BAP098 Amplifying Voices of Unaccompanied Minors Conference ft. John Seidlitz

Special guest, John Seidlitz, is on the show to tell us about an incredible opportunity on July 21, 2021.

The free conference, Amplifying the Voices of Unaccompanied Minors, will feature inspiring speakers who have lived the experience of being an unaccompanied minor.

You can get this show on your favorite podcasting app or listen right here:
Listen to “BAP098 Amplifying the Voices of Unaccompanied Minors ft. John Seidlitz” on Spreaker.

This is an opportunity for teachers and program leaders school leaders to hear actual stories of adults who came to the United States and arrived without their parents.
To attend on July 21 at 10am Central. Register here:
This event is being brought to us by Seidlitz Education in partnership with Inlier Learning.  The CEO of Inlier Learning is Orly Klapholz .  I often mention her for her work in the area of SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education).
John explains that he became passionate about supporting this cause after different experiences with unaccompanied youth and also recently with some adults who had been unaccompanied minors earlier in life.  Stephen Hurley, like many of our listeners, is not in an area of the world that is seeing large numbers of children crossing the border without adults.  He asked John to explain more about who these children are and why they are unaccompanied.
John gave some common reasons.  For example,
  • Poverty. Parents may have left their children with relatives while they come to the US to work in an attempt to escape extreme poverty.  Children may come to the US in search of those parents
  • Danger.  I had a student who was without their parents in the United States.  His situation was that once he became a teenager, he was captured by gangs more than once. He decided to make the journey to the U.S.  While it was dangerous to do so, it was less dangerous than his life had become in his home country
As Laura Gardner explains in this blog post, there were  19,000 unaccompanied minors at the US border in May of 2021.  John recommends we all read the post and watch Laura’s short video here to learn more.
The speakers at the event will include:
EMILY FRANCIS and one of her students.  Her story is particularly meaningful to me as we were able to use her blogposts about her journey to inspire so many of my students.
ARI HONARVAR grew up in Shiraz, Iran where she was surrounded by Persian poetry and art. John points out that Ari’s story is different from what many of us envision when we think of unaccompanied youth. Ari is a journalist, author, and Iranian Musical Ambassador of Peace.
DR. JOSE LUIS ZELAYA grew up in San Pedro Sula in Honduras and came to the U.S. as a child with two bullet holes in his legs.  He has since graduated with a PhD in Urban Education from Texas A&M University.
His Ted Talk about his journey is powerful.  You can watch it here:
During the show, John also mentioned our Virtual SLIFE conference which was also co-hosted by Inlier Learning.  That professional development opportunity is still available for you on the Seidlitz Education website. 
In my own reflection, I found it important to think about this conference in terms of how I can use the idea of amplifying voices.  I mention the ideas of Larry Ferlazzo.   He has many on building empathy among the class.  In this guest post written by Larry’s colleague, Pam Buric, she explains how students telling their stories had an impact on the rest of the school.
Educators like Larry Ferlazzo and Pamela Broussard regularly offer their students opportunities to share their stories.  They have inspired many other teachers like me to do the same.  It is always successful and powerful for the presenter and for those that get to listen.
I feel like that is my biggest takeaway.  The power of stories. They can help us build empathy, they can inspire and they can help us understand how to support our students.
I hope to see you at the Amplifying the Voices of Unaccompanied Minors conference.  Look for me in the chat and to be tweeting about it with the hashtag:  #VoicesofUnaccompaniedMinors
Make sure you get your spot!  Register right here:
Thanks again to Stephen Hurly and to John Seidlitz for joining us on this show.
And thank you for listening or reading this post!
I hope to hear from you about it.

My best,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *