Institute for Community & Adolescent Resilience (ICAR-US

Keynotes, Workshops & Presentations

ICAR-US Founder Derek Peterson has given more than 2,000 keynotes, workshops, and presentations in 38 states, Washington D.C., across Canada, the La Frontera of Mexico, in Europe, and southern Africa. For a partial list of clients, please e-mail

These descriptions below are samples of previous workshops and keynotes. Derek customizes each presentation for each audience and message.

The Wisdom of the Elders

Wisdom of the elders has withstood the research test of time. From the Inupiat and Yupik Eskimo of the Alaskan north, to the Bushman of the Kalahari of Botswana. From the Zapotec Indians of Southcentral Mexico to the Navajo of Northern Arizona, their reply to the assets framework has been the same, "THIS IS OUR STUFF." A people's knowledge, a family's love, and an individual's action are why asset building is a timeless framework in a time of unprecedented change. Learn how the assets framework is supported by the traditional stories of indigenous people around the globe.

You will learn:

  • How to identify the tangible and intangible strings in traditional native stories
  • How the different definitions of resilience are supported by indigenous stories
  • How various psychological theories support the indigenous concept of resilience

No Child Left Behind — Integrative Youth Development™ (IYD) in State School Policy: The Student Support Card™

Integrative Youth Development™ is the basis for the only "Educating the Whole Child" funding initiatives in the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. This multi-million-dollar statewide initiative is a model for the nation. Learn how one state: 1) created capacity for the initiative, 2) worked with statewide policy makers to build a bridge to the funding, and 3) is implementing the statewide initiative. This initiative has ramifications for every school district in the nation!

You will learn about:

  • One state's eight-year effort
  • Caring and Connected School strategies in statewide policy
  • Caring and Connected School policies at the local levels

Are Protective Factors Taught or Caught? Principles of Integrative Youth Development™ and Resilience

Over the past 10 years, we as youth workers and educators have been striving to: 1) be strength-based in our approach to children and youth, 2) focus on increasing the resilience of children and youth, and 3) use the language of protective factors as a common-sense means to measure improvement and motivate all to share in the responsibility for raising youth. In this workshop we review the research that supports the framework, the political and social ramifications of the work, and provide new insights into how resilience can be taught and how it can be caught.

You will learn:

  • The psychological background to resiliency
  • The history of the resiliency research
  • To consider several questions which relate to the field of Integrative Youth Development™ and resilience.

Do You Have What It Takes to Create and Sustain a Community or Statewide Initiative?

For nine years, Derek Peterson led a statewide initiative for children and youth that leveraged millions dollars and involved thousands of individuals. In those years he identified 32 elements of successful local, regional, and statewide initiatives. See how your initiative ranks among the most effective. We'll celebrate what you are doing right and develop an awareness of how to improve the capacity for your work on behalf of children and youth.

You will learn:

  • The elements of a successful initiative
  • How you can set up a rubric to evaluate your initiative's capacity
  • The principles and elements of a community that is ready for change

Somethin' to Do

How many times have you heard a young person say "there's nothing to do?" We live in interesting times. Some call it "the Age of Paradox" because we've been all the way to the moon and back, but we have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We plan more, but accomplish less. Look around. There is so much good left to be done in the world, and we are lucky to be the ones called to do something! This workshop will have us doing something together, something that benefits children, youth, and families.

You will learn:

  • Three experiential activities that can motivate people to "do something."
  • What is behind the "there's nothing to do" statement
  • A simple call to action to "connect"

Is Your Initiative Great or Not So Great?

In 2000, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company, and if so, how?" Do his findings apply to the work of your community and/or statewide initiative work? Derek Peterson thinks so. Using Collins' findings, Peterson sorts through his experiences with 42 different initiatives, and presents the factors that are linked to the most successful – the ones that made substantial improvements in their performance, and support of youth, over time.

You will:

  • Discover common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of the success of youth programs and practices
  • Learn how to make the transition from good to great
  • Receive a well-reasoned road map to excellence

Moving Beyond the Power of One to the Rule of Five: Intentionally Creating a Personal Village for Every Youth

Jane Howard said, "Some call it a family, others a tribe. I have heard it called a clan, and I have seen it called a village. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, everybody needs one." It is nearly impossible to describe community to someone who has never experienced it. True community begins and ends with the individual. It is measured in the bonds, commitments, and supports given to and received from others. Today, the description "community" is being used for such a wide variety of experiences, that it is almost meaningless. The idea of external and internal supports has been with us since the dawn of human existence.

You will:

  • Discover your "habits of the heart"
  • Learn how to make "habits of the heart" part your life

The Kids We Have, and the World We Want

Hurried yet ambitious, unsupported yet resource-rich, misunderstood yet accepted—who are the students of Generation X, Y, Z, and Me?

You will:

  • Learn the building blocks needed to prepare this generation for the world, within the context of their personal family, local community, national society, and global economy
  • Find out the keys that school-board members can use to ensure that students are given the attitudes and skills to move ahead in an ever-changing world

Meaningful Engagement Inside and Outside the Schoolhouse

In order for every student to achieve established academic standards, we know that all of us must work together. Schools are being held accountable, being given a state report card of their own. Now you can learn a common-sense method of measuring and reporting the degree to which ALL sectors of the community support student achievement. If you want to find a way to put children and youth first in your community, don't miss this compelling workshop.

You will learn:

  • The power of Integrative Youth Development,™ which includes the critical building blocks in the lives of young people
  • The principles and ideas for building connections in your family, organization, and community. You'll receive replicable resources, an assessment tool (Student Support Card™) guaranteed to capture commitment from citizens, and the simple language to pass it along

What Do Young People Really Need?

Remember when we used to assume that most youth would progress successfully and painlessly through childhood and adolescence into adulthood? We knew each student would graduate without special effort or support. Sure, some kids failed, but they were relatively hidden from public view. These failed kids were "other people's children." The world has changed. In addition to state standards and assessments, the federal No Child Left Behind legislation has set a new expectation that, in fact, no child can be left behind.

You will:

  • Learn how to live up to the No Child Left Behind expectations
  • Learn how to mobilize the collective will, energy, and ingenuity needed to ensure a bright future for every child

Creating a Caring and Connected School Environment

Learn a guaranteed method and program to involve your community in efforts to improve student achievement. You will leave with easy-to-replicate resources, a story guaranteed to capture the commitment of citizens, and the simple language necessary to pass it along.

You will:

  • Experience a variety of community-engagement techniques
  • Understand the measurable outcomes that all schools can use to calculate and evaluate meaningful involvement

The Student Support Card™

For each student to achieve the federally mandated academic standards, we know it takes all of us working together. Schools are held accountable and given a report card of our own. Learn how Arizona is using the common-sense framework of Integrative Youth Development™ to measure and report the degree to which all sectors of the community support students.

You will:

  • Receive replicable resources
  • Receive an assessment tool (the Student Support Card™), which is guaranteed to capture commitment from citizens
  • Learn the simple language needed to pass along citizen commitment

Implementing the Student Support Card™ Within Your Community

Do your students have wonderful opportunities to learn, connect, and grow? Every day educators and youth workers hear about the power of strong and caring adults on the lives of youth. Too often we leave these sessions saying, "YES!" And too often this "YES!" is followed by "BUT HOW?" Integrative Youth Development™ has answered the question by acting upon the fundamental principles of connecting with youth.

You will:

  • Discover what schools, families, youth, and communities are doing to ensure success for all children and youth

Creating Invincible Youth — the Work of Integrative Youth Development™

Why do some children survive traumatic childhoods unscathed? The answers can help every child. Nearly 50 years ago, child psychologist Emmy Werner went looking for trouble in paradise. In 1955 she began studying the children of chronically poor, alcoholic, abusive, and even psychotic parents to try and understand (and document) how "failure" was passed down, from one generation to the next. Her findings were a welcome surprise. She found that one out of every three youths she studied behaved nothing like the ones headed for disaster. Where she expected to find despair, she uncovered hope. She found that somehow these "resilient youth" could beat the odds and grow into emotionally healthy, competent adults.

You will:

  • Receive a brief overview of the history of resiliency research
  • Learn about the competing resiliency frameworks—how they differ and how they complement each other
  • Find out how to pass resiliency on to the children and youth within your circle of influence
  • Discover what school-board members throughout Arizona are doing to build resilience in children and youth

Introduction to Changing the World: A Family, Youth, and Community Advocate's Guide to Social Action

Do you ever wonder if what you do really matters? Do you look at the world that is being created around you and feel a sense of despair? Come and focus on the hunger that all advocates share, the hunger to move "upstream" by using your citizen rights that are constitutionally guaranteed. This workshop is activity based, dynamic, and fun. It is designed to inspire advocates to "find their voice" and "change their world."

You will:

  • Gain new insights into your role as an advocate
  • Gain an understanding of the social-action process, and an experience of the rights and privileges of being a citizen advocate
  • Gain an appreciation of the process of change
  • Practice building group cohesiveness through relationships
  • Nourish your hunger to make a positive difference in the world

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