Educational Workshops for Students, Parents, and Teachers

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In 2015, the Facebook Ad team rejected an ad featuring a photo of my face. What began as a negative experience, turned into an opportunity to demonstrate the power of speaking up for what’s right. With the support of many, I launched a social media campaign that went viral world-wide. My journey did not start or end with my ’15 minutes of fame.’ The woman who fought back against rejection is the same girl who endured it for most of her childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. I share my story with students, parents, and teachers in the hopes of conveying that there’s a place for every face in our world.

young lisaGrowing up, I never felt like I fit in with my peers. Due to my physically deforming autoimmune disease, I was on the receiving end of bullying, harsh whispers, and frequent stares. Now more than ever, we must teach our children and young adults how to approach people with differences and transform rejection into acceptance. I offer students, teachers, and parents a unique glimpse into growing up with deformities and how I used those painful experiences to promote kindness and acceptance as an adult.

I provide engaging presentations and workshops for parents, staff, and students to help combat bullying and enhance empathy in and outside of schools. I would be thrilled to work with your school district or parent organization. Please contact me at comfortableinmythickskin@gmail.com for more information.

Assemblies and Workshops for Students 

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“We are so lucky to have had Lisa come talk to our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. Our goal was to give students a new perspective on choosing kindness. She did that and so much more! She helped students connect by guiding her message with her own personal story. The students walked away with a new understanding of kindness. The teachers were asking her to return before she even left the room. If you are looking for a personal and meaningful approach to teaching kindness, Lisa is definitely the place to start.” Erin Kranz, Teacher at Glen Grove Elementary School, Glenview, IL. 

Transforming Rejection into Acceptance: Embracing Differences  I tailor this topic to suit the developmental age of my participants. Whether it be a one-time school assembly, or an 8-week workshop, I use my own childhood stories to convey the importance of kindness and inclusion. Kids are fascinated to see footage of me on the nightly news, and learn about the movement I launched to show that “every face deserves a place.” Students learn how they can take a negative experience to generate positive change in their world.

I also teach students how to approach someone with differences, by following S.Q.U.A.D

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Workshops/Trainings for Teachers

Long Division Can’t Compete With Cafeteria Catastrophes

As a former 4th grade teacher and current part-time reading specialist, I’ve spent the last two decades teaching children. Often, academics take a back seat when students are bullied, bullying, or feeling marginalized. With personal anecdotes, I  help elevate a teacher’s understanding about the quiet kid in the corner who is never chosen for partner-work. Together, we explore how to create a classroom environment that celebrates student differences, promotes compassion, and still allows teachers time to teach academics. From ‘appeal forms’ to role play, I provide teachers real strategies and understanding to apply in their classrooms the next day.

Workshops for Parents

Raising Inclusive Kids – “ What to do When I Can’t Invite the Whole Grade to My Kid’s Party ?”  Using my personal story as a backdrop, I help parents navigate the difficult trials all parents face. Between birthday parties and playdates, we’ve all been on both ends of our child either being excluded, or excluding others. As kids grow, exclusions can become more obvious and painful with social media. How do we get our children to display empathy for others, while remaining cognizant that not everyone has to be best friends? I offer an interesting perspective as a parent (ages 13 and 10), educator, and former child who experienced exclusion.  I provide concrete suggestions on how to lead by example and teach our kids the value of kindness.

Redefining Beauty For Our Children  As parents, how do we find a balance between teaching our children to take pride in their appearance (grooming skills, matching our clothes etc.) and placing too much emphasis on material items or outer beauty? My writing on this issue has been featured in CosmopolitanThe Huffington Post Chicago Parent, Dr. Oz and many other publications. Through this workshop model, we discuss how our perceptions of beauty influence our children’s self-concept.

Credentials

  • Licensed teacher with a BA in Elementary Education and a  Master’s Degree in Reading Education.
  • 20 years of teaching experience
  •  Currently teaching  part-time as a reading specialist
  •  Professional Speaker
  • Freelance Writer
  • References available upon request