Beverly Speakers Series: Parenting During the Adolescent Years

The Beverly Speaker Series: Meaningful Conversations for Parents and Educators will launch with the presenter Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson, Sun., Oct. 16, 4 to 6 p.m., Morgan Park Academy, 2153 W. 111th Street.

The three-part Beverly Speaker Series is a community alliance working to bring renowned experts in the fields of education, child development and parenting to the South Side to engage families and educators on topics that affect the wellbeing of children in our neighborhood. Distinguished speakers will present new ways of thinking about parenting in a changing world and offer strategies to inspire and support parents and teachers.

The theme of the 2016–2017 Beverly Speaker Series is “Understanding, Connecting, and Supporting Adolescence.” The Series is a collaboration of local businesses, civic organizations and educational institutions dedicated to strengthening families and engaging our school communities.

Dr. Terry Nelson-Johnson, educator and the founder of Soul Play LLC, will speak about the wonderful and turbulent experience of navigating the many transitions of childhood. Often the behavior of young folks can be challenging to understand and difficult to relate to. This phase can leave parents and educators questioning their role.

Dr. Nelson-Johnson shares years of experience working with adolescents and parents through lively presentations that highlight the challenges and joyous moments in modern family life. Bringing humor, natural born storytelling skills, and infectious energy, Dr. Nelson-Johnson honors the sacred role adults play during the adolescent years.

Dr. Nelson-Johnson served on the faculty of the Loyola Academy Jesuit High School for 18 years. He currently is the Executive Director of Soul-Play, LLC, an experiential, theological, educational enterprise serving congregations, families, schools, and adult retreats. He is Resident Theologian and Animator of Faith at Old St. Patrick’s Church, holds a master’s degree from the Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University, and a Doctorate of Ministry from the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

The Beverly Speaker Series was initiated after the large turnouts and success of Dr. Tina Payne Bryson’s presentations the past few years about the developing brains of children.

“Parents and educators packed her talks and the positive feedback afterwards was overwhelming,” says Carly Carney, owner of Beverly Yoga Center who is spearheading this effort.  “I saw a sincere excitement and wish from parents and educators to learn more about our children, who are so central in their lives.”

“For the Beverly Speaker Series to happen many locals have stepped up and donated to this cause. Without the generous support of so many organizations and businesses this would not have been possible,” Carney explained.

In the upcoming months, the Beverly Speaker Series will also host Charis Denison, M.A., who appeared on a recent Ted talk and is an expert in the adolescent years. Denison co-authored “Tolerance for Others,” a middle school human development text.  Her work has also recently been featured in Peggy Orenstein’s new book, “Girls & Sex: Navigating the New and Complicated Landscape.” She will speak on Jan. 29 about navigating the expectations of adolescence.  On Mar. 7, New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Michael Thompson, will speak about the nature of adolescent boys. All presentations will be held at Morgan Park Academy.

Educators who attend these presentations are eligible to receive professional development hours at a cost of $25 per hour. More information can be found online at

There is no cost for these speaking events, however the Speaker Series is asking for donations to support future speakers.This can be done at the time of registration.

Registration and more information for the Beverly Speaker Series can be found online at or by contacting



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