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Story Telling and Skill Building


From My Story to Their Story:  Using Our Stories to Help Others Share Theirs

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Zack Ellis is a Rochester-native (Brighton) and the Founder & CEO of TheirStory -- a web-based video platform used by cultural heritage institutions like the Council of American Jewish Museums and the Peace Corps to streamline the process of remotely recording, preserving, and making accessible the audiovisual stories of their communities. Prior to TheirStory, Zack spent 6 years working in Silicon Valley in industries ranging from API management, to home health care, to education technology. Zack earned his BA in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania where he was also a member of their Division I wrestling team.

Overview of Restorative Practices: A Collaborative Framework to End Hate

Restorative Practices
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Dr. Shira May serves as the Executive Director at Partners in Restorative Initiatives. Shira’s background is in early care and education, with a focus on evaluating professional development programs for educators. As a facilitator, she incorporates practices of mindfulness, Nonviolent Communication, trauma-responsiveness, and social justice in her work with families, workplace groups, and communities.

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Nick Moore serves as a Trainer with Partners in Restorative Initiatives. He brings a wealth of experience as a restorative practitioner at Monroe High School to his trainings and consultations with school district and community partners.

The Bravest Space: Facing the Divide Within

Bravest Space
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Steve Jarose is the Director of the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) of Rochester, NY, Inc., a position he has held for 19 years. His career as a leader in the field of developmental disabilities introduced to him to the principles of NCBI in 1997, which he was instrumental in introducing to a workforce of 3,500 employees in western New York. Steve has worked with organizations for more than 35 years, specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. He serves on the NCBI national board and is the International Constituency Leader for the LGBTQ caucus. He serves on the faculty of the Racial Justice and Equity Initiative, and facilitates police community dialogues under the auspices of The United Christian Leadership ministry. 
Steve is an Interfaith Minister, a community engagement advocate and board member at Isaiah House, a home for the dying in Rochester. His family includes his husband Marvin and a  wondrously diverse assortment of plant, animal and people friends. 

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Elisa DeJesus currently serves as Director of Diversity and Language Services at Ibero-American Action League, Inc. She has many years of experience implementing and supervising programs in the human services field. Other areas of experience include training development, conducting trainings and assessments in cultural competence. 
Elisa is committed to raise the awareness of cultural diversity and cultural competence as crucial elements to create communities where peace instead of discrimination and oppression are the norm.  She believes that the journey through cultural diversity and cultural competence start very near, it start with you and me. 
She has a Bachelor in Human Services from the University of Puerto Rico, a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Rochester and a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. 

The Haudenausenee and the Story of the Peacemaker

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Ronalyn Pollack serves as the Executive Director of the Native American Cultural Center in Rochester, New York. Previously, she worked as a Forgiveness Coach utilizing the healing power of forgiveness to transform lives, while incorporating the seven generations concept into her work. She is an Adjunct Professor at Monroe Community College and has taught in the Health and Physical Education Department for over 10 years. Her background also includes being a holistic health coach, while having 12+ years’ experience as a social worker in the early part of her career. Ronnie is a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, in Ontario, Canada, but currently resides in Rochester, New York. Working with Indigenous peoples in the area of forgiveness is something that is sacred and personal to her heart, as she desires to see all Nations heal.

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