Upcoming Great KIDS Trainings and Events

“Dissecting The Strange Shift from Early Childhood to Adolescence” Workshop
Presented by Dr. Annemarie Grassi

June 7, 2019

This workshop is offered as a follow-up to Dr. Grassi’s lecture on “Building Big Brains: The Journey From Birth To Adolescence”.
(Attendance of the “Building Big Brains” lecture is recommended but not required to attend this workshop)
So now that you have the larger framework and underpinnings of brain development, let’s spend some time diving into the different physical, psychological, and emotional changes that children endure as they navigate through childhood and adolescence. Ever wonder how kids actually learn? Or why your teenager believes that they are invincible? Come take a deeper dive and join a dialogue on why our kids do what they do!

$30.00 workshop fee. This workshop is limited to 40 participants. Two (2) CEUs & light snacks are provided.

Click here to register

 “Building Big Brains: The Journey From Birth Through Adolescence”
Presented by Dr. Annemarie Grassi

June 7, 2019

90% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of 3 years, however the brain remains malleable and ever changing through emerging adulthood. Much of human behavior can be explained through understanding the neurological development of the child’s brain and what works best for creating “bigger brains”. Come learn about how children’s brain development progresses, how it explains their child’s behavior and needs, and tips on providing experiences to optimize that development.

Click here to register

Save the Date! 30th Annual Conference on Youth

October 3, 2019

Details coming soon

Previous Great KIDS Trainings and Events

“Vulnerable Populations: Additional Risks for Bullying and Digital Harm?”
Presented by Dr. Michelle Drouin

May 17, 2019

PFW Classic Ballroom
Walb Student Union

Members of vulnerable populations (e.g., minorities, LGBTQ, those with physical and developmental disabilities) are at additional risk for ostracism and/or bullying in both face-to-face and online contexts. This leaves members of these groups especially vulnerable to digital harm, which may relate to mental health issues, self-harm, and suicide. As the context of bullying and isolation extends beyond physical walls of schools and community organizations and into victims’ homes, it is important that we concentrate on identifying and creating safe online spaces for all youth, including those from vulnerable populations.

“The Intersection of Systems, Relationships, and Trauma”
Presented by Benjamin Planton & Karin Gilbert 

March 22, 2019

Downtown Allen County Public Library
Meeting Room AB
900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne IN 46802

Relationships are central to working with children, youth, and families. In this work, we need to assess how our systems and practices best benefit those children, youth, and families – particularly when looking at the effects of trauma, toxic stress, and adverse childhood experiences. Learn about these issues through watching a clip from the upcoming documentary, No Small Matter, hear the experiences of the co-presenters, and engage in facilitated discussions with other professionals. Using this lens, we will assess how we engage in our work and advocate for practices, policies, and systems to achieve positive equitable outcomes.


Great KIDS make Great COMMUNITIES in partnership with Anti-trafficking Network of Northeast Indiana and Indiana Trafficking Vicitim’s Assistance Program presents:
The 2019 Anti-Trafficking Network Training Series

February 1st, 8th & 15th 9:30am-11:30am
PFW Classic Ballroom
(Walb Student Union)
2101 E Coliseum Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Anti-Trafficking Series fee- $30.00
Two (2) CEUs per session will be offered to participants

The purpose of our annual ATNNI training series is to collaborate with experts in the national anti-trafficking movement in order to build the collective capacity of our local communities to support persons who have experienced, or are experiencing, human trafficking. Each week will build upon previous sessions, allowing participants the opportunity to learn, process and engage in practical skills. All three sessions will be survivor informed & our final session will be survivor led.


Updating the “Your Brain on Drugs” Campaign for Providers: A New Conversation on Drugs and Alcohol
Presented by Holly Homan & Melanie Short

Presenters:  Holly Homan & Melanie Short

November 16, 2018, 10:00am-2:00pm
Downtown ACPL- Meeting Room A
900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne IN 46802

Teenagers are currently faced with increased accessibility to alcohol and/or drugs, culturally shifting acceptance of drug use, and a minimized effort to reduce other substance use in the face of the opioid epidemic. Adults raised on the “Your Brain on Drugs” campaign are ill-equipped to help support teenagers. This workshop will explore the changes and increase the ability to have an effective and current conversations regarding alcohol and/or drug use with adolescents.

Workshop Objectives:

1. Increase awareness of how cultural changes in society have impacted substance use in adolescents
2. Provide concrete ways to identify alcohol and drug use in adolescents and facilitate a conversation regarding the “new
norms” with adolescents
3. Learn ways to encourage adolescents to remain alcohol and/or drug free

Workshop fee –  $30.00. This workshop is limited to 40 participants.
Three (3) CEUs will be available to those who complete this training.
Lunch will be provided.


29th Annual Conference on Youth
October 4, 2018, 8:00am-4:15pm


“Let’s Talk About It: Real Conversations On Race and Culture”
Presented by Aaron Lane & Janell Lane

August 2nd & 3rd, 2018, 9:30am-2:00pm
(This is the same workshop offered on 2 different days)
The Summit – Door H

This workshop is set up to be both informative and interactive. The structure of this workshop consists of an allotted time-frame for professional and personal development by way of facilitated content, and the remaining time for an interactive dialogue through question and answer. The hope is that through this workshop, we can open the door to having real, transparent conversations on race and culture, as well as dialogue about those questions you have always wanted to ask but haven’t felt safe or had the platform to do so (questions can be asked anonymously to create and maintain a safe environment).

Each workshop limited to 20 participants- Fee $30 (includes lunch)


“A Framework for Understanding Social Economic Class”
Presented by Dr. Ruby Payne

June 22, 2018, 9:00am- 11:00am
IPFW International Ballroom
(Walb Student Union)

Ruby Payne is the authority on working across economic classes to create sustainable communities where everyone can live well. An engaging and down-to-earth speaker, Payne translates abstract concepts into concrete strategies with a sense of humor that leaves audiences wanting more. After changing the conversation in education to focus on poverty, Payne’s work has expanded into social services, criminal justice, healthcare, the workplace, and more.

Payne has written or co-authored more than a dozen books, including Bridges Out of Poverty with Philip DeVol and Terie Dreussi-Smith. Her seminal, award-winning work, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, has sold more than 1.5 million copies and continues to help individuals of all economic backgrounds achieve academic, professional, and personal success.

Payne’s efforts to fight poverty have achieved a global reach, and she has presented her work in Australia, China, Europe, India, North America, and Southeast Asia. Payne holds a Ph.D. from Loyola University and is founder of aha! Process, a publishing and training firm that recently celebrated its 20th year of operation. aha! Process has garnered several awards for its publications and continues to grow. Payne has also published books with Solution Tree Press and the Association for Middle Level Education. With consultants and publications around the world, aha! Process helps communities move individuals, families, and entire neighborhoods out of poverty and into sustainability and growth.

“I Am Jane Doe” – Documentary Film

May 7, 2018, 4:00pm- 6:00pm
Huntington University- Merillat Center for the Arts Longacker Recital Hall

“I Am Jane Doe” follows real cases of American girls enslaved in the child sex trade through ads. This documentary follows the journey of these young girls and their mothers as they run into a collision course not only with Backpage but with judges, powerful corporations, special interest groups, and an outdated internet freedom law that has been interpreted by federal judges to protect websites from any responsibility for hosting ads which sell underage girls. “I Am Jane Doe” takes a fresh look at a social and legal issue that affects every community in America.

Following this documentary, the audience will be provided with brief conversation regarding the film along with Q&A. We will have the opportunity to hear from David Kurtz, a senior social work major at Huntington University. David is currently completing a 500 hour practicum in Thailand working for Freedom Story, a prevention program for child trafficking. We will also hear from Jeremy Greenlee (Indiana Trafficking Victim Assistance Program) and Jeffrey Robertson (FBI).

“Big Mama’s Chair”
Presented by LaDonna Wattley

May 1, 2018, 10:00am- 12:00pm
IPFW International Ballroom

LaDonna Wattley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over twenty years of experience in the child welfare field. Ms. Wattley conducts workshops on diversity, culturally relevant service provision, adoption, parenting and discipline, and grief and loss issues as they relate to foster care and adoption.
Ms. Wattley has worked as a child welfare social worker, coordinator of a parenting education program, Director of Licensing for a private, non-profit agency, and Director of Community Outreach and Volunteer Training for the Indianapolis CASA program . In addition, she has nearly fifteen years of experience providing training to prospective foster and adoptive parents.
Ms. Wattley currently works as full-time faculty at the Indiana University School of Social Work. Of all that she does, she most enjoys sharing her experiences and facilitating workshops, in an attempt to improve the lives of families.

Big Mama’s Chair is an interactive presentation that addresses the barriers service providers face when attempting to work with families/individuals in need. Participants are encouraged to examine personal beliefs, as well as behaviors, that may be impeding successful service delivery.
* find yourself receiving only the “polite” response when asking questions
* feel completely outside of your element
*struggle to gain family members’ trust
*desire to interact more effectively with clients
. . . then this workshop is for YOU!


“Complex Trauma in Context: Meeting the Needs of Complexly Traumatized Youth through Resiliency Building”
Presented by Dr. Monique Marrow

April 27, 2018, 9:00am- 11:00am
IPFW International Ballroom

Dr. Monique Marrow is the first presenter for the Great KIDS Leadership Academy Lecture series.  The Academy’s training focus for 2018 is Childhood Trauma.  This lecture will focus on helping participants to reach a greater understanding of complex trauma and its impact on the development of youth.  Dr. Marrow will provide a greater understanding of the core nature of interventions for youth which is a developmental approach to building resilience.

Monique Marrow holds a doctorate degree in Child Clinical Psychology from The Ohio State University. She is a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) and currently serves as an instructional Leader for the Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice at the University of Connecticut.  She is also a training specialist for the University of Kentucky Center on Trauma and Children.

“Leadership During Crazy Times: Mindfulness Revolution and Holistic Practice”
Presented by Dr. Dave Johnson

April 20, 2018, 9:00am- 12:00pm
Downtown ACPL- Meeting Room C

Are you curious about building your Mindfulness muscle?  Are you interested in being part of a train the trainer mindfulness community where methods and personal guidance for applications to various community populations are explored?  This program is targeting a small group of licensed providers (RN, LMFT, LCSW, LMHC, PhD, MD, DO, Addiction Counselors, etc.) who will PRACTICE and EXPAND personal and professional applications with mindfulness.  No previous experience with mindfulness is required but a licensure or certification in a healthcare, behavioral, addictions or trauma treatment modality is highly suggested.

Workshop fee- $30.00. A copy of the book “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn will be provided as part of this training material.


This powerful documentary film tells the story of how Lincoln High School became a “Trauma Informed” school, gaining national attention due to a dramatic drop in out of school suspensions, increased graduation rates and the number of students going on to post-secondary education.

Great KIDS has purchased the rights to this film.  If you are interested in hosting a showing for your school, organization, or agency, please contact Great KIDS.