Learning and Violence Collaborative

I am part of a wonderful group of educators, activists, and artists who have come together to explore where our work intersects around learning and violence. Many of us have worked together on various projects over the last few years. Now we are in the process of forming a non-profit organization and searching for funds to allow us to develop our work together in this new formation.

The current group includes, besides me:

Jerry Brodey is a father, arts educator, mentor, performer, workshop leader, songwriter and playwright. For over 30-years he has collaborated with his wife, Kim Brodey, using music and storytelling in the schools in Canada and USA to focus on conflict resolution and building equitable communities. In 1994 Jerry co-founded Community Builders Youth Leadership, an award winning non-profit organization, focused on violence prevention and training young people to be allies and community activists. His first play Solo: A Boy’s Journey (directed and co-written by Robert Morgan) touring Ontario, is about boys, men, rites of passage and the power of our personal stories.

Kim Brodey has a multifaceted background that has included working as a singer/actor, midwife, childbirth educator,  and educational change workshop leader (in areas of conflict resolution, and cultural inclusivity).  Kim has been an authorized Continuum Movement teacher since 1991 mentored by Emilie Conrad and Susan Harper.  She has over 35 years of experience mentoring and working with groups, couples and individuals in traditional and non-traditional ways, see Discoveries in Movement. With Red Canoe Families Kim and Jerry work together using an integrative approach to conscious parenting. Kim and Jerry have been married since 1983. They have two children, three grandchildren, and many God children. 

Sheri Cohen has a background in social work (BSW, RSW) and learning disability. She started the first employment centre for youth and adults with learning disabilities in Toronto and won the Alumnae Achievement Award from Ryerson University for this accomplishment. She also wrote: Learning To Say No: Harassment In The Workplace and The Impact Of Learning Disabilities For Women. Sheri energetically supports new initiatives as a community development activist and strategic organizational planner. She has been practicing mindfulness meditation for over ten years drawing from both Jewish and Buddhist traditions. She has received training in body-centred therapeutic approaches and lives a body-centred life. She has first-hand experience with Type 2 diabetes, and is passionate about addressing the impact of trauma on health and learning.

Heather Lash has been involved in adult education for most of her adult life, both in community-based programs and on campuses. She holds a graduate degree in something called Narrative Ethics, which was mainly about listening to people’s stories of tough experiences they’ve had. She’s continued in that area ever since, researching and writing on the impacts of violence on learning, and how to create spaces where everyone can feel safe enough to learn (you can read a lot of her work at www.learningandviolence.net). She has been with George Brown College in Toronto for about 4 years…developing and delivering pre-apprenticeship courses, special pilot courses, our orientation course, and a “‘Skills for Next Steps” workshop series; her heart, however, belongs to teaching ACE Communications. She continues to write about teaching (and maybe some poetry).

Nadine Sookermany is a mother, partner, community educator and lifelong learner. She has worked with adult literacy learners at Parkdale Project Read, a community-based literacy program for over 12 years and as a professor with the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate and Social Service Worker programs at George Brown College for almost 8 years. For over 20 years, she has provided education and front-line support to women, youth and children using a community-based holistic, critical and social lens; an approach that fits with her work in various communities on boards of directors and advisory committees relating to research, programming and issues of equity and anti-oppression.

Susan Tiihonen is a queer mom, anti-violence counsellor advocate, multi-discipline artist, activist and Reiki healer.  A graduate of the Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor Advocate Program and holder of a Film Production diploma, Susan has combined her passions to help share untold stories through documentary film making. She has produced several educational documentary training videos for the social service sector and her illustrations and video work can be found on learningandviolence.net. When not producing videos, Susan can be found working at the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic supporting women survivors of violence or playing with her 2 active sons.  Susan loves the outdoors, being close to water, and binge-watching television shows.  Samples of Susan’s work can be found on her website susantiihonen.com 


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