Rose Felix Cratsley, Child Specialist, International Activist and Featured TEDx Speaker
by Susan Wagner, GoLocalWorcester Contributor
“Enacting positive social change begins with a fruitful human revolution in one individual which will help achieve change in the destiny of a community and further, mobilize change for the future of all humanity.”
Rose Felix Cratsley and her daughter Laiya
Rose Felix Cratsley is a cross-cultural positive child specialist and the president of Ivy Child International. Rose’s academic path has taken her to Boston University, University of Oxford, and Harvard University. Her professional and volunteer experiences have led her to a partnership with UNICEF and World Vision. In 2010, she was recognized by the Worcester Business Journal as one of the “40 Under Forty” emerging leaders in Central Massachusetts, named one of the young leaders pioneering global social change in 2011, and was named as a “Women’s Leader: Making a Difference” in 2012.
Cratsley realized at a very young age that her passion was working with young children. Her commitment to community and international humanitarian service evolved as a teenager, when she worked with Mother Theresa and the Sisters of Charity. While serving slum dwellers in southern India, she taught art and music to children in villages. Over the past two years, she has worked with the victims of the natural disaster in Haiti, provided teacher/school training in the Dominican Republic, and lectured in the United States. Cratsley is a board member of the Center for Women and Enterprise. However, her most cherished role is being the mother of two.
A Conversation with Rose Felix Cratsley
SW: You are the president of Ivy Child International. Can you talk a little bit about Ivy Child and what you do?
RC: Ivy Child International (Ivy Child’s) mission is to teach children, families and communities mindfulness, self-regulation, leadership and resilience to build healthy habits for life. Our unique model of cross-cultural positive psychological services are vital in sustaining healthy communities. Through our evidence based curricula we address critical issues having an impact on society today including the escalating incidents of obesity, bullying, violence, depression, diabetes, pediatric cancer and other prevailing health conditions. We realize this mission through partnerships with hospitals, caregivers, educators, and community organizations. Ivy Child remains committed to conquering challenges that arise in the evolving arena of mental health care.
SW: You were recently a featured speaker at the renowned worldwide Tedx events. What topic did you address and how can someone view it?
RC: The topic was Children Are the Best Ambassadors to Social Change: Developing children into mindful leaders through mindfulness based learning to inspire resilience. Children who will engage responsibly and impact global social change, creating a culture of peace and mastering the ability to navigate and persevere through the seasons of life. You can view it by logging on to Ivy Child’s homepage, http://ivychild.org/
SW: You are based in Worcester. Do you provide services regionally as well as nationally and internationally?
RC: We currently serve the Greater Worcester community and have active programs throughout the United States, South America, and Asia. We are thrilled to be expanding to Afghanistan, Middle East in summer 2014.
SW: What are some of the things that Ivy Child has worked on or accomplished?
RC: Ivy Child International is a non-profit organization providing cross-cultural positive psychological services for children, families, and communities. We follow a non-pharmaceutical approach, focusing on skill building and emotional intelligence using positive mind work and action plans. We translate the vast academic research on cross-cultural positive psychology into practical solutions for this providing hands-on, direct care services to children and adolescents from our premier programs including yoga and mindfulness, anti-bullying and leadership and multicultural music and art education.
SW: Can you talk a little about being a first responder at the Boston Marathon bombings and the role that Ivy Child continues to play?
RC: Our Healing Hands Team which is the Ivy Child International Crisis Team provides emergency multilingual and multicultural mental health services in the face of devastation, due to natural causes or otherwise. We offered our services throughout several sites in Boston serving families dealing with primary and secondary trauma and grief post-bombings. We have committed to volunteer our services for kids in Boston during this period of recovery. It was an honor to be alongside an incredible team of first responders. It was truly humbling to hear the community referring to Ivy Child International as “the Red Cross for Children’s Mental Health.”
SW: What are your future plans for the organization
RC: Ivy Child plans to change the face of mental health globally and have active sites and program offerings in every continent worldwide.
SW: How has becoming a mother changed your life and influenced the work that you do?
RC: Being a mother is the inspiration of everything I do and my greatest passion and joy. Since my children have been born, I find myself looking daily at ways to better myself and the world around me. Looking at the world through the eyes of the child is the most beautiful thing you can do. Providing children with a haven and a place where they can share helps them develop the ability to overcome even the most difficult of circumstances. Drawing on that inner strength and inner resources is so essential when teaching children that they hold the key to their own happiness. Being a parent and teaching my own children to learn to deal with life’s difficulties while building healthy habits for life is so important. It constantly reconfirms that the work we do at Ivy Child is essential for the well being of every child.
SW: How can the community help?
RC: There are many ways the community can help from giving and sharing as an individual, family, workplace or community. No contribution is too small and can truly make a difference in improving the lives of children. We have wealth in our amazing group of volunteers and interns from undergrad and grad students to seasoned professionals looking for ways to contribute their talents and skills to our local and global community. Our team and the children we serve are our greatest source of pride and inspiration.
Original article by Susan Wagner, GoLocalWorcester Contributor.
Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client’s goals with integrity and creativity.