Meet our team of professionals who gave their very best to bring you a fantastic summit experience.
Marveller of Life, Chief Manifestor, Enroller, Explorer, Dad
It is a wonder to me what this Summit has become. I wish I could say it started as a purely altruistic mission to make a difference for parents and teens. While that is part of it, underneath that is the story of me wanting to understand better how to be the best parent for my teenage son. The first 10 years of his life felt simple and pure. Then came a divorce and his leaving the innocence of childhood. It became more of a challenge to maintain connection, and I started to see and feel some of the wounding from my own childhood. Which I didn’t want to pass on. On top of that came questions about his and all childrens’ wellbeing in our current times: the nonstop pace of life, effects of social media, the addictive nature of technology, isolation, fear of school shootings, ecological anxiety and ever-present stream of tragic and polarizing news? Through this lens, it is not surprising that we are in the midst of a teen mental health crisis and that the rates of adolescent anxiety, depression and suicide break new records year after year.
I started to find that just about every other parent I spoke to had similar concerns, but no one knew what to do. I didn’t either, until the idea for this summit came into being. I don’t have answers, but knew there were incredible, wise teachers and leaders who could provide guidance for parents to find their own answers. It is clear to me that the crisis with our teens cannot be left to the government or the school system to fix. And it can’t be ignored any longer; it's simply too painful. And I believe that it is the strength of parents and parent communities that can turn the tide.
The Parenting Teens Summit is the work of an incredible team of people. How we all came together is nothing short of magic to me, including all of the amazing speakers and the countless numbers who freely lent their time and wisdom to help guide this into being. The work has been both invigorating and challenging, and I have never felt so blessed to work with a group of people as the ones listed on this page. I am excited for you to get to know them. We were all fed by the mission of this summit: to bring parents and caregivers resources and tools to create the change we are all seeking for ourselves and future generations.
Michael Danzansky is a teacher, coach and business leader who helps people cut through unhelpful patterns to live with more clarity, joy and presence. His passion is to dance between the practical world and the mystical. For 20+ years in his role as a CFP and employee benefits consultant, Michael designed engaging and efficient employee benefit plans that focused on employee wellbeing. The mystical side shows up more through his 10+ years of experience as a life coach and teacher of mindfulness, yoga, philosophy, and spiritual studies. He is a constant learner, and in the process accumulated a bunch of cool credentials along the way, including a Masters Degree in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies, Somatic Coach degree through the Strozzi Institute, advanced training in Family Constellations coaching, 2 year immersion in nature based soul work, and indiginous wisdom study with Malidoma Some. His calling is to help humans heal themselves to feel more free and joyful by releasing stuck patterns. When he is alone, he talks to trees a lot, and has a wish to leave the world a bit more open and aware then how he found it. His favorite activity for the last 10 years is throwing a baseball with his son. And perhaps it always will be.
Elder, Intergenerational Wisdom-Holder, Collaborator, Weaver of Magic and Mystery Rooted in Diversity
When I received Michael's initial call based on the recommendation of a mutual friend, the one thing that I was absolutely clear about was that I only had time for one perfunctory; and that call was out of respect for our mutual friend. Whatever the request was, the answer — based on several outstanding commitments — would have to be "no!" Well here I am and here we are three months later. So much for "no!" One of my grandmother's favorite biblical scriptures was something she quoted often based on Esther 4:14, "But for such a time as this that you were born." During challenging times, it was often her reminder to us. During these challenging times, as I sit in circle, in dialogue and in service to the collective vision of hope and possibility that is trying to emerge, I sometimes find myself wondering whether, "But for such a time as this that we were born." Maybe "no" was never a serious option after all!
Belvie Rooks is an essayist, educator, producer and human rights activist whose work and vision weaves the worlds of spirituality, feminism, ecology, cosmology and social justice. One of the inspirational and transformational milestones in her life was the privilege of meeting a very young, 29 year-old Martin Luther King, Jr., as a teenager, at an American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) weekend retreat. Belvie and her husband, poet Dedan Gills (1945-2015) have had the privilege of working with, mentoring and engaging in intergenerational collaboration with some of the country's most amazing and innovative social justice activists.
Her writings have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies including: Sacred Poems and Prayers in Praise of Life; The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficulty edited by Alice Walker; My Soul is a Witness: African American Women's Spirituality.
Growing a Global Heart Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/growingaglobalheart
Belvie and Pseads: https://www.pseads.org/legacy/
Asker of Deep Questions, Unconditional Listener, Getter Done(er), Teen Talk Coordinator, Mom
Jacqueline Jenna is a mother to three sons and found herself searching for mental health solutions after her oldest son Luke hit rock bottom and had a self-proclaimed “midlife crisis” at the tender age of 18. With the loving support of her husband Dan, she hit pause on her 25-year corporate career to offer full time support to her son. Participating in the Parenting Teens in Uncertain Times Summit offered her an opportunity to leverage her learnings and shine a light on the challenges that our youth face. It is her biggest desire that the summit leads to the creation of a safe virtual space for meaningful dialogue, connection and joy.