BELFAST — Registration is now open for an online professional development program, Supporting Students From Diverse Backgrounds, offered Friday, April 29,  from 9:30 a.m. to noon through the University of Maine Hutchinson Center. The fee for this online program is $70.

This virtual professional development program is facilitated by David Patrick and Desiree Vargas of Racial Equity & Justice. The one-day program is designed to support the culturally responsive practice of school-based student support workers, counselors, social workers, educators, administrators and school psychologists.

Participants will learn skills needed to support diverse K-12 students through a trauma-informed or healing-centered lens, and engage diverse students and families to meaningfully participate in school communities with practices that foster inclusion and racial justice pathways.

As an advocate for communities of color, instructor David Patrick supports families, individuals, and students through his work as a co-founder of Racial Equity & Justice and associate director of The Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine. Patrick combines experimental knowledge, social work education, and clinical problem-solving skills to build cross-cultural relationships, offer consultation, and provide mediation. His focus is working with strategic partners, stakeholders, and community leaders for policy development, policy implementation, and community change.

As an Indigenous woman of color and an anthropology scholar, instructor Desiree Vargas navigates advocating for Black, Brown, and Indigenous people uniquely with a focus on redistribution of resources and cultural preservation. Her skill set includes racial justice advocacy, anti gender-based violence advocacy, harm reduction activism, administration, keynote speaking, heart-centered decolonization consultation, grant writing, workshop and training facilitation, public relations, community organizing, youth behavioral health work, and childcare.

For those interested in continuing education credits, 2.5 contact hours are available.

For information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Michelle Patten,; 338-8002. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for people who live or work in Knox or Waldo county. For more information about upcoming professional development programs, scholarships or to register, go online. Early registration is recommended as spots are limited.

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