NCIMHA Learning and Action Workshops

We have had the fabulous opportunity to design and facilitate nine learning and action workshops across North Carolina. Thanks to the NC Infant and Young Child Mental Health Association and funding from the NC Early Childhood Advisory Council. This opportunity came about from a recent study completed by the NC Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) titled “Growing Up Well: Supporting Young Children’s Social-Emotional Development and Mental Health in North Carolina” (2012). The report provides “guidance on how to create the kind of comprehensive, integrated system that is needed to support the social-emotional development and mental health of all young children.” One of the report’s recommendations calls for raising awareness of the social-emotional health needs of young children.

Each workshop is designed to do just that, with about 20% didactic and 80% interactive, the latter being time for participants to learn from each other. Those of you familiar with our work know that The Lee Institute thrives on designing engaging processes where our clients solve problems, make discoveries and find consensus. The group process builds ownership in the outcome and sustainability.

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Little did we know, however, how truly hungry the participants of these workshops would be to have time together. While the busy participants-ranging from pediatricians, mental health therapists, parents, professors, advocates to child evaluation specialists know their own professions well, they don’t necessarily have as much knowledge of the resources around them as they would like. When provided with the structure and space to converse on topics of interest they share, they have discovered common ground and surfaced inspiring ways to work together.

Participants have been inspired to start organizing and advocating at the grassroots, by first connecting with the other participants at their workshop. Several people from these workshops have taken the lead on gathering information from others, such as collecting stories and personal experiences from the diverse group of professionals that have been in attendance.

Social media has also been a hot topic at these workshops. Participants have been brainstorming on how they can use social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube in a creative way. Their hope is to not only to connect those within the field, but also to share the importance of young child mental health with others, especially legislators.

The last of this series is here in Charlotte on May 17.


Apply Now! RealityCheck2050


The Lee Institute has partnered with the Charlotte Urban Land Institute (ULI)and Centralina Council of Governments (Centralina COG) to produce “Reality Check 2050” as part of the CONNECT Our Future project.


RealityCheck2050 is a ground-breaking, interactive exercise designed to foster growth by choice, not by chance. Participants you will join 400 other leaders from across the 14-county CONNECT Our Future region in preparing potential options for regional growth, with a focus on accommodating the expansion of housing and jobs through 2050. Results from this meeting will play a pivotal role in creating the options for how this region can grow and best utilize limited resources.

This collaborative event jointly sponsored by the Centralina Council of Governments, Catawba Regional Council of Governments and Urban Land Institute is not about speeches, presentations, political theory or planning concepts. It is about challenging participant to develop potential options for addressing growth, change, housing and jobs in the region. The exercise pushes participants to see the connection between the choices we make and their unintended consequences.

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The highlight of RealityCheck2050 is an exciting, collaborative event appropriately named, “Gameday.” It’s a hands-on, timed game where 40 tables of 10 participants place different colored LEGO bricks on a large map of our 14 county region under the guidance of trained facilitators. LEGO bricks represent additional people & jobs and string will represent various modes of transportation.

Four hundred diverse participants will be selected from each of the 14 counties and will represent the public, private and nonprofit sectors in each county. Participants will be selected carefully to ensure a geographically-balanced and diverse composition of exercise participants.

Don’t miss this opportunity to let your voice be heard! You can find out more information and apply at the Reality Check2015 website. The application deadline is May 3, 2013.