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Resilience & Childhood Poverty Springboard Event Series

Updated: Apr 1

We in SHECP are dedicated to addressing the root structural causes of poverty and injustice. These causes will not, however, be entirely or even sufficiently addressed any time soon. Therefore, we ought to ask: “What do we know about resilience that could inform policies and practices to mitigate the negative effects of poverty and injustice?“

Join us on Friday, April 12th at 11AM ET for our second SHECP Springboard event series with a panel discussion on resilience and childhood poverty. Register today!

We are honored to have the following participants joining us:

  • Amy Golightly, Professor of Education at Bucknell University

  • Sarah Harig, Clinical Director, Family Service of Roanoke Valley

  • Robert Paul Harley, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Columbia University’s School of Social Work

  • Sara Whipple (moderator), Assistant Professor of Psychology at Virginia Military Institute

Planning a group discussion? Here are some questions you might consider to jumpstart conversations in your community:

  1. How does the nature/nurture debate influence our understanding of resiliency and the ways we create policies to address childhood poverty?

  2. What aspects of resilience could inform policies, practices, and political activism to mitigate the negative effects of poverty and injustice?

  3. Is there a tension between encouraging resiliency and advocating for structural change? How should we decide how to allocate our time, research, and other resources?

  4. How can we look beyond individuals and families to build resilience within our communities?

  5. Based on the conversation today, what are some new ways you now understand the relationships between resilience and poverty?

  6. How has this conversation impacted the way you view your own resilience (and the sources of support do you access) when you face adversity? How is this similar to or different from the examples given during the presentations?


Amy Golightly, Professor of Education at Bucknell University

Amy Golightly is a Professor of Education at Bucknell University. Her Ph.D. is in School Psychology, from the University of Iowa. Amy’s main research interests have most recently examined the factors that facilitate learning in various populations and conditions, from young elementary students to those in college. For example, Amy has examined various methods to improve reading and math skills in elementary-age students, conducted assessment of undergraduates’ understandings of diversity using concept maps, analyzed various undergraduate course attributes and the degree to which they inspire curiosity, evaluated the effectiveness of various modalities of instruction, and analyzed the effects of student perceptions of course attributes on achievement motivation. The work she has done in engineering education is as a social scientist with expertise in research with human subjects in educational settings, particularly focused on research design, data analysis and learning theory. Amy teaches courses in child and adolescent development, educational psychology, disability studies, trauma and healing, and a first-year seminar that examines illness and wellness from cross-cultural perspectives.

Sarah Harig, Clinical Director of the Family Service of Roanoke Valley, LPC, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor™, EMDR Therapist

"Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, and EMDR trained therapist. She received her MS in Counseling and Human Development from Radford University in 2015. Sarah has received advanced training in a variety of modalities and interventions focused on providing quality mental health services to children, adolescents, and families, especially thosae who have experienced complex trauma.

Sarah’s specialties include: Child Centered Play Therapy, Therapeutic and Attachment-Focused Parenting, Theraplay Techniques, Expressive Arts Interventions (to include Sandtray), Complex Childhood Trauma, Foster Care/Adoption, LGBTQ+ Affirmative, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Sarah’s theoretical orientation is a mix of Adlerian and Child Centered. Sarah has experience working as a School Based Clinician, Intensive In Home Counselor, and Bereavement Counselor prior to moving to her dream job. In 2017, Sarah began serving as an Outpatient Counselor at Family Service of Roanoke Valley, providing play therapy to children, adolescents, and families with a variety of presenting concerns and backgrounds. Currently, Sarah serves as Clinical Director at Family Service of Roanoke Valley, carrying a small caseload of her own clients as well as providing clinical and administrative supervision to their mental health programs. She also serves as Vice President/President-Elect of Virginia Association for Play Therapy. Sarah enjoys providing professional development and public speaking regarding counseling, play therapy, and mental health and has presented several times at professional conferences, as well as presenting for graduate programs as a guest lecturer or adjunct professor, as an expert for news stories or court, and for virtual trainings throughout the pandemic for various professional organizations." (source:

Robert Paul Harley, Assistant Professor of Social Work at Columbia University’s School of Social Work

Rob Hartley is an applied microeconomist working in the fields of labor and public economics. His research addresses the role of social policy for families with children and their long-run outcomes. He has written about intergenerational patterns in poverty, food insecurity, and program participation, and his work explores implications for labor market outcomes in response to policy reforms. Hartley teaches economics and policy analysis at the Columbia School of Social Work, and he is affiliated with the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University as well as the Columbia Population Research Center. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, an MDiv in Theology from Emmanuel School of Religion, and a PhD in Economics from the University of Kentucky.

Sara Whipple (moderator), Assistant Professor of Psychology at Virginia Military Institute


All SHECP Springboard events are designed to begin a conversation with a virtual, Consortium-wide webinar designed to provide background on a topic and introduce unique perspectives. You are then encouraged to continue the conversation within your own classroom or community. For each event, SHECP will provide several questions or prompts as one way to continue the conversation.

We invite you to incorporate these Springboard events into your class, programs, groups of faculty and staff, or broader community discussions in the way that works best for you!

  • Log-on to watch the event live as a group and then continue the conversation at the conclusion of the webinar

  • View the recording at later date as a group and then continue the conversation at the conclusion of the webinar

  • Ask participants to watch the event individually and then plan a follow-up discussion, either in-person or virtually

  • Assign the recording as an assignment or part of the assignment in preparation for a class or student group meeting

  • Use SHECP’s discussion questions or create questions that reflect local context


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