Video Interview: Dr. Ruby Payne on Communities and Children in Poverty

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on March 15, 2018

A legend in the field of education, Dr. Ruby Payne has done tremendous work in improving the lives of children and communities in poverty. In this brief video interview, Dr. Payne shares personal stories and offers insights to superintendents, teachers, and community members on breaking the cycle of poverty.

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Topics: Breaking the Poverty Cycle, Community Engagement, Community Development

The Connection Between Building Resilient Communities and Finding Inner-Peace

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on August 31, 2017

I was recently a guest on Chris Shea's podcast, "On Finding Peace". Our conversation covered topics that many in my circles are very passionate about, and I want to make sure that you have the opportunity to listen in and hear another valuable perspective.

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Topics: Community Resilience, Community Engagement, Community Development

Safe and Sound Schools: An Interview with Michele Gay

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on March 14, 2017

Michele Gay is a former teacher and a parent. She lost her youngest daughter in the shooting attack on Sandy Hook School in December of 2012. Determined to build a positive legacy for her daughter and help others learn to better prevent, prepare, and recover from tragedy, Michele founded Safe and Sound Schools with Alissa Parker, another Sandy Hook parent and the mother of Emilie Parker.

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Topics: Community Development, Education Policy, School Safety

An Empty Stomach has No Ears

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on March 2, 2017

Recently, I spent some time in North Central Missouri in the community of Edina. A rural community in Knox County that bears a striking resemblance to the area I grew up in Southeast Kansas.

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Topics: Breaking the Poverty Cycle, Community Development

Life is a Highway...Just Drive

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on February 24, 2017

As kids grow up, there are few things more unnerving for a parent than when they start learning to drive. Being in the passenger seat while they first try to parallel park is scary. It's even scarier to imagine (or experience) not being in that seat as they pull out of the driveway and leave by themselves.
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Topics: Mentorship, Community Development

Building Resilient Communities

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on January 23, 2017

Severe weather events, global conflict, and economic hardships seem to have become commonplace in this world we live in.

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Topics: Community Resilience, Community Development

Creating Rapid Response Systems to Meet Student Needs

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on January 4, 2017

Less than one hour north of where I am writing this blog sets the community of Lamar, Missouri. For you history buffs out there, our 33rd President of the United States was born in Lamar…Harry S. Truman.

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Topics: Community Resilience, Community Development

Relationships Matter Part 2: Outside the School

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on October 28, 2016

In one of my recent blogs, I shared my thoughts on the importance of building relationships within the school with a commitment to follow up with a Part 2 focusing on relationships outside the school. (Click here to read Part 1) Over the past 20 years, I have had the opportunity to work with community partners in a variety of capacities. I have also learned that among school districts, buildings, and classrooms - school/community partnerships range from doors wide open to closed with a lock on the front door. No question there has to be a balance, but it is important to err more on the side of an open door policy than a closed one.

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Topics: Community Development, Community Engagement

The Importance of Mentors

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on October 24, 2016

We acquired the word "mentor" from the literature of ancient Greece. In Homer's epic The Odyssey, Odysseus was away from home fighting and journeying for 20 years. During that time, Telemachus, the son he left as a babe in arms, grew up under the supervision of Mentor, an old and trusted friend. When the goddess Athena decided it was time to complete the education of young Telemachus, she visited him disguised as Mentor and they set out together to learn about his father. Today, we use the word mentor for anyone who is a positive, guiding influence in another (usually younger) person's life.1

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Topics: Community Engagement, Community Development, Breaking the Poverty Cycle

The DNA of Your Community

Posted by Dr. C.J. Huff on September 16, 2016

The genetic makeup of humans gives each of us our uniqueness. Not only do we look and act differently, but we also each possess gifts and abilities that are a direct result of what is in our DNA. How we respond to our environment, our susceptibility to disease, and even our life expectancy is largely dependent upon our genetic makeup. We are also very adaptable. As we become more aware of our own unique strengths and weaknesses, we find ways to compensate for our shortcomings and build on our strengths. That awareness, and our ability to respond, plays a major role in our quality of life and general happiness.

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Topics: Community Resilience, Community Development