Small Talks Recap

Responsive Strategies:
Minimizing the Impact of Trauma in Early Childhood

This event took place on Thursday, March 31, 2022 | 8:00am – 9:00am CST


Thank you to all who attended and helped make this Small Talks a success!

Gain a better understanding of what trauma looks like on a day-to-day basis and leave with ideas on how to address the gaps in our system as it relates to trauma informed care. 

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André Dukes photo

André Dukes

Vice President of Family and Community Impact, Northside Achievement Zone

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André Dukes oversees the Early Childhood strategy, which focuses on ensuring that NAZ scholars are ready for kindergarten through access to quality early learning centers, scholarships, screening, parent support and education, and advocacy. Throughout his career, he has learned a great deal about how experiences shape child behavior, and how strong communities, environments, and supports can promote healthy development and prevent harmful behavior in children. Before joining NAZ, Andre worked for several years as a community Pastor and worked in partnership with Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis on the issue of youth violence prevention. Andre holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Minnesota Graduate School of Theology and a Certificate in Infant Mental Health and Early Childhood at the University of Minnesota Center for Early Education Development. He serves on the board of Think Small and is a member of the MinneMinds executive committee.


Jamie Bonczyk Lisa Kiesel photo

Jamie Bonczyk

Greater Twin Cities United Way

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Jamie Bonczyk (she/her) lives with her family in Richfield, Minnesota, where she works with Greater Twin Cities United Way ( as a Program Officer for “80×3: Resilient from the Start” — an innovative region-wide initiative to increase capacity to provide trauma-sensitive early child care in a safe, stable environment that supports child resilience. She comes to this work as an awarded early childhood education leader known for creating social-impact networks, change initiatives, and partnerships that create sustainable health and education outcomes for children, families, and educators. Jamie is a systems-level thinker adept at translating vision and strategy into operational plans.

  Her call to resiliency building and trauma-sensitive work is personal. In the first 5 years of life, Jamie lived in four geographically and culturally diverse communities in three different states. She had several medically invasive procedures that required her to be hospitalized several times. Her experiences led her to study social work and early childhood education while receiving her bachelor’s degree. As an educator, she was often called upon to connect with children and families who her colleagues found challenging. After seeing the need for mental model shifts in programs that serve children, Jamie went on to get her M.A. from Roosevelt University in Chicago to study anti-bias education, non-profit management and adult learning theory.

  In 2015, Jamie was accepted into the Exchange Leadership Magazine Leadership Initiative. This opportunity allowed her to find her voice as an author. Her first piece, “Head Start Health Advisory Groups as Catalysts for Collaborative Change,” caught the attention of Dr. Joan Lombardi who served as first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development (2009-2011) in the Obama Administration. Dr. Lombardi sent a note to Jamie and her co-author thanking them for calling attention to an area that “has not received the attention that it deserves.” Jamie has continued to use her voice to call attention to underrepresented areas of the field of early education and care. Her next piece, “Understanding Behavior Through A Trauma Sensitive and Resilience Building Lens,” co-authored with 80×3 advisory member Tiffany Grant, will be published in a forthcoming issue of Exchange.


Lisa Kiesel

Lutheran Social Services

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In January 2022, Lisa Kiesel began work as Program Director for the LSS Families Together Program overseeing the Therapeutic Preschool and Family Home Visiting programs serving St. Paul, especially the Frogtown and Eastside communities. Lisa has spent her career in the care, support, and empowerment of children, youth and families experiencing a wide array of life challenges and transitions. She has experience in a variety of social work settings, including residential treatment, child welfare, juvenile justice, and outpatient mental health. Lisa most recently is transitioning from a career of academia, having taught in the Social Work Department at St. Catherine University since 2012. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Work from the U of MN, an MSW from the University of Washington, and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She understands the importance of early relationships, co-regulation, brain development and infant mental health, and knows that effective caregivers within supporting communities are the best resources for children.  

Karla Smith Photo

Karla Smith

Parent and Community Mobilization Coordinator

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A longtime youth and parent advocate in the Twin Cities, Karla Smith is the Parent and Community Mobilization Coordinator at Northside Achievement Zone. Karla began using her passion, lived experience, and education to advocate for homeless youth and their parents in the Twin Cities. She carries this passion to her current role at NAZ, a role which supports parents in using advocacy skills to create the changes they want to see in community, education, and every level of government. Karla Is a recipient of the 2019 Legislative and Advocacy Champion Awards from Nancy Latimer’s 13th Annual Convening of Children and Youth. In 2020 She received training and certification in Parent Education from the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach- Engagement Center. Karla facilitates parent education classes that support child development in every grade level. She also serves as a Parent Organizer with the Education Partnership Coalition (VIBES voices influencing better education systems). In connecting with parent power communities statewide she enjoys finding creative ways to facilitate, engage and empower as well as listen, collaborate, and exchange cultural ideas that build parent power.   

Thank You to Our Sponsors:

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