Mark Joseph, an associate professor at the Mandel School and director of the National Initiative on Mixed Income Communities, spent his recent sabbatical in the Department of Geography at the University of Ghana in West Africa, conducting emerging research on mixed-income neighborhoods in Accra.
He’ll be sharing photos and stories from his trip and discussing his research at a presentation on Thursday, October 30, from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. in room 108 of the Mandel Community Studies Building. Dr. Joseph’s topics include:
teaching a class of 250 students – seminar style!
dealing with the emotions of visiting a slave castle
canoeing to a village on stilts
drumming with a master drummer – being chased by a monkey
visiting the amazing first liberal arts college in West Africa (perhaps on the continent)
dealing with outages of power, water, cooking gas – and an entire capital city running out of petrol
freestyling with an African dance troupe
being “arrested” twice, ok more like shaken-down twice…
The Mandel School’s Master of Nonprofit Organizations Program is hosting guest speaker Shir Mnuchin on Thursday, October 30, to present “Identity: Refugee, Olah, Israeli” at 4-5pm in room 108 of the Mandel Community Studies Center (1 PD hour).
Based on her family’s experience fleeing Syria for Israel, Mnuchin speaks about the topic of cultural identity from firsthand experience, examining the role the past — and learning about family history — plays in building the present and future. She incorporates a scene from the documentary film, “Shadow in Baghdad” (2013), about her mother, Linda Abdul Aziz, an Israeli Middle East reporter who fled Baghdad in the 1970s.
Mnuchin holds an MBA in Social Leadership and a BA in Israel Studies, Politics and Government (with honors) from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She has served as an Israeli Emissary in the United States and was appointed as the liaison for the Educational Corps to the Mandel Foundation and the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. In the past few years, Mnuchin has been involved extensively in community oriented projects, combining a great passion for social justice and empowerment while practicing leadership.
Dr. Groza’s co-authors are Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, a communications and research assistant at the National Center for Social Work Trauma Education and Workforce Development and a doctoral student at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, and Gloria Russo-Wassell, a national certified counselor and doctoral candidate in educational development psychology at Cornell University and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in New York.
The three adoption and child development experts pooled their vast knowledge on adoptions, child welfare and clinical practices in writing this guide to help parents answer the question: Are we ready to take this journey and adopt? They address the issues to consider in adopting or having already adopted an older child. They also dispel many misconceptions people have about bringing an older child into the family.
“Adopting Older Children is realistic but not sensationalistic. It tells the good, the not-so-good and the cautions of adopting an older child,” said Groza. “To be prepared is to be forewarned and forearmed in case issues arrive. We see that families struggle when they are not adequately prepared for the adoptive experience with an older child.”
The guide was inspired by the large numbers of children yearning to be part of a permanent family and the need to correct misconceptions that prospective parents often have about adopting children age 4 and older. Contrary to misconceptions:
Not all older children available for adoption have special needs or are juvenile delinquents.
Many older children, available for domestic and international adoptions, are not unruly children with behavior problems, but are in foster care due to neglect or abandonment that is driven by the parent’s inability to raise them because of poverty or health conditions.
Parents of older adopted children feel fulfilled as parents, but differently than parents adopting a baby.
While parents of older adopted children miss out on the early developmental milestones in infancy, Groza points out a number of advantages beyond missed diaper changes and late-night feedings, such as the capacity for better communication and more information about the family history in domestic records (particularly if the child was in the foster care system).
Bosco-Ruggiero, through her work with children who have faced traumas, has seen the incredible resiliency and hope older children have.
“I want the public to know how many wonderful kids are waiting for a family to love them,” said Bosco-Ruggiero, an adoptive parent herself.