Free Miscellaneous Topics in Chicago

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  • Travel Hacking

    Edwin Goitia, Founder and Visionary, I Am A Brand

    Often travel is seen as a luxury and an expensive hobby, but there is a way to access the world with less money or resources - travel hacking. Edwin dives into this incredibly hot and trending hobby that has picked up the pace globally with people of all ages and backgrounds.

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  • Elder Mediation

    Karin McNicholas & Dennis McNicholas, Mediation Services

    Mediation allows families to explore mutually acceptable solutions to difficult problems with parents and elderly relatives. It encourages creative problem solving within the private family setting rather than relying upon the legal system to resolve these issues.

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  • Childhood Grief

    Jackie Gibson, Director of Marketing and Communications, Pillars

    Pillars’ Buddy’s Place team is available to make presentations regarding childhood grief. Buddy's Place is a childhood bereavement program serving the western and southwestern suburbs of Chicago.

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  • Safe Communities – Safe Kids

    Dr. Michael Litow, Executive Director, The Education Center

    Dr. Litow addresses keeping schools a place for learning, not fear. He brings basic and reasonable insights into how each person can make a difference in our communities to keep students safe.

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  • The Bible and the Ballot – A New Vision for Christian Political Engagement

    Ted Williams III, Political Science Faculty, City Colleges of Chicago/WYCC PBS

    Faith is an increasingly controversial topic in US politics. Can diverse faith and secular communities find common ground on our nation’s most pressing issues? Should faith remain personal or can people of faith contribute to US politics? Ted’s non-partisan and holistic conversation offers a new vision for faith-based civic engagement.

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  • Enhance Your Communications Skills

    Karin McNicholas & Dennis McNicholas, Mediation Services

    This husband/wife team has been successfully training individuals, families and groups in effective communications for 12 years.

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  • Transgender Identity and A Third Gender of the Future

    Melanie Griffis Jones, MA, LPC, ACCTH, TraceSuccessful and Griffis/Jones & Associates

    I have been working as a therapist with individuals with Gender Identity issues for close to 15 years. When I started most of my clients were mature adults who suffered from fear, shame and guilt. They kept this part of their lives as a deep secret, sometimes not even telling those closest to them about their gender issue. Today, with celebrities going public with their gender changes and TV shows and movies featuring trans individuals, I am seeing more and more teenagers "coming out" as transgender. It is almost becoming "in" to be trans among younger people. MORE >

    Years ago when I first started talking to groups about gender identity, there would be uncomfortable murmurs in the audience. Then I stated that everyone in the room knew someone one was transgender but just didn't know that about them. Today, almost everyone does personally knows someone who identifies as trans; either in their own family, at work, or via a friend talking about someone else in their life.

    While I am thankful having a gender identity issue isn't the terrible secret or shame it was 15 years ago, a new concern has surfaced. Having doubts or confusion about gender identity doesn't always mean a person should change from male to female or female to male. Rushing into hormones and surgeries without due process is now causing as many suicides as did identifying as trans 10 years ago. Truly getting to know oneself and how to identify as male, female, non or bi, gender fluid or whatever the newest key word is for those who see themselves as neither male or female, regardless of genital organs.

    My other concern is with those who want to change immediately and unethical doctors willing to go along with that. There are guidelines to follow, there is extensive counseling to work through, and resolving other issues first all need to be part of the process of coming to a healthy place with one's gender, one's body and one's mind. I welcome helping individuals work through all of this and the general population to better understand all the components of gender identity.

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  • Love… What is it Anyway?

    Margaret Lome, The Love Lady, Toastmasters

    Margaret's contest winning speech at the division level in Toastmasters is focused on personal / spiritual growth. She includes a well-received demonstration at the end that shows how Love never ends.

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  • Why Some Divorce Lawyers Hate Me

    Melanie Griffis Jones, MA, LPC, ACCTH, TraceSuccessful and Griffis/Jones & Associates

    I am a certified mental health professional professionally trained as a Divorce Mediator. Using my services rather than two attorneys can cut the cost of getting a divorce dramatically. That is why some divorce attorneys don't like people to know about me or my peers. MORE >

    Since over 50% of all marriages end in divorce (and the rate is even higher for 2nd or 3rd marriages) I want to share information about how couples can secure a divorce without spending thousands of dollars on attorney fees and can avoid much of the anger and bitterness that too often results from the disagreements they have.

    It is only in the past few years mental health professionals, rather than lawyers, have been trained in all facets of divorce mediation. I can explain why therapists make better mediators than attorneys. Our listening skills, calm behavior, non-judgmental attitude all are better suited to deal with sensitive issues. Compassion and empathy usually aren't adjectives used to describe lawyers yet they are necessary traits for a therapist.

    Key words like "Free and Equitable" make each divorce different in the eyes of the court. I know the "How and Why" 100% of all issues need to be resolved before filing divorce documents and when it is possible to use one attorney for a nominal fee rather than two - spending far too much of either parties earnings.

    Trained as both a divorce mediator and a mental health professional, I serve as a non-biased, neutral facilitator eager to help resolve areas of disagreement and prepare the Memorandum of Understanding needed to expedite a simple divorce document and secure an Uncontested Divorce. We all have first or second hand knowledge of bitter and expensive divorces. Letting the world know there is a better option is my motivation to speak to your group.

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  • Picture Perfect Interiors

    Hilary Rose, Field Editor & Photo Stylist, H. Rose Inc.

    How did that house get published in Better Homes & Gardens? Do people really live like that? What color should I paint my living room? How do I decorate my bookshelves/mantel/coffee table/whatever? What’s it really like on a photo shoot? What’s wrong with perfect? I can answer those questions and more! MORE >

    As a field editor and photo stylist, I’ve been finding locations and producing stories for national interior magazines for close to 30 years. I’ve learned a lot along the way, and I’d like to share my experience as well as my new book, Been There Shot That. With beautiful photography by Jenifer Jordan, Been There Shot That is a playful mix of good advice, inspiration, and humor.
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