teaches professionals how to identify signs of abuse and neglect and understand their legal obligations as mandated reporters. Additionally, the training provides participants with information to help alleviate their anxiety about reporting abuse and gives them more confidence in recognizing possible indicators.

Upon completion of the training, participants will have increased ability to:

  • Assess real-life situations to determine whether there is “reasonable cause to suspect” child abuse or neglect.
  • Identify the common physical and behavioral indicators of child abuse or neglect exhibited by children.
  • Effectively report child abuse or neglect to the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (the SCR).


Feeling Good Feels Good: Preventing Burnout by Managing and Maximizing your Time (Thursday, February 23)


Thursday, Feb 23, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM


CONCENTRATION: Volunteer/Staff Management

COST: Sliding Scale *


With increasing work demands, client needs, and shortened deadlines our workload multiplies, yet time does not. When you have to get it all done, now, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  Understanding our internal habits and external triggers allows us to transform our relationship with time and find clarity in the chaos before burnout sets in and passion wears out. This hands on workshop will provide teachers and social workers with tools to make time work for themselves through a combination of discussion, hands on learning and proven methods.

Through this workshop participants will:

  • Learn how to reduce procrastination and effectively manage their time
  • Learn the Process, Act, Review technique to manage workflow overload
  • Apply simple mindfulness techniques to reduce work related stress and make effective time saving decisions

Mission Possible: How to Engage Resistant Youth (Tuesday, March 21)




Tuning In: Using Trauma-Informed Facilitation (Thursday, April 6)


Thursday, April 6, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM

FACILITATOR: Karla Robinson

CONCENTRATION: Group Facilitation

COST: Sliding Scale *


Responding appropriately to the trauma our young people exhibit requires practice and patience. This workshop will equip participants with an understanding of how trauma impacts engagement and how to plan, facilitate and assess activities to ensure we’re creating a compassionate and supportive environment.  

During this workshop, participants will:

  • Learn how trauma often manifests in group situations
  • Practice planning group activities from a trauma informed lens
  • Learn three strategies for preparing yourself to work from a trauma informed framework




In Plain Sight: Identifying and Working with Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth (Thursday, April 20)



Thursday, April 20, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM


CONCENTRATION: Youth Development

COST: Sliding Scale *


The trafficking of children and youth is one of the most heinous crimes of our time that affects all communities across the U.S. including communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Since 2007 there have been more than 1,521 cases of human trafficking in New York State with more than half of the cases children and youth. Service providers working with vulnerable youth often do not know how to recognize the signs of child trafficking or if they do, they are unsure how to respond. In this workshop, participants will learn to identify signs of commercially sexually exploited youth, use case studies to assess risk, and learn how to work with, and refer, them.


Through this workshop, participants will:


  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of child trafficking including sex and labor trafficking as well as the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
  • Using case examples, participants will learn about the indicators of child trafficking, how to assess whether a child may be trafficked or is at risk for trafficking, and how to refer a child for assistance if trafficking is suspected.

Moving Forward: Running Efficient and Effective Meetings (Tuesday,May 2)


Tuesday, April 11, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 12:00 PM

FACILITATOR: Leopold Richardson

CONCENTRATION: Staff/Volunteer Management

COST: Sliding Scale *


Ample meeting time can be hard to come by, and when the time is available, leaders and participants alike often feel that they are dying a slow death the longer they participate in them. There is good news: meetings do not have to be this way! Your meetings can be more impactful, and this workshop will show you how.

In this workshop, you will:

·         Learn four overarching purposes for meetings and team communication

·         Examine your current meeting practices

·         Practice new strategies for planning and facilitating meetings that serve to build your team and help it to get its most important work done

Know Her Worth: Teaching Girls Empowerment (Thursday, May 11)


Thursday, May 11, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM

FACILITATOR: Cecilia Low-Weiner

CONCENTRATION: Youth Development

COST: Sliding Scale *


Girls are assured that they can be anything they want; that they run on equal playing field, and their opportunities are limitless. But is this message clear enough? We have campaigns that tell us ‘we’re worth it’, but the message remains that we must change. This workshop will address issues of low self-esteem, body image, and dating violence through the promotion of self-awareness, self-worth and self-respect. Through the use of confidence-building activities and leadership opportunities, participants will learn how to empower the girls in their lives to be bold, authentic, and confident. We believe the most fearless thing you can be is yourself; and we believe in the powerful bodies, minds and voices of all our girls!



Through this workshop, Participants will learn:


  • Girls empowerment techniques
  • Creative ways to help girls build confidence through self-awareness, identifying their strengths, connecting to their communities and tapping into their leadership qualities
  • How to educate their girls on healthy body image, healthy relationships, and healthy self-concept

Justice Circles: A Restorative Approach (Tuesday, May 23)


Tuesday, May 23, 2017/ 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM


CONCENTRATION: Group Facilitation

COST: Sliding Scale *


Restorative justice is a process involving the primary stakeholders in determining how best to repair the harm done by an offense. The three primary stakeholders in restorative justice are victimsoffenders and their communities of care, whose needs are, respectively, obtaining reparation, taking responsibility and achieving reconciliation. In this workshop, participants will learn and apply techniques learned to create meaningful and emotional exchanges that impact social discipline approaches to create fully restorative outcomes.

The use of Restorative Practices will :

  • Reduce at risk behaviors
  • Improve Human Behaviors
  • Strengthen Civil Society
  • Restore relationships as it relates to nuclear families. 

Register for workshops



Alison Boak, MPH

Ali is a long time advocate of adolescent health and international expert on the issue of child trafficking and sexual exploitation. She has more than 20 years experience in organizational development, program design, grant writing, building strategic partnerships, designing and facilitating strategic planning initiatives, conducting research and evaluation, and writing curricula.  Her work has focused on improving the health and well-being of vulnerable adolescents in more than 12 countries especially those who are parentless, unaccompanied, LGBTQ, juvenile justice involved or commercially sexually exploited. 


As a pioneer in the field of human trafficking, she has created several model programs and founded numerous organizations, networks, and coalitions to coordinate the multi-disciplinary work required to assist trafficked persons. She is co-founder and Executive Director of the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA), a US based independent non-governmental organization formed to eliminate human trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable adolescents worldwide. Ali is also a founding member of the Freedom Network (USA), a national coalition of anti-trafficking service organizations and advocates working to empower trafficked and enslaved person.  Ali is known for her strategic responses to emerging problems and issues and her ability to bring groups together for a comprehensive response.  Her work to coordinate the human trafficking response in New York City has been recognized by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Senator Hillary Clinton and she received a proclamation from the Westchester County Board of Legislators for her efforts to coordinate the human trafficking across response in Westchester County.


Alison received a B.A. in English and Political Science from SUNY Albany graduating Magna Cum and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, the Division for Population and Family Health. She is a former Peace Corps Volunteer and Fulbright Scholar and currently serves as a Human Rights Leader-in-Residence at the City College of New York, Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership.


Kim Fontaine

Kim Fontaine is an Attorney, Coach and Facilitator.  Kim has over nine successful years of professional not-for-profit experience with an emphasis on leadership, community building, professional development and program operations.

Branching out on her own, Kim has created the not-for-profit organization, Perry Blair Consulting, which helps private sector and not-for-profit organizations, schools and individuals connect with their highest purpose, while growing their businesses and improving the quality of their work, lives, and impact on community and industry.

Kim is particularly committed to the empowerment of women, holding a position on the Executive Board of NYU’s Women’s Initiative. She is also currently working with NYC Small Business Solutions to develop and facilitate entrepreneurial programs.

Kim has degrees from both the University of Southern California Law School, where she obtained her Juris Doctor, and New York University where she obtained her B.A in political science. She was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in 2011.

Maryann Diaz

Maryann Diaz is a Licensed Social Worker, in the state of New Jersey. A graduate from Rutgers University with a Master’s in Social Work, and Kean University, with a Bachelor's Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences, Ms. Diaz is passionate about revolutionizing urban education. In addition to servicing youth and adolescents, Ms. Diaz conducts professional development workshops within the Social Work and Education subdivisions. Having completed several stays abroad, Maryann is passionate about coupling advocacy and education to empower persons to recognize their abilities to succeed outside of their given circumstances.  


Stephen Forrester

For over 22 years, Stephen Forrester, Esq. has provided key management assistance to The NYSPCC’s Executive Director, and heads The NYSPCC’s legal programs as well as provides management oversight to The Training Institute. Steve is an attorney and headed both the Guardian ad Litem program (1991-2005) and Child Permanency/Custody Mediation Programs (2003-2012) for The NYSPCC. He was formerly an Assistant General Counsel for New York City Administration for Children’s Services. While in that position, he prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases and related proceedings, and supervised a staff of attorneys also engaged in that work. Steve has trained over 7,000 professionals on their legal obligation to identify and report child abuse and neglect. He serves on the New York City Family Court Child Protection Sub-Committee of the Advisory Committee to the Administrative Judge.


Cecilia Low-Weiner

Is the Program Manager of the Center for Training and Professional Development at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC. Cecilia has extensive experience teaching youth empowerment with non-profits in India, San Francisco and New York. She has written curriculum for Universities and youth serving organizations both internationally and in the U.S.  In addition, she has also provided trauma counseling and empowerment workshops for victims of sexual violence. She currently manages and facilitates the Professional Development Workshop series, and conducts volunteer training sessions. Cecilia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Languages and Cultures of Asia from University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently working towards a Masters in Applied Social Research at Hunter College.


L. Kimo Richardson

L. Kimo Richardson leads the Council on Accreditation’s child and youth development work, overseeing the accreditation process for early childhood, after school, and youth development programs throughout the US and in parts of Asia and Europe. Kimo comes to this work having served children and youth in roles ranging from front-line after school and summer educator and site director for several community-based organizations to Managing Director of Programs for the New Jersey region of a national expanded learning time organization. Inclusive of his role at COA, Kimo serves the field on a variety of task forces, including the National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment’s Collaborating Organizations Workgroup and as a member of Foundations Incorporated's National Advisory Board. Additionally, he works as a trainer and consultant through People Profit Training and Consulting ( Kimo earned a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Regent University and a B.A. in Communication from Rutgers University.




Karla Robsinson

Karla Robinson, M.S.Ed. brings over 15 years of direct service experience in the fields of youth development,  special education and arts education.  For the past 7 years, she’s provided professional development opportunities to support non-profit professionals in creating transformative spaces designed to be truly inclusive of all its’ members.  She’s worked with all ages, from pre-k through college, in a variety of academic, community-based, juvenile justice and residential settings.  She received her M.S.Ed. from CUNY Hunter in Special Education with a focus on Behavior Disorders, and has extensive experience supporting youth caught at the intersection of multiple state institutions.  She currently provides professional development opportunities for Community-Word Project’s T.A.T.I.P Training Program. 


Kiana Walbrook, MPA

Is the Vice President of Training, Partnerships and Volunteer Relations at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC and has been with the agency for eight years. Kiana has over 16 years of extensive experience working within youth service sectors, Community-Based Organizations, Faith-Based Organizations, and afterschool programs. She provides comprehensive on-site technical assistance, curriculum development, training, and professional development for hundreds of non-profit organizations and corporations. Currently, she oversees and manages the Mentoring Supervisor Certificate Program; the only graduate level mentoring program in the nation, provides volunteer training and support internally, and oversees the recruitment and partnership development of new community partners.  Kiana holds a Master in Public Administration and Policy from Metropolitan College of New York. She facilitates a diverse array of workshops including topics covering: Communication, Public Speaking, Volunteer Management, Critical Issues, Mentoring Supervision, Youth Development, Parent Engagement and Diversity to name a few.