Free Educational Topics in Chicago

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  • Increasing Political Polarization and what we can do about it

    Ed Spire, Co-lead, Restore our Democracy Project, NWSOFA-Indivisible

    Every decade, increasing gerrymandring has created more and more "safe seats", which have resulted in more and more extreme legislators on both sides of the aisle - creating a legilature where compromise is impossibe, and very little legislative progress ensures. This presentation shows why this happens, and what we can do about it, using the recent example of the Alaska special election, utilizing a nonpartisan primary and a ranked choice voting general election, as an example of how to promote more moderate legislators and a more productive legislature. MORE >

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  • Long Term Care: Don’t Go Broke!

    Tom Kedzie CFP®, MBA, Financial Planner, RetireWell

    In this presentation you will learn:

    * How to protect your house and income.
    * What Medicare and Medicaid cover.
    * Types of care: home, assisted living, and nursing home.
    * How to pay for long term care without paying annual premiums.

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  • Raising Innovative Children

    Stephen A. Di Biase, Ph.D., President, Premier Insights, LLC.

    "10 Secrets for Raising Innovative Children" describes what parents can do to help their children build upon their natural tendencies to be innovative while offering a buffer to the potential damage they'll experience when they begin their formal education at age 5. There is significant evidence that from age 5 to age 20 the typical person experiencing the traditional US educational system will lose almost all of their capabilities for being innovative. MORE >

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  • Understanding Pain Color and Light

    GraceAnn Simoni, President & Premier Home Stager, Staging Redesign Group Inc.

    Ever choose the perfect paint color only to realize it does not look the same on your walls? Why? Understand more about color, the new light bulbs and how they effect color. Discover how light outside and inside you home effects paint color.

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  • Cured: Is Recovery from Mental Illness Possible?

    Sarah Fay, Ph.D., MA, MFA, Award-winning Author and Mental Health Advocate, Northwestern University

    In this gripping talk, Sarah Fay shares her experience of a full recovery from serious mental illness. She was one of those “hopeless” cases: twenty-five years in the mental health system, six different diagnoses, nearly a dozen different medications, and unable to live independently. MORE >

    Her life changed with one word: Google. That’s right, Google. Her psychiatrist told her about a patient who’d fully recovered and gone on to become an executive at Google.

    Recovery? No one recovers from mental illness or any psychiatric diagnosis. Anorexia, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADHD, schizophrenia, etc.—those are forever.

    Turns out that’s not the case. To psychiatrists, mental health recovery is the moment when a person who’s experienced debilitating mental and emotional suffering is no longer disabled by it. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”

    For Sarah, recovery required a complete shift in her understanding of the world, her treatment, and herself. It was incredibly difficult and full of wrong turns and setbacks, but she did it.

    This talk explores the various definitions of recovery, the data on recovery, what mental health recovery looks like, and how we work toward it. It’s especially well-suited to high school, college, and university students—who are experiencing a mental health crisis and often given no hope— and women—who are the largest users of mental healthcare services in the country.

    Learning points: 

    -What mental health recovery looks and how it differs for each person

    -Why we think psychiatric diagnoses are lifelong and the data on mental health recovery

    -The difficulty in terminology—are we “cured,” recovered, well, better?

    -Personal versus clinical recovery

    -Concrete tools and resources for mental health recovery

    -Crafting mental health narratives

    -How to find support

    -How to guide others—particularly children and young people—in their journeys toward recovery

    -How to create work, education, and living environments that foster recovery
    Find out more and watch Sarah's speaking reel here:

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  • Building High Performance Teams

    Bob Miller, Founder and CEO, PFCC Group

    High performance teams don't just happen. They require good leadership and a good operational game plan that includes shared vision, the right people, personal commitment and accountability.

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  • Can we print fake mail ballots? (not really)

    Ed Spire, Co-lead, Restore our Democracy Project, NWSOFA-Indivisible

    There's lots of talk about how easy it would be to flood an election with fake mail ballots. Let's take a look at what it would take to do that...

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  • What’s an Assault Weapon, and why are they so deadly?

    Ed Spire, Co-lead, Restore our Democracy Project, NWSOFA-Indivisible

    There's been a lot of discussion lately about tighter regulations on assault weapons like the AR-15. If we are going to regulate these weapons, we will need a legal definition describing them. And instead of a definition that depends upon specific configurations or cosmetic appearance, we propose a definition based on the factors that make this class of weapons so deadly. MORE >

    This presentation focuses on the development of this class of weapons, the factors that make them so deadly, and how we can use those factors to legally define an "assault weapon" for future regulation thereof.
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  • Start Early, Start Smart: How to Choose a Motivating College Major

    Georgia Koch, Community Outreach Coordinator, Career Vision

    Is it possible for students to identify potential college majors and career directions while still in high school? You bet! Students and parents will learn what they need to know before choosing a college, and how identifying a college major and career direction can build a student's motivation and confidence while reducing college expenses. MORE >

    Receive information and resources to guide your student and take the stress out of making these important decisions. This program is for parents and students of high school and college age.
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  • How to Create Resilient Equitable Communities in a COVID-19 World

    Kelwin Harris, Diversity, Equity and Civic Engagement Speaker

    Our cities face serious threats; growth is uneven; neighborhoods are struggling; and streets are erupting in protest as COVID-19 has made existing inequalities worse. Now more than ever, we must address racial equity and provide strategies for prosperity for the good of everyone. Drawing from his experience as a community leader on the South Side of Chicago and as an urban planner, Kelwin Harris uses an equity lens to discuss multiple facets of systemic racism that persist and offers strategies and interventions for the road ahead. MORE >

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