More than 150 people from all over the U.S. gathered in Providence, RI, for two days of reflecting on our past and envisioning our future at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center 2016 National Forum. Most were certified Brazelton Touchpoints trainers, but the group included representatives of a wide range of disciplines and professional and family roles. Among many others:
- The founding director of an Oakland program for recently incarcerated fathers, who not only applies Brazelton Touchpoints principles and practices in his daily work but spreads them to other family-facing professionals and organizers in his community
- A Washington DC pediatrician who is examining rooms reflect her patients’ diverse heritages who has not only embedded Touchpoints (including the Newborn Behavioral Observations) into her practice but built a system of supports for the families she partners with
- Child welfare workers from Palm Beach County who showed the sustainability of the Touchpoints strategies, tools, and principles. Not only have they fully integrated them into their work, they are recruiting with the Touchpoints approach in mind and passing it on to their new co-workers.
- A mom and dad from one of the newest sites—the Laguna Pueblo—who have become leaders in their community and eagerly participated in the Forum sessions.
- The director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading, who is excited about bringing Touchpoints to the 240 cities in their network!
Together attendees delved deeply into the core principles and practices of Brazelton Touchpoints, exploring everything from exercises used in the first training sessions to what we’ve learned about impact and what it takes to make sustainable change in organizations, communities, and systems.
At our 20th Anniversary celebration Friday evening, the Brazelton Touchpoints Center Lifetime Contribution Award was presented to “someone who has been there since the beginning,” whose grace, generosity, commitment, and steadying hand shaped our work and our organization—the beloved and much missed Chrissy Brazelton. Two of Dr. Brazelton’s daughters accepted the award on their mother’s behalf. Reception guests then watched an inspirational video produced by Hank O’Karma that captured the breadth and impact of the tools, programs, research base, and network that BTC has built over the past 20 years.
On Saturday, Joshua Sparrow spoke powerfully about the Center’s vision for the future. Jane Tewksbury closed the conference by leading everyone in a word cloud exercise. She asked us to share our feelings in single words. Collectively, we left feeling inspired, refreshed, reenergized, and feliz (happy), but also, in Touchpoints lingo, “disorganized”—challenged to process and apply all that we had learned and to take the next steps in our development.