Announcing: Keynote Speakers & Breakout Sessions for the Best Starts for Kids Summit

We are officially three weeks away from the second Best Starts for Kids summit: We build. We rise. We soar! We are excited to announce our keynote speakers and breakout sessions, led by Best Starts Champions and community partners. This year’s summit includes a special youth track, featuring 6 sessions by and for youth and young adults. In addition to inspirational speakers, there will be many opportunities for you to reconnect with others in our region, share your experiences, and reflect on the challenges we’ve risen to and overcome this year.

For a taste of what’s to come, check out one of our youth-led breakout sessions from last year and Dr. Ben Danielson’s moving keynote speech where he shared his piece, Love Letter in Community With You.

Best Starts for Kids Summit Keynote Speakers

Sheila Capestany, Strategic Advisor for Children and Youth, will kick the Best Starts for Kids summit off with an official welcome. Sheila provides strategic direction and leadership for the initiative and also serves as the Director of the Children, Youth and Young Adult Division. She has a broad range of experience and knowledge in the areas of equity, social justice, and health and wellbeing, and has worked for the last 30 years in both the public and human services sector in direct service, nonprofit leadership, strategic planning and policy work.

Executive Dow Constantine will then join us as our opening keynote speaker. He has been a driving force behind Best Starts for Kids since the initiative’s inception and we are excited to welcome him back for our second annual summit.

Midway through the week, we will hear from Olu Dixon, our inspirational youth speaker who is an accomplished youth actor, dancer, and entrepreneur currently studying at the Baltimore School for the Arts. He has performed internationally with the NW Tap Connection Tap Ensemble and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and bridges his interests – spanning entertainment, clothing, and community-building –through his business, Olu Productions.

At the end of the week, Rashad Norris will join us to close out the summit. Rashad is an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Injustice Consultant with over 15 years of experience engaging our Black and Brown youth, young men of color, and incarcerated youth. He is the founder of H.E.R.O. (Honor Education & Respect Others)  Mentoring Program and is a youth engagement leader and an anti-racist system re-builder; he brings his lived experience and professional skills to facilitate and lead anti-racist programs and initiatives within communities and organizations.

Best Starts for Kids Summit Breakout Sessions

We look forward to 18 incredible breakout sessions led by Best Starts partners—including 6 sessions by and for youth and young adults.

  • Look, Listen and Learn – Children’s TV Watch Party!
  • Childhaven, Harborview and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic – Building a “New Normal” in Primary Care for Families with Young Children: How Family Navigators provide Culturally-specific Developmental Screening and Promotion
  • Open Doors for Multicultural Families – Weaving Together Early Support Services and Cultural Navigation for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families
  • King County Best Starts for Kids – Using Capacity Building to Rise and Soar
  • Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS) – Responding to the Community’s Needs with Virtual Peer Support
  • Global Perinatal Services – Pregnancy, Parenting & Beyond within Immigrant, Refugee, and Low-Income Communities
  • Communities of Opportunity – Shifting Systems: A Best Starts/COO response to COVID-19
  • Rainier Valley Communities of Opportunity – We are the Rainier Valley: How Four Coalitions are Fighting Displacement
  • India Association of Washington – Parenting with Early Learning can be Fun and Fit!
  • Communities Count – Racism as a Public Health Crisis: What is the Role of Data?
  • World Mind Creation – Mindfulness for Youth Workers
  • The Capacity Collective – Do More with Your Data: Build → Rise → Soar

Youth Track:

  • FEEST Seattle – Rooted in Joy: FEEST Youth Organizing for Food Justice
  • Public Health Seattle & King County – Building Bridges of Belonging to Counter Racism and Create Transformative Change
  • Lambert House – Queer and BIPOC Challenges
  • STEM Paths Innovation Network – Exponential Growth: Growing Dynamic Youth Leaders through Mentorship and The Engineering Design Process
  • Children and Youth Advisory Board – Youth Design: King County Youth Health Board
  • YMCA of Greater Seattle – Summer University: How to Take Students from Surviving to Thriving In Virtual Summer Academic Programming

We hope to see you there!

Best Starts for Kids’ 2021 Summit: We build. We rise. We soar.

April 27 – April 30
Special preview day April 26
Hosted virtually on

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