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Training Partners and Training Team

Bolster Collaborative has partnered with the National Center for Innovation and Excellence, the Academy for Competent Youth Work and Youth Catalytics to bring Youth Thrive trainings to sites throughout North America.

The Partners

Academy for Competent Youth Work
Academy for Competent Youth Work was formed in 2001 to promote the improvement of services for children and youth by developing and providing community training and education services that promote quality child and youth care practices; and researching professional practices of child and youth care practitioners. In order to accomplish its mission, the Academy disseminates curricula, instructors and training materials; promotes training for ongoing vocational and professional development; provides technical assistance; and conducts research to determine training impact and outcomes. Located in Texas, the Academy has become one of the most innovative certification programs for child and youth care workers in the United States. To date, over 600 practitioners have become certified. Certification is rapidly becoming a viable tool for assessing practitioner competence and establishing a life-long career path.

Bolster Collaborative
Bolster Collaborative is a division of Vision Training Associates, Inc. Founded in 2013, Bolster Collaborative builds on over a decade of history in positive youth development, and twelve years of coordinating training and speaking events for Search Institute. Bolster Collaborative’s work is steeped in that history and continues a commitment to the Developmental Asset® framework as a central element of their approach. The Collaborative offers high-quality resources based on the latest social science on Developmental Assets, positive youth development, and related science. The organization strives to engage and support an ever-growing number of professionals, volunteers, community members, and parents as collaborators in improving organizations and communities for young people.

Youth Catalytics
We are a private, not-for-profit organization that works to support and advance child and youth services in communities across the United States. Through professional development and research, we strengthen social services, promote best practices and respond to emerging issues that directly impact the lives of young people and their families. We are highly intentional about how we invest our time, energy and financial resources, undertaking projects that haven’t received adequate attention elsewhere and that can result in replicable models for change. Originally established in 1981 to provide training and support to child and youth service programs, the organization has expanded to work with multi-service agencies, schools, communities, state systems, universities and foundations. Today, our interest and expertise also extend to many different subpopulations: at-risk and high-risk youth, pregnant and parenting teens, children and teens in out-of-home care, sexual minority youth, and children and youth marginalized by poverty.

Training Team

Bolster Collaboratives coordinates with the National Center for Innovation and Excellence, the Academy for Competent Youth Work and Youth Catalytics to bring Youth Thrive trainings to sites throughout the United States and Canada. Below are our principal trainers.

Chris Beyer has over 25 years of experience as an educator, community organizer, and national trainer for Bolster Collaborative, Inc. Her expertise includes developmental assets, community mobilization for positive youth development, student assistance programs, and substance abuse prevention efforts in educational settings. She had led the development of education sector training events and contributed to and reviewed numerous publications in the area of positive youth development. Chris is considered one of the “founding mothers” of Colorado Springs Assets for Youth. She served as president of the initiative, member of the executive council, and chairperson of the speakers committee.

Cindy Carraway-Wilson, CYC-P, is Director of Training for Youth Catalytics and has over 20 years of experience in the child, youth and family services field. She has extensive experience in program evaluation and outcome measurement, and trains on a variety of topics such as positive youth development, youth participation and asset building, and LGBTQ topics. Before coming to Youth Catalytics, she worked as a counselor and mental health therapist in Pennsylvania and at Kids in Crisis in Greenwich, CT. She is a member of the training cadre for the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development and a certified trainer from the Academy for Educational Development. She has a master’s degree in psychology from Duquesne University. She lives in Maine.

Tim M. Duffey is president and co-founder of Bolster Collaborative, Inc. and president of Vision Training Associates, Inc. Tim has  trained on positive youth development principles in nearly 40 states, several Canadian provinces, and numerous locations internationally. In addition to his leadership role with Bolster Collaborative and Vision Training Associates, he currently serves as training specialist for the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, funded by the U. S. Department of Education. In this role, he has led development of the Center’s School Climate Webinar Series and numerous toolkits on topics including bullying prevention, teen dating abuse prevention, resiliency, and addressing disciplinary disparities in schools. He has also led development or revision of numerous training curricula for Search Institute (Minneapolis, MN). Tim is a board member for the Association of Child and Youth Care Professionals. He has served as a Director of Guidance and a secondary school counselor in both public and private education and is former president of the National Association of Student Assistance Professionals (now National Student Assistance Association, NSAA). He lives in Maine.

Frank Eckles, CYC-P, is a senior trainer at  the Academy for Competent Youth Work and developer of the Child and Youth Care Basic Course.  He is executive director of the Child and Youth Care Worker Certification Institute, past Board President of the national CYC Certification Board, Treasurer of the Texas Youth and Child Care Worker Association and a member of the Association for Child and Youth Care Practice Board. He has co-directed the Center for Child Care Worker Training and Research, served as the Residential and Training Director of Texas Home for Youth in Houston, and consulted with a variety of programs interested in improving their services. He has worked with the Texas Network of Youth Serves PEAKS Adventure Camps for 15+ years and frequently works at Texas A&M Challenge Works. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education and human resource development at Texas A&M University in College Station. Frank co-authored the Youth Thrive training curriculum with Jean Carpenter-Williams of the National Resource Center for Youth Services. He lives in Texas.

Ray Hoskins has worked as a prevention specialist, counselor, administrator, trainer, speaker, and consultant to human service organizations for more than 40 years. He has served as the director of staff development for two child welfare agencies; been a senior certified trainer for both Casey Life Skills Tools and the Casey Foster Family Assessments; and provided human services consulting and training to states, municipalities, foundations an nonprofit organizations in all areas of youth development, including child welfare, juvenile justice, education and workforce development. He has helped develop nationally recognized tools for youth aging out of foster care and juvenile justice, and has created trauma-informed approaches to working with older youth. He is also a specialist in nonprofit use of databases, customer relationship management systems, and online learning development. He lives in Indiana, where he is a husband, father and foster parent.

Jamie Jones has worked in education and been an advocate for positive youth development since 2005. She is the creator ofConnections, a K-5 program with a fun and focused approach to character education, the 40 developmental assets, and social and emotional learning. She lives in California with her husband and daughter.

Marilyn Peplau has over 30 years of experience as a teacher, counselor, and contract trainer for Bolster Collaborative, Inc. She serves as a speaker, trainer, and training program designer for organizations and communities interested in positive youth development, starting a community-wide youth-focused initiative, or creating community change on behalf of youth. Marilyn’s expertise includes resilience, social movement initiatives for healthy communities, healthy families, positive parenting, youth as resources, and relationship building.  In addition to her work within the field of positive youth development, she served for eight years as a Teaching and Learning Facilitator at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Master of Education in Teaching and Learning program.

Rose Ann M. Renteria, Ph.D., has worked as a program evaluator, researcher, consultant, trainer and speaker to non-profit organizations and educational institutions for over 20 years. She serves as a Youth Thrive expert panelist on behalf of the Center for the Study of Social Policy; directs research and evaluation for PHILLIPS Programs for Children and Families focusing on family strengthening program, special education and youth development evaluations; and has served as faculty at Mills College and the University of Colorado at Boulder in family and youth studies, Latina studies, public policy, research methods, sociology and women’s studies. She has helped direct research initiatives to test wraparound program development, and has created outcome frameworks for parent and family towards building their own protective and promotive factors. She lives in Virginia and volunteers with faith-based youth groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and school-age child care systems. She lives in Virginia with her family.

Hector Sapien, LCSW, is a clinical social worker with an extensive history of cultivating and leading child care teams in challenging therapeutic milieus. He has been a child care worker, supervisor and administrator in residential treatment centers and psychiatric hospital settings, and is now a private consultant in Maine, where he trains mental health care professionals working with young people. He also consults on risk management, quality assurance, and new program start-ups. Specialized areas of interest include designing, implementing, monitoring, and maintaining programs for diverse populations, as well as recruiting, training, and retention of competent child and youth care workers. He lives in Maine.

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