Ground Truthing: Insights from the Ground Up

The Ground Truthing podcast unites community voices from across Westchester County to discuss topics that impact children and families. Guests represent content experts, advocates and youth voices. The show will highlight bright spots and critically question existing policies and practices through data-informed conversations. Hosted by GPS4Kids Program Manager and WCA staff, Erica Ayala.

Ground Truthing is a Westchester Children’s Association production. The show is edited by Eloise Sherrid. Original music is composed by Al Saniuk.

Please share our podcast with the world using #WCApodcast! 


Episode 5: Data on the Ground

Show Notes:

This month, we are joined by Katie Pfeifer, the Director of Programs & Evaluation at Volunteer New York.

Katie brings a strong professional and volunteer service background to Volunteer New York!. In her current role, she ensures the organization is on track to meet grant deliverables and evaluates program impact. Katie also oversees the Job Readiness Through Volunteerism program, a program designed to increase awareness of job seekers of the valuable role volunteering can have on the community.

Prior to joining Volunteer New York!, Katie was the Program Coordinator for Back on My Feet in Philadelphia. Her responsibilities included outreach and recruitment of volunteers, analysis of program trends, strong collaboration with other staff and partners, and more. Katie has a Master’s in Public Policy from George Washington University and a BA in Economics and International Relations from Bucknell University.

Join us next month as we bring you clips from the #MarchForOurLives Westchester County. The rally for gun control was coordinated by Kelly Marx, a student at White Plains High School.

Episode 4: Beyond Just Sports

Show Notes:

This month, we are joined by Danny Bernstein, the Executive Director of Backyard Sports.

Backyard Sports was created to bring these powerful youth sports experiences to today’s aspiring young athletes. In 2010 Danny launched Backyard Sports Cares, a not for profit 501(c)3 which brings youth based sports development programming to at risk and special needs children in the Westchester community.

In 2011, the program received the Rosemarie Siragusa Award for Youth Activity Achievement from the Westchester County Youth Board. In addition, the activities have been recently cited by the cities of White Plains, Elmsford, and Mount Vernon for contributing to community life and the advancement of young people through sport and play.

In addition to the sports programming at Backyard Sports, Danny has partnered with Frank Williams of the White Plains Youth Bureau, and Fred Goldberg, retired assistant principal from Scarsdale High School, to host the Keepers of the Dream dinner and discussion group. The group provides over 20 student leaders representing White Plains, Scarsdale, Chappaqua, Yonkers, Irvington, and New Rochelle an open forum to communicate with one another about their feelings on race relationships, engagement with difference, and the issue of gun violence on school campuses.

To learn more about this and more, visit byardsportscares.com.


Episode 3: The Health of Our Babies

Show Notes:

Welcome our third episode of Ground Truthing, a Westchester Children’s Association podcast where we offer policy insights from the ground up.

For the month of March, we are joined by Cheryl Hunter-Grant. Ms. Cheryl Hunter-Grant, is a lifelong child advocate who has worked in the field of Maternal, Child and Family Services for more than 35 years. Cheryl earned a Masters of Social Work degree from Hunter College School of Social Work in New York City, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts.

Presently she serves as the Executive Director of the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network and Vice President of Perinatal Programs for the Children’s Health and Research Foundation, the parent company of the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network. Through advocacy and education, with a life course perspective, the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network works with its partners to achieve health equity in birth outcomes striving to ensure all babies within the region are born healthy.

Again, we thank Cheryl Hunter-Grant for joining us on the latest episode of Ground Truthing. We are eager to work with her and others to find innovative solutions to our largest challenges. For more information about the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, visit: www.lhvpn.net.

Join us next month as we chat with Danny Bernstein, Executive Director of Backyard Sports. We will discuss the importance of sport for play and engaging children in opportunities to step outside their social, cultural and economic environments.


Episode 2: Raising the Age in New York

Show Notes:

We are joined by author and Raise the Age advocate Jim St. Germain on the latest episode of Ground Truthing.

At the age of 15, Jim found himself in trouble with the law, just months away from his 16th birthday. Had he been a few month older, he would not have received the rehabilitative services that he did.

Today, Jim is a college-graduate, father, author and chairperson of a nonprofit organization called Preparing Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT).
On this episode, Jim tells his story and why he continues to advocate for court-involved youth.


Episode 1: Early Childhood Learning in Westchester County

Show Notes:

Welcome to the first episode of Ground Truthing, a Westchester Children’s Association podcast where we offer policy insights from the ground up.

This month, we will discuss the state of early childhood education through the perspective of Carol Robinson of the Greyston Early Learning Center. Robinson began as the Director, Early Education at Greyston in 2015. During her time, she expanded their infant program and formed new partnerships and enhanced curriculum.

Recently, it was announced that Greyston will close the Early Childhood Center where Robinson is the director. According to Greyston, the center closed due to a consistent lack of sufficient funding to cover operating costs associated with running the center.

After our interview with Carol, we will be joined by Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Westchester, Kathy Halas, to discuss the impact of the Greyston Early Childcare Center closing and where the county stands on providing adequate access to quality, affordable early education.


Podcast Teaser Episode

 Show Notes:

This short episode is a teaser for season one of Ground Truthing. Get a taste of the exciting interviews coming to you starting in January 2018.

Ground Truthing unites community voices from across Westchester County to discuss topics that impact children and families. Guests represent content experts, advocates and youth voices.

The show will highlight bright spots and critically question existing policies and practices through data-informed conversations. Hosted by WCA staffer and GPS4Kids Program Manager, Erica Ayala.

Original music composed by Al Saniuk
Logo designed by Tara Framer
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.