The 2018 National Forum: Celebrate the Legacy, Empower the Future a Success!

Over three days in April in Newton, Massachusetts, BTC held its 2018 National Forum: Celebrate the Legacy, Empower the Future.

On Monday, April 23rd more than 250 practitioners, educators, and family-facing professionals gathered for the Dr. T. Berry Brazelton Symposium and Celebration. The Symposium featured speakers working on the front lines of social justice with children and families in communities all across the country, and who are, in their own ways, carrying forward Dr. Brazelton’s legacy.

The day began with a traditional native blessing and the reading of a poem to honor and remember Dr. Brazelton. Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz of the American Indian College Fund led off with a dynamic talk about the quest for equity in Indigenous early childhood opportunities, with Sandra Gutierrez of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors following with a focus on empowered parents as agents of change. Later that afternoon, Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett of Boston Medical Center inspired the crowd with the power of networks to achieve shared community objectives, while Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone provided powerful testimony to what’s required and what’s gained by investing in the strength and resiliency of communities.

Before lunch, a delegation representing Massachusetts Senator Edward J. Markey paid tribute to Dr. Brazelton for his lifetime of accomplishments to American society, and presented a flag that had flown over the US Capitol building to Dr. Brazelton’s children and grandchildren – what a true honor!

During Monday evening, a celebration of Dr. Brazelton’s life and legacy was held, where memories were shared, toasts were made, and emotions flowed. Among the speakers were Sandra Fenwick, the CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital, Jeri Robinson, Vice President for Early Childhood Initiatives at the Boston Children’s Museum, and Ann Linehan, Deputy Director of the Office of Head Start. A video paying tribute to Dr. Brazelton was shown, and the evening closed with a true homage to Dr. Brazelton as the crowd indulged in vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, his absolute favorite!

On Tuesday, April 24th, the BTC Site Network held a professional development day, with nearly 100 attendees from Touchpoints Sites across the country and the world sharing strategies and solutions to family-engagement and unlocking the strengths of parents and caregivers to support their children’s healthy development. That afternoon, Ann Stadtler, DNP, RN, CPNP, who retired in December 2017, was celebrated and honored for her contributions to the BTC Site Network and children and families everywhere. To honor Ann’s legacy, BTC has launched the Ann Stadtler Fund for Professional Development, which will raise money to support professional development opportunities for providers and sites across the country. To read a tribute to Ann that appeared in our last newsletter, click here.

Closing out the 2018 National Forum was the BTC Tribal Touchpoints Network’s annual retreat on Wednesday, April 25th, which this year brought together more than 20 tribal leaders, educators and practitioners for a day of collaboration, networking, and cross-fertilization of ideas, solutions, and approaches to shared challenges and issues.

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2018 National Forum and all those who helped make it possible, including BTC’s generous sponsors. The Forum was an astounding tribute to the life and work of Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, and a true catalyst for carrying forward his legacy to the next generation and beyond!