Bernheim’s Children at Play Network and Play Cousins Collective Present
Seeds for Urban Play Conference
8:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, 2019
Location: St. Stephen Family Life Center, 1508 West Kentucky Street, Louisville KY, 40210
Registration Fees are offered on a sliding scale: $0 – $5 – $10 – $25 or $50. Please choose as you are able to pay or attend for free.
We know that all children benefit from play in general and more specifically from free play in safe outdoor settings. We also know that not all children have equitable access to play opportunities. The Urban Play Conference explores the challenges and the benefits of planning for play through cultural lenses that honor the abundant wealth of knowledge, resources and rich experiences that exist in marginalized communities.
Who should attend:
People working in organizations serving urban communities, play advocates, educators, youth development and recreation professionals, city planners, healthcare professionals, parks and recreation people, parents, neighborhood advocates, and anyone with an interest in addressing inequities in how we provide safe places for children to play.
Speakers and Organizers
Kristen Williams is a on the go mama, community organizer and playful soul. She graduated from the University of Louisville in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a minor in Pan-African studies. Her passion for children’s programming and storytelling led her to founding Play Cousins Collective, an African American Family Collective in 2017. This non-profit organization serves the community in 4 ways: family engagement, children’s programming, community outreach and resource sharing. They partner with organizations such as the Louisville Urban League and Metro United Way in engaging families and children. As a grassroots organization Play Cousins Collective is building a village around Louisville’s African American children creating a culture around liberation and generational healing through parenting and extended kin. In 2017 Kristen received the Molly Leonard Award for Community Service from the Fifth District’s Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton. In 2018 Play Cousins Collective was honored with the Center for Neighborhoods’ Collaborative Neighborhood Partner Award. Kristen feels that by recognizing the wealth of knowledge, resource and experience in marginalized communities we can find sustainable paths to restoration.
Dr. Harrison Pickney IV is an assistant professor at Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences. He is the author of many publications on the state of recreation for black and minority youth and the importance of play for these groups.
“My research focuses on the systems, institutions, and programs that influence the racial socialization of African American youth. Similarly, I examine the ways in which racial identity manifests itself in the lives of African American youth.” – Dr. Pinckney
Dr. Corliss Outley is the Associate Department Head and an Associate Professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Services at Texas A&M. Dr. Outley’s area of focus is youth development and urban recreation. Her dissertation examined leisure behavior among inner city African-American children.
Rasul Mowatt is a Professor and Director of Graduate Studies of the Department of American Studies within the College of Arts + Sciences as well as an Associate Professor in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies within the School of Public Health – Bloomington. Main research areas include social justice, cultural studies, leisure behavior, and critical pedagogy. His teaching, research, and service is strongly centered on critiquing society for the issues that are prevalent and impacting the social well-being of people.
Free For All Baltimore
Free for All Baltimore is a non-profit child-led community building project based on ideas of freedom, access, and racial and economic justice that offers free and accessible play programming in the city of Baltimore.
Ben Dalbey is co-founder and full-time volunteer staff member for Free For All Baltimore. Ben is a lead teacher with the Community Play Project, a private play-focused preschool in northeast Baltimore, currently working with 4- and 5-year-olds. Ben has presented on topics of play education at national and regional conferences including the Progressive Education Network (2015), the U.S. Play Coalition (2016 and 2019), the International Play Association/TASP (2019), and the Ithaca Children’s Garden Play Symposium (2016 and 2019).
Courtney Gardner is co-founder, board member and full-time volunteer staff member for Free For All Baltimore. Courtney helps run the free and accessible programming. Courtney also founded the Community Play Project, a private play-focused preschool, in northeast Baltimore after teaching in both private and public schools for a over decade. She started the early childhood program in a church basement and has nurtured its expansion into a large center that has become an integral part of the community. Courtney has presented about play, education, and playwork at national and regional conferences.
Conference Schedule in brief:
Opening Remarks – Framing the Work of Play – Kristen Williams, Director of Play Cousins Collective
Implications for Play in Urban Communities – Dr. Harrison Pinckney IV, Assistant professor at Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
Cultural Competencies in Urban Play – Dr. Corliss Outley, Associate Department Head and Associate Professor at Texas A&M Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Services
10-11 Courtney Gardner and Ben Dalbey will discuss their non-profit, child-led community building project that offers free and accessible play programming that based on ideas of freedom, access and racial and economic justice.
Panel Discussions, Small Group Activities, Free Play and Play Reflections
12:00 – 1:00
Lunch on your own. Mattie’s Kitchen serves wonderful plate lunch specials at the St. Stephen Family Life Center for under $10. Or bring your own.
1:00 – 2:30
Short presentations by 11 community organizations working in some aspect of service to urban communities that directly or indirectly relate to play. Each presentation will be in the PechaKucha format of 20 slides at 20 seconds each for a total of 6.6 minutes per presentation. The community groups include:
Sadiqa Reynolds – Louisville Urban League
Sadiqa Reynolds is the President and CEO of Louisville Urban League. Her appointment made her the first woman to hold this title in the affiliate’s 95-year history. She has previously served as Chief for Community Building in the Office of the Mayor where she oversaw approximately 1500 employees. Sadiqa serves on several boards including Fund for the Arts, the Louisville Chamber, WAVE3 Editorial Board, WDRD Advisory Board and is a Director for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She has served as District Judge for the 30th Judicial Court. She was also the first African American woman to clerk for the Kentucky Supreme Court when she served as Chief Law Clerk for the late Chief Justice Robert F. Stephens. Her life as a public servant also includes being the first African American to serve as Inspector General for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Cassandra Webb – Russell: A Place of Promise
Cassandra Webb is the Senior Associate of Strategy & Innovation at Cities United, a national network of mayors focused on making sure all our children grow up in communities that are safe, healthy, and hopeful. The organization is committed to reducing the homicide and shooting rates of young Black men and boys ages 14 – 24 years by 50% by the year 2025. Since starting at Cities United in 2018, she has co-developed and coordinated the organization’s first Young Leadership Fellowship for 18 – 24 year old leaders across the country working with their mayors, city leads, and community organizations to develop violence prevention plans and strategies. As well as, developed and organized community engagement for Russell: A Place of Promise (RPOP). RPOP is an economic justice-based initiative incubated by Cities United and Louisville Metro Government focused on black wealth-building and investment without displacement in Louisville, Kentucky’s Russell neighborhood.
Matt Spalding – Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy
Matt Spalding is Education and Volunteer Program Manager for Olmsted Parks Conservancy. A certified arborist and twelve year employee of the conservancy, he has a background in restoration ecology and environmental education. Adding Free Play and Nature Play spaces to Louisville’s historic parks has been a hugely fulfilling practice for Matt, and he looks forward to more local collaborations.
Eboni Cochran – ReAct
Eboni is the co-director of REACT. REACT (Rubbertown Emergency ACTion) is an Environmental Justice organization made up of people living near or at the fence line of a cluster of chemical facilities commonly referred to as Rubbertown. Rubbertown chemical facilities are located in West and Southwest Louisville. She is also the founder and Executive Director of West Louisville Math and Science Project, whose goal is to help build math, science and literacy skills among African American families in Louisville.
Melanie is a work-from-home mom of two where she balances getting the community involved in self-directed education and nature immersion, traveling, and sourcing and selling curated vintage kids clothes online. She graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelors in Health Science and is a licensed Nuclear Medicine Technologist.
Mahogany Mayfield – Play Cousins Collective
Mahogany Mayfield is a Louisville native investing in our youth through intentional programming and mentoring. She has a passion for creating safe spaces for young people that cultivate self-identity, creative expression, and joy. Mahogany is a program director for Play Cousins Collective, where she creates and helps facilitate events for families that encourage authentic conversations, resource and knowledge sharing, and intergenerational family fun.
Martina Kunneke – Neighborhood Planning and Preservation
Martina is president of Neighborhood Planning and Preservation, a volunteer advocacy network supporting Metro neighborhoods since 2003. Her work includes governmental transparency, historic preservation, smart growth, environmental health, social justice, public transportation and quality education. She is also founder of RealWest and board chair of the Samuel Plato Academy of Historic Preservation Trades.
JoCari T. Beattie – Jefferson Memorial Forest ECHO Mobile
JoCari is the Community Outreach Specialist at Jefferson Memorial Forest, in Louisville Kentucky, where his goals are to create more equitable access to nature. He connects not only children, but families to outdoor experiences. JoCari is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Quantitative analysis and Social Science with a minor in Psychology. In less than two years at Jefferson Memorial Forest he’s spearheaded their ECHO Mobile program increasing programming by 300% in WEST Louisville.
Stephen Lewis – Ag in the City
My name is Stephen Lewis. I am a native of Nashville, TN and I have lived in Louisville for the past 7 years. I graduated from Tennessee State University with a Master’s Degree in Plant Science in 2012. Shortly afterwards I moved to Louisville and began working for Kentucky State University as County Extension Agent for Jefferson County in the area of horticulture. I’ve worked with several schools and community organizations, and I manage Jefferson County’s Master Gardener Program and volunteers. I have also assisted in building over 30 garden beds around the city. As I resident of the Shawnee neighborhood, I experience first-hand the limitations that come from living in an economically depressed area, from lack of adequate healthy food to eat, to the stereotypes and judgments about consumer demand for it. I created an organization called Ag in the City with the goal to increase access to healthy food and garden green spaces for community residents. We want to have spaces to train people on growing in harmony with natural principles and provide places to freely experience nature and observe the ecosystem. This year I started a farmers market in West Louisville that quickly became a place for community gathering and networking. My goal is to be an integral part of my community’s food system and to help find unique solutions to help solve our food, health and economic disparities.
Robin Schotter – Community Coordinated Child Care (4C)
Robin Schotter is the Communications Coordinator and Early Childhood Science Specialist at Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C). She is a Kentucky Credentialed Trainer with over 18 years of experience in early childhood science. Before joining the staff at 4-C in 2009, she had worked as the early childhood education coordinator at the Kentucky Science Center and as a naturalist and guide at Wyandotte Caves and Marengo Cave.
Zach Brammel, Rachel Brunner, Jessica Forst, Dustin Pickett, Carolyn Waters
Children at Play Network – Free Play Facilitators
We are the CAPN Team. We are the Playworkers. We come with different experiences to share with each other and lenses through which we view play in Louisville. Zach Bramel is a writer, a parent, a puppeteer, and theater educator who works for kids whenever he gets the chance. Rachel Brunner brings a community organizing approach to play and currently manages Common Earth Gardens. Jessica Forst brings a background in early childhood education and being a mom to the playspace and works as an early childhood special education resource teacher at Jefferson County Public Schools. Dustin Pickett is a father and rewilder who sees play as a natural phenomenon, revitalizing and essential for human development and wellness. Carolyn Waters shares an ecological perspective to play through her work as a professor and PhD Student at Bellarmine. We each have our own way of playing and interacting; our own triggers, challenges, and strengths; our own way of looking. We believe that play is a basic human right and that play needs to be equitable and culturally appropriate. We love to play and we hope to see you in the play frame soon.
Conversation Cafe – Prompted small group conversations that pull knowledge into action
Mapping our collective opportunities
Close Out with and eye to the future
[A full program outline for this portion of the conference will be available prior to the event.]
Children at Play Network
Claude Stephens – Director
Melissa Rue – Coordinator
Registration Fees are offered on a sliding scale: $0 – $5 – $10 – $25 or $50. Please choose as you are able to pay or attend for free.
Questions? Contact Melissa Rue at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to our sponsors for the Urban Play Conference
Here are resources related to the conference focus:
Open Letter to US Play Advocates