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Webinars Information

(Webinar Wednesdays in October)

MRA is excited to host a series of webinars this year representing your favorite tracks from conference. Webinars will be from 2:00-3:00 PM each Wednesday in October. No registration is necessary and CEUs are available. All sessions will offer closed captioning. Please dial 312-626-6799 (Meeting ID: 862 2513 6974 & the passcode: 2020) or attend by using the following Zoom link for all four sessions:

Go to the Webinar Here

Scheduled Webinars

October 7, 2020 – 2 to 3 PM

Mental Health:60 minutes + QPR = Suicide Safety

We have all learned the life-saving skills of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver in order to help individuals with heart or choking concerns. QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) can help identify those who may be suffering emotional pain that could escalate to thoughts of suicide. QPR consists of three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. People just like you – care givers, counselors, mentors, caseworkers, administrative staff – are “gatekeepers” strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide. You will learn warning signs that might indicate a crisis, how to talk about your concerns and persuade safety, and options to refer someone to help.

Presenter for this Webinar

Elizabeth Makulec has been working in the field of suicide prevention since 1994, working specifically in youth development, mental health advocacy and prevention skills training. She is a Master Trainer of ASIST,CALM, QPR, and safe TALK suicide prevention models, and an instructor of Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid.


October 14, 2020 – 2 to 3 PM

Job Development: Navigating an Inclusive Workforce with Collateral Consequences

How do we address employment inequities in a year marked by historic unemployment rates and communities ravaged by the novel coronavirus?This session will discuss how to utilize momentum in criminal justice reform to create avenues of change in the labor market, as well as advocating for holistic community improvement. We will address reformation in the Kansas City Metro area, evidence-based approaches to employment of the formerly incarcerated, training opportunities, community resources, barriers to successful reentry, collateral consequences to employment and case management team approach concepts.

Presenters for this Webinar

Brittany Peterson is the Lead Resource Specialist and Training Facilitator with the Second Chance Risk Reduction Center, a program of the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission. Brittany is a graduate of Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, with dual degrees in International Studies and Sociology, minor specializations in Peace Studies and Political Science. Her experience includes working with anti-human trafficking projects,work with at-risk, under-privileged youth, behavior modification, child protection services and family reunification in both rural Iowa and low-income communities of Kansas City, MO. Brittany holds special certifications through the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), including Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS), Offender Employment Retention Specialist (OERS)and Employment Retention Specialist – Criminal Justice (ERS-CJ).

Because of her focused and determined approach to serving Kansas City with evidence-based practices, she was added to the national training team of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), educating more than 120 providers in Employment Specialist (RES), Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) and Employment Retention Specialist (ERS) trainings since 2017. Brittany has served in the reentry community with the Second Chance Risk Reduction Center since 2013. Believing deeply in developing community collaboration and strengthening Kansas City, she is a member of the Violence Free Kansas City Committee, the Greater Kansas City Reentry Team Network, the Non-Fatal Injury Case Review Panel, and sits on the Advisory Board of both Determination, Incorporated and the Educational Opportunity Center. Her focused and determined efforts at promoting workforce development has helped lead the Second Chance Program to a successful reentry program in Kansas City.She strives to help break the practice of working in organizational silos among fellow social service agencies and is helping to lead the charge in implementing fair hiring practices Kansas City.

Tracy Kirksey is the Director of the Second Chance Risk Reduction Center and the Metropolitan Community Service Program. She joined the Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission in September 2016 after retiring from the Missouri Department of Corrections where she had worked for over 33 years.During her tenure with the State of Missouri, Tracy served as District Administrator for the Missouri Probation and Parole District 28 office in Cass County, the District 4C Missouri Probation and Parole Office in Kansas City, Missouri and the District 24 Missouri Probation and Parole Office in Independence,Missouri. Tracy brings with her an abundance of knowledge in leadership and management and a multitude of experience working with the offender population and reentry. Tracy is a graduate of Lincoln University with an Associate Degree in Law Enforcement. Tracy co-chaired the Department of Corrections partnership with the Missouri Children’s Division a collaboration to keep children safe.Tracy was also part of the originating committee with Missouri Probation and Parole in the establishment of the Metropolitan Community Service Program. She is a member of the Kansas City No Violence Alliance Social Service Committee and the Greater Kansas City Reentry Team Board. She has a genuine passion for the reintegration of offenders and helping them to achieve their goals of becoming a successful and active member of society.


October 21, 2020 – 2 to 3 PM

Pre-ETS: Best Practices Across Missouri in Pre-Employment Services

This session will provide a brief overview of the University of Missouri’s Pre-Employment Transition Services program. You will also learn about curricular tools used to help support students across Missouri in the five core areas of Pre-Employment Transition Services including self-advocacy, work-based learning, post-secondary counseling, workplace readiness and job exploration.

Presenters for this Webinar

Dawn Hesse is a seasoned educator who has over 31 years of experience in special education. She currently works as an MU Pre-Employment Transition Specialist. Dawn has been a Special Education teacher, Director of Special Education, Department Chair of Special Education and Coordinator of Special Education with an emphasis in Post-Secondary Transition and more recently trauma-based initiatives in the public-school setting.  Dawn believes that transition is the most vital piece in preparing students for life beyond their school years. Dawn earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Missouri and Master’s from Lincoln University with an emphasis in Administration. Dawn has received awards throughout her career in relationship to post-secondary transition.  Dawn demonstrates a passion in the field and continues to pursue positive post-secondary out comes for students.

Amanda Webb Snell is a St. Louis native and has been an MU Pre-Employment Transition Specialist for a sixth school year. She is certified in Special Education and has an M.A. in Ed. from Fontbonne University.  Prior to joining MU she was an educator for the Special School District of St. Louis County. She believes that post- secondary outcomes can assist students for a lifetime and that everyone has a purpose to uncover. She resides in St. Charles County is married with two step daughters, three dogs, and likes to travel to a beach whenever possible.


October 28, 2020 – 2 to 3 PM

Professional Development: Disability Inclusion and Accommodation on College Campuses

What does disability accommodation and support look like in the college setting? How is this different than their accommodations in K-12? Does it matter the type of college or university they go to? Navigating the transition from K-12 to college can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming for students with disabilities and their families.

This presentation aims to educate attendees on the college experience, understanding the experience of disabled students on college campuses. Join MO AHEAD executive board members who represent an array of educational experience, including: K-12, community colleges, four-year private and public institutions, and graduate/professional school. Bring your questions as we hope you leave better equipped to assist students, and able to dispel the myths of seeking accommodation and support on a college campus.

Presenters for this Webinar

Becca Terry, Access Advisor, Disability Center, University of Missouri MO AHEAD Vice President

Heather Stout, Accessibility and Wellness Coordinator, Disability Resource Center, Saint Louis University School of Law MO AHEAD Past-President

Theresa Smythe, Disability Support Specialist, Access Office, St. Louis Community College – Meramec MO AHEAD Secretary

Kathy Clynes, School Psychologist, Ft. Zumwalt High School, Ft. Zumwalt School District MO AHEAD K-12 Liaison

Justin Lozano, Director, Disability Resource Center, Missouri State University MO AHEAD President