Event Date and Time

Saturday, April 20, 2024

8:30 AM – 4:30 PM MST



Desert Willow Conference Center 

4340 East Cotton Center Boulevard

Phoenix, AZ 85040

About This Event

The 2024 “Inspiring Creativity in Mentoring Symposium” is hosted by Free Arts and in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona, Gabriel’s Angels, and New Pathways for Youth. Together, these youth-serving agencies will provide a full day of engaging, trauma-informed learning opportunities for mentors, youth workers, artists, partnering agencies, and educators to support resilience-building work for children, teens, and young adults. Each learning opportunity will emphasize one of three themes: Cultivating Community, Inspiring Creativity, or Strengthening Futures.

On April 20, 2024, over two hundred people will convene for plenary learning sessions, breakout sessions, and expressive art experiences. Session topics will include evidence based mentoring principles, fostering inclusive mentoring relationships, supporting healthy relationships, information on emotional regulation, support for self-care, as well as trauma-informed arts-based activities for children and teens.

Confirmed plenary speakers include:

  • Frank Thompson and Folade, Free Arts Professional Teaching Artists, speaking on “Community Music Making with Found Sounds”
  • Terra Schaad, Founder and Executive Director of Hunkapi Farm, speaking on “How your past affects your present: A guided experience on how trauma affects our ability to create safety and connection”
  • Darryl Tonemah, Ph.D., Psychologist and Musician, speaking on “The Pursuit of Wellness and Wholeness”

The symposium supports the mission of Free Arts by building skills and deepening relationships among staff, volunteers, and community members interested in the transformative power of the arts to help children heal from traumatic experiences. Participants in the symposium are engaged in child wellbeing programming in the greater Phoenix area with reach into all of Arizona. At Free Arts, the symposium is a key yearly opportunity for volunteers, artists, staff, and partner agencies to collaborate, celebrate, and learn from one another.

Early bird prices of only $129, with prices going up February 15th. 

We can’t wait to see you there!

Confirmed Plenary Speakers

Frank Thompson and Folade, Free Arts Professional Teaching Artists 

Community Music Making with Found Sounds

Frank Thompson’s Bio 

AZ Rhythm Connection Founder

Frank is a professional drum circle facilitator and motivational speaker. He is the founder of the Arizona Rhythm Connection (AZRC) and has been facilitating rhythm for over 25 years. During a corporate career of the same length, Frank has held regional and national marketing, training and management positions with several Fortune 100 Firms. Frank completed graduate and undergraduate studies in Management at the University of Redlands and is probably one of the few six-sigma certified hand drummers you will run into. His background has given him a special gift and insight for creating exciting team building and interactive experiences for his clients.

Frank’s organization, AZ Rhythm Connection is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He and his team provide rhythm-based events throughout the United States. The AZRC has done rhythm events for, Abbott Labs, Campbell’s Soup, The Canadian Construction Association, Gambro Inc., Arizona Dept of Health Services, Prudential, Banner Health, University of Arizona, Arizona State and many others. Frank also teaches the most fun hand drumming classes for beginners in the greater Phoenix area. Frank has dedicated his life towards using recreational music to help individuals and organizations “Keep to Their Beat” while “Living to Play and Playing to Live”!

Folade’s Bio

Folade, aka Taji Maalik, is a second-generation musician and multi- percussionist and has dedicated himself to the art of music for over 25 years. At a young age, he developed a passion for working with the youth in his community in New York City that later crystalized and began to manifest in Minnesota through the arts. Training in the art of music, he decided to pursue and continue his interests by obtaining a degree in Child Development. As an educator he shares and directs the same passion for the arts through Drums are Life, an organization that has had a long history of providing programming to youth and adults in the community through cultural awareness, music, song and dance from around the world. As a percussionist, vocalist, dancer, he has worked with various artists across the globe. His rich performance history ranges from performing at many national and international venues including London, Beijing, and San Francisco. Folade has performed at many national and international venues, including the Jazz Café (London), National Black Theater of Harlem (NYC), International Music & Dance Cultural Tourism Festival (Beijing), Ethnic Dance Festival (San Fran.), just to name a few. In addition, he served as a musical assistant director at the Riverside Church (NYC). Now residing in Arizona, he continues to provide cultural enlightenment and education to the community through the study of percussion music, dance and visual art of the African Diaspora.

Terra Schaad, Founder and Executive Director of Hunkapi Farm

How your past affects your present: A guided experience on how trauma affects our ability to create safety and connection

Terra Shaad’s Bio

Terra Schaad, is the Executive Director and founder of Hunkapi Programs, Inc. and Hunkapi Farms, in Scottsdale, Arizona where the focus is “teaching the world to fear less and love more” through equine assisted psychotherapy and somatic healing. Terra holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University, a Master of Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University and holds specialty training in Somatic Experience. In the years 2010-2012, Terra had the extraordinary opportunity to live in Italy and work at the University of Iowa’s CIMBA, and international MBA Business program. Her time there allowed her to lead and coach international students and executives through a rigorous leadership development program while researching the effect of applying neurobiofeedback, psychological assessments, and mindfulness on emotional regulation in leadership and the workplace. For the past 23 years, Terra has combined her love of horses and her passion to help people live optimally. Terra has been honored by the Arizona Capitol Times with the “Women Achievers of Arizona in 2019”, recognized by Governor Douglas A. Ducey when given the State of Arizona Commendation in 2020, and was honored with the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2023 Outstanding Women in Business Award and “20 Names to Know in Valley” for Nonprofits. She is a three-time Ironman Finisher and recently fulfilled a long-time goal of running the Boston Marathon. Terra combines her education, intuition, and experience to observe and interpret individual and group behavior while giving immediate, tangible feedback that will challenge you to move mindfully and live optimally.

Darryl Tonemah, Ph.D., Psychologist and Musician

The Pursuit of Wellness and Wholeness

Darryl Tonemah, Ph.D.’s Bio

Darryl Tonemah (Kiowa/Comanche/Tuscarora) has a Ph.D., in Counseling Psychology and Cultural Studies, a Masters Degree in Community Counseling and three Bachelors of Science Degrees.  He has sat on numerous state and national boards addressing disparities in education and health care among the Native Population. He has done extensive work over the past 30 years training hospitals, clinics, Universities, corporations and schools in the U.S. and Canada on Trauma and its relationship to behavior and health.  He was selected as an expert in the field of Trauma participating in the international Trauma Super Conferences in 2021, 2022, 2023. He is the owner of the Tonemah Consulting Group, an organization dedicated to increasing wellness in Native communities. He also owns First Nations Telehealth Solutions, a company dedicated to increasing access to psychological and psychiatric care to Native communities via telemedicine. He is the President of The Native Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowerment programming  and suicide prevention in Native Communities.  He has established BCares a 24/7 counseling service. He is the host of the Podcast “The Singing Psychologist”, discussing psychological issues and interviewing inspiring guests.  He has also recorded 10 award winning cds, published research, published a book entitled “Spray Your Swamp Cooler”, and is working on his second book.

He has appeared in numerous films and stage productions. 

Confirmed Breakout Sessions

Returning to the Whole Person: Healing the Wounds Caused by Social Expectations

Embrace how emotions are the messengers of connection and can transform mentoring relationships. Learn how societal and cultural values regarding gender affect the ways children, teens, and young adults experience and express emotion.  Understand how mentors can recognize, give permission, and create space for all dimensions of human emotion for themselves and others.

Mentoring beyond the human: The Power of Pet Therapy

A unique symposium breakout session that delves into the transformative realm of mentoring beyond the human through the extraordinary influence of pet therapy. Join us as we explore the profound impact of the human-animal bond on mentorship, uncovering the therapeutic potential that pets bring to the mentoring experience. This session will showcase real-life examples (you may see a dog or two in this session), research findings, and practical insights on how incorporating animals into mentoring relationships can enhance well-being, foster connection, and create a supportive environment for personal and professional growth. This session promises to be a captivating exploration of the untapped potential of mentoring beyond the traditional boundaries.

Unity in Mentorship: Crafting Collaborative Communities

Dive into the power of community in our breakout session! Explore building community models for mentoring organizations and discover ways to empower youth in recognizing their own communities and structures of support. Uncover the value in shared experiences, realizing that we are never alone, and acquire tools for effective community building. Join us for a dynamic session that shapes mentorship beyond the one-to-one model.

Dreamweaver’s: Nurturing Holistic Youth Development Through Creative Goal Setting

Embark on a transformative mentoring journey in our conference breakout session. Explore holistic long-term goal setting across education, career, relationships, personal growth, and health. Learn the art of youth-led open communication and establish supportive structures for goal accountability. Embrace a mindset that views goal pursuit as an ongoing learning process, free from pass or fail judgments. Discover techniques to inspire creativity and dreams in youth who may not have defined goals. Join us for an empowering and cohesive session, unlocking the keys to comprehensive goal achievement and fostering personal development.

Register Today!

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