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AE Newsletter - January 2019
Happy New Year from the Assertive Engagement Team!

The transition from one year to the next, is when many stop to give gratitude and reflect on the year's past challenges and accomplishments. It is the time to take stock of what's worth keeping from the previous year to build upon in the new one. 

The end of 2018 saw big changes for the AE team as tash shatz transitioned out and I transitioned into the role of AE Initiative Coordinator. I am honored and excited to be the new AE Initiative Coordinator. I look forward to the upcoming year of learning and growing in this new role. I hope to take time to reflect and build upon tash's amazing work so that AE continues to be relevant and useful to our community. 

I am grateful to Armin Tolentino, Ashley Carroll, Emily Gardner, Stephanie Simmons, tash shatz, Peggy Samolinski and everyone who is supporting the AE Initiative and my on-boarding. 

I wish you a year filled with love, community, and resiliency!

Robin Davis

My Bio:

I have over 15 years of experience doing volunteer and direct service work with diverse populations in Oregon. Most recently, I worked at the Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) as the program specialist managing contracts for adult homeless services providers. 

When I'm not working or volunteering, I enjoy dancing to Funkadelic, reading mostly nonfiction, and hanging out with my partner, our dog and our two cats.

Why Praise When You Can Affirm?
(Reading time 7-10 minutes)
"I don't want you to save me. I want you to stand by my side as I save myself." Sushil Singh
Have you ever given or received praise or compliment that wasn't received as it was intended? Maybe, it fell flat because it didn't feel genuine?

I remember when I bombed a class presentation. I waited until the very last minute to complete the assignment, and I didn't give myself enough time to research and plan. I forgot details about key facts and I even failed to mention others altogether. I observed tha the interest level of my classmates waned as I read directly from my text-heavy PowerPoint slides. 

Afterward, I told a classmate how embarrassed I was, and I expected to receive a failing grade (I barely got a C on this assignment). My classmate smiles back and says, "I thought you did an excellent job!" I knew I didn't do a very good job-- let alone an excellent one. I observed this classmate as very rigorous in her class work. I remember the time when she was upset after she received B+ on a paper.

This classmate continues to be a dear friend of mine, and she praised me in a sincere attempt to make me feel better (though not because she thought I actually did good work). However, it didn't make me feel better because it just felt hollow. Even if she was authentic in her praise, it didn't align with my own experience of what I did. 

What is the difference between praise and affirmation? Would this interaction have gone differently if she had used an affirmation instead?


2019 AE Training Schedule
We know that trainings continue to fill up quickly and we're doing our best to meet demand for free-of-charge trainings. 
This newsletter is the best place to learn when new AE trainings open for registration, so please spread the word that anyone interested in AE training can subscribe to our monthly updates.
Upcoming trainings:
At the Grotto Conference Center from 9:00am - 4:30pm

  • The 2019 AE training schedule is in the works. Upcoming training registrations will open about 3 months before each training. 
2nd Train the Trainer Cohort
Circle debrief at the end of the day

In December 2018, we held the first convening for our AE Train the Trainer cohort. During the two-day training, the cohort had the opportunity to build relationships with one another as they learned to how to facilitate core components of AE. Many of these participants will support the agencies where they work with introducing or deepening the AE skills of their colleagues. In addition, others may support the AE Initiative by co-facilitating future training sessions alongside me and the County's AE team. It was a wonderful way to start my first official week on the job. I enjoyed working and learning with this amazing and smart group of folks! I look forward to our continued work together!

Additional Training Opportunities

Introduction to the Community Health Worker Profession Workshop
Workshop aims:
  • Explain how the CHW profession grew out of efforts to increase health equity and health care access.
    • Identify the roles, skills and qualities of CHWs.
    • Identify recent developments in the CHW profession and ways CHWs can become more involved in the profession.
  • Identify ethical and legal standards for CHWs, including confidentiality.
  •  Organize time and tasks in order to manage the multiple demands of a CHW.
When: Monday January 14, 2019
Where: 495 NE Beech Ave. Gresham Oregon 97030
Time: 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Cost: Free / Light Lunch will be provided

For more information, please contact Teresa Campos at (503) 709-6567

To register, click here:

Question of the Month
This month, we invite you to connect or reconnect with someone you met in training, or a coworker you rarely talk with. The question this month is: How can you turn a praise into an affirmation?
We'd love to share your challenges and successes with the AE community. Do you have a challenge or success to share? Click here!

Resources Referenced for the Affirmations Post:

"In the latest installment of Talking to Change: A Motivational Interviewing Podcast, we were joined by Tim Apodaca, licensed psychologist and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA. Tim is a clinician and researcher who devotes much of his work on the use of MI with adolescents experiencing complex life challenges. In this episode, Tim shared his ideas on affirmations through case illustrations and findings from his research on how MI works." 

The Power of Affirmation in Motivational Interviewing - Some thoughts & clues:   "...The authors do not suggest that clinicians abandon the use of open questions and reflections as these skills are integral to the work of MI in facilitating open discussion about the clients hopes for the future and their ambivalence about change. They did, however, identify one element in MI that both increased change talk and reduced sustain talk. This was the use of affirmations."

  Affirmations: MI Minitoon 02 (YouTube):
"MI Mini-toon. Short video made with pow-toon software application. Objective is to provide a learning experience for health coaches on using affirmations as part of Motivational Interviewing.'"
 Praise vs. Affirmations: "Stephen Rollnick is a pioneer in motivational interviewing and in recent years has been applying his knowledge to sport. In this article, Stephen offers a psychology perspective on the key differences between praise and affirmation with young athletes."  
Affirmations Practice (YouTube): " After a brief introduction to Motivational Interviewing, this video will guide a new learner to practice the skill of affirmation."          

Tip #152 Powerful Affirmations: "Affirming is one of the fundamental Motivational Interviewing skills. It supports engagement, encourages the client to further explore the change process and builds confidence."   

Piece of Hope:
" Baby Bear miraculously saves himself on uphill as mother bear watches patiently and guides him up. He fails many times as he is trying to climb his way up but never loses the focus."

If you have a Piece of Hope to share, please email and your Piece of Hope may be featured in a future newsletter!
Past Assertive Engagement Newsletters:

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