This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
15 Feb, 2017

When Your Personal Values and Professional Ethics Don’t Align

By | February 15th, 2017|Categories: Reviews & Reflection|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

In April, I’ll be presenting “Reproductive Justice as a Social Work Value: Using Intersectional Analysis in Maternal and Reproductive Health Advocacy” at the National Association of Social Workers-NYC‘s third annual “Social Work in the City” conference. During this presentation, I’ll be introducing the Reproductive Justice framework to social workers and how it connects to the NASW Code of Ethics; provide strategies in applying intersectional analysis in reproductive health education, counseling, and advocacy; and provide strategies for advocating for Reproductive Justice at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work. The NASW-NYC did an excellent job in choosing some dynamic workshop topics, so if you’ll be in the area, make sure you register.

But today’s post isn’t so much about Reproductive Justice as it is about ethics. In many professions, people work under a code of ethics. It’s the profession or an organization’s way of operating and presents guiding principles on how to handle certain situations. In the NASW Code of Ethics, the first ethical standard involves a social worker’s ethical responsibilities to clients, including the client’s right to self-determination: “Social workers respect and promote the right of clients to self-determination and assist clients in their efforts to identify and clarify their goals…”

Because I’m so immersed in Reproductive Justice,  I can see how the framework falls in line with a client’s right to self-determination. Whether a person chooses birth, adoption, or abortion, it’s my responsibility as a social worker to provide unbiased information and to help a client arrive at a decision based on their goals and their current situation. A choice someone makes may not be a choice you’d make for yourself. It’s a lesson you learn quickly once you enter the social work field or any other field within the helping professions.

Back when I was working for an agency that provided case management services, I worked with people from all walks of life. In general, I had no problems  working with anyone who was different from me. Except men who had a history of physical and sexual violence towards women and girls. Early on in my social work career, I would just ask my supervisor to transfer these client cases to another caseworker and would explain my reason for the transfer request. As I started to build my skills as a social worker, I learned how to focus on delivering the best care possible, in spite of my personal feelings. This may work for some, and for others there may be some counter-transference issues that will prevent them from doing so.

Do your personal values have to align with your professional ethics?


8 Feb, 2017

Try This: Roll The Dice

By | February 8th, 2017|Categories: Program Design & Evaluation|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Last month I shared The World Cafe  as an activity you can use to engage participants outside of traditional means of collecting data. Today, let’s look at one activity you can use to guide participants in making sense of it all and drawing their own conclusions.

“Rolling the dice” usually means “let’s see what happens”. For this activity, it takes on a whole new meaning.

(Though technically, “making sense of it all and drawing your own conclusions” could also mean “seeing what happens”, but humor me for a bit.)

Here’s what you need

  • Two boxes that are roughly the same size
  • 12 sheets of paper
  • A marker
  • Tape
  • Tape recorder

Ways to use this activity 

I’ve used this activity in two ways: facilitating focus groups and data interpretation meetings.

Focus groups are generally used to gather feedback, and I’ve been asked to facilitate them as part of a program’s evaluation. In this context, each side of the die represents an evaluation question posed to the focus group.

In the context of a data interpretation meeting (also known as a “data party”), each side of the die either illustrates a piece of quantitive data (such as percentages from a survey or a report connected to the evaluation) or a piece of qualitative data (such as themes identified and coded from transcribing responses from a focus group). In simplest terms, coding identifies themes occurring across focus groups, informant interviews, observation notes, etc. With coding you can identify overarching themes as well as themes specific to the group or people in question, and this can be illustrated as a quote, percentage, etc.

Let’s create our dice

  • Take one sheet of paper
  • For a focus group: Write out an evaluation question you want to pose to the group
  • For a data party: Write out a theme you coded
  • tape the sheet of paper to one side of a die
  • Repeat for each side until all sides are covered

And that’s it.

Now, let’s see this in action


1 Feb, 2017

Ask Nicole: How Can I Get Hired for Workshops & Speaking Engagements?

By | February 1st, 2017|Categories: Ask Nicole|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Do you have a question to share with the Raise Your Voice community? Let me know. 

Michelle, a social worker in Pennsylvania, writes:

I have been researching other options to become involved in within the [social work] field and came across your website. I was wondering if you [could] discuss how to get involved in facilitating workshops/speaking engagements.  This is an area I’m very interested in pursuing and am eager to build resources and network with other professionals.

I’m always excited to hear fellow social workers eager to show their expertise in a variety of ways.

I’ve been facilitating workshops in some capacity since 2003-ish. I started co-facilitating workshops as a student, with other youth activists around the country, then as a Reproductive Justice activist and professional social worker. Because I was so new to it, I leaned a lot on my peers to guide the workshop facilitation. I also sought out people who have a delivery style you like or who speak on topics that interests you. The goal isn’t to imitate them, but observe how they engage their audience. Whenever I co-faciliate a workshop or training with someone, I focus on how they engage the audience, how they interject personal experiences that tie into their content, or how they tie in real-world examples to illustrate their content. I eventually found a facilitation style that worked for me. 

First, determine what your interests are and what you want to share your expertise in. Next, brainstorm how you want to deliver your information.  I’ve written a series on preparing and facilitating workshops (Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four). We tend to think of workshops as being in person, but you can also deliver great content via online formats such as GoToMeeting or Zoom. In my Blog Archives, there’s a section on workshops where I share my own experiences with workshop facilitating as well as exercises I’ve facilitated in workshops.

Secondly (and probably most important), let people know that you’re available for workshops and speaking engagements! Word of mouth has been a driving force for my business and for lots of people interested in professional speaking and workshop facilitation.

Next, find ways to show your expertise before going into a conference or workshop space. My preferred method to show my interests and expertise has been through blogging, and in using my social media platforms to promote my thoughts. Blogging has been a good way for me to show my expertise, gain clients, and have folks invite me to speak. (I view it as an online business card). Blogging has also given me a platform to share my perspective AND has allowed me to revisit my stance to either strengthen my voice or to share a new perspective. Blogging may be that for you as well. Or it may be podcasting or sharing your perspective via YouTube. You can also engage with folks via live feeds on Instagram, Facebook, or Periscope. You can curate the topics you like to talk about and it aids in developing your personal approach and what you’re known for (aka, your brand), which then helps people associate you with certain speaking topics. I recently updated my Speaking page to show what my interests are as well as what I’m most requested to speak on.


25 Jan, 2017

Putting Community in Self Care

By | January 25th, 2017|Categories: Activism|Tags: , |0 Comments

Since going to the Women’s March this past Saturday, I’m more dedicated than ever to fighting for Social Justice, Reproductive Justice, and Racial Justice. And since the March, the Global Gag Rule was reinstated, denying women access to safe family planning, including the option of abortion, the House of Representatives passed HR7 (and if it passes the Senate and is signed into law, it will make the Hyde Amendment permanent), an executive order to reinstate the Keystone XL and Dakota Pipeline was enacted, getting visas to travel to Muslim countries will become more difficult, we’re building walls as security, and our national parks are being asked to remove tweets about climate change.

We have a lot of work to do. That work is going to be draining, and everyone is talking about self care.

But organizer B. Loewe writes, “The problem with self care is that there is an underlying assumption that our labor is draining. The deeper question is how do we shape our struggles so that they are life-giving instead of energy-taking processes. When did activities that are aimed to move us closer to freedom stop moving us?” These are good questions. Burnout impacts how we function at an individual, community, and systemic level, and can result in not only emotional but also physical trauma. The Women’s March, rallies in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and more are life-affirming to many, despite the dismal experiences that lead up to these events.

At the start of 2017, I made a pledge to care for myself more fiercely than I’ve done in the past. More exercise, more healthy eating, more pampering, more social media detoxing, more travel for pleasure. But I’ve been revisiting what I’ve said about self care in the past, and how many feel that it isn’t an option for themselves and their communities, and I’ve been making some gradual shifts in identifying what self care means to me.

While meeting with one of my clients, she shared that she helped organize vigil for communities impacted by the 2015 shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado . In fact, she said that her way to caring for herself is by caring for others as well. Cooking for people, helping around the home, running errands. Things that we normally associate with piling more onto our plates. Caring for others was emotionally fulfilling to her, in spite of whatever struggles she may be  facing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what self care will mean for the women, communities, and organizations impacted by harmful legislation during the next four years. And when I think of what I really want in self care, a massage is far down on the list of priorities (though they are nice). What I’ve been missing in my self care is community, because I’m going to need my community more than ever as I do this work.


18 Jan, 2017

Why Are You Marching?

By | January 18th, 2017|Categories: Activism|Tags: , , |0 Comments

“Few times in a nation’s history is the conscience of its citizens shocked and awakened – across racial, economic, generational and even ideological – lines. Times when the collective consciousness of a people screams – and demands without apology – that it’s time for a change, that things must be different and that it must start today.” ~ Marc H. Morial, “When People Ask: Why Do We March?”

If you’re like me, you’re still going through the 7 stages of grief to process the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election. For many people who share my political views, there was a sadness in the air, unlike any other period I’ve witness before the days, weeks, and month after a presidential election. It feels like the progress the United States has made towards more inclusiveness is tumbling down before our eyes, and the fact that this week started with the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and ending with the presidential inauguration of the most unlikeliest and most unqualified person to take the position is a hard pill to swallow.

And if you’re also like me, your inbox is filled with messages from local and national organizations who plan to be at The Women’s March, scheduled for Saturday, January 21st, 2017 in Washington, DC, and in many cities nationally and overseas. The fact that 200 buses have applied for parking for the Inauguration ceremony on Saturday, but over 1200 buses applied for parking the next day for the March  (in addition to over 600 Marches happening simultaneously) is an indicator that this weekend is going to memorable.

While the March itself isn’t exclusively focusing on reproductive health, rights, and justice, it’s important to remember that the day after The Women’s March, January 22nd, marks the 44th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), which made abortion legal in the United States. According to a newly released report from the Guttmacher Institute, the U.S. abortion rate hit an historic low in 2014. Some factors include better access to birth control methods and a push for comprehensive sex education, but when states have enacted 231 abortion restrictions since 2010 , the fate of the Affordable Care Act hanging in the balance, and Planned Parenthood gearing up for another government showdown, there’s a lot to be raising our voices for.

But if you’re definitely like me, you probably debated if you actually want to go. The inauguration is on Friday, and the March is the next day, so what would be the point? When I signed up to take one of the buses down to DC, I still was undecided. When I began to hear rumblings about the March, I saw what other women and girls of color saw: a major lack of intersectionality. I didn’t want to attend a March in New York City, let alone DC, if the interests of people who look like me were not going to be centered.

(And the fact that it was initially called the Million Women March? Really?)