February Staff Recommendations

This month’s picks by our staff are diverse and offer a multitude of perspectives to our audience. First up, we have a podcast that explores incarceration, redemption, and what it means to recognize and share our humanity with one another. This month’s book pick seeks to inspire more love and kindness in our lives during this Valentine’s season. And finally, we are excited to introduce a new recommendation category – influencers and change making leaders in the child welfare world that are worth a follow!

Podcast Pick – Suave by Futuro Media Group

Following one man from 1993 to today, Suave tells the story of David Luis “Suave” Gonzalez who was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 17. Journalist Maria Hinojosa met Suave in the early ‘90s and began communicating with him to better understand life for incarcerated individuals. Their reporter-source relationship grew over the years into one of genuine friendship, all while documenting the ups, downs, and evolution of Suave’s story of accepting a life behind bars. Then, a change in a Supreme Court ruling changes everything. Suave explores finding hope despite hopelessness, redemption, and what it means to understand and share our humanity with others.

Book Pick – Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life by Cleo Wade

Cleo Wade’s uplifting collection of poems and reflections is the perfect way to celebrate the Valentine’s season by generating love and kindness for yourself and those around you. Nicknamed the “Millennial Oprah” by New York Magazine, Wade’s inspirational life lessons packed into bite-size mantras, meditations, and poems promise to inspire you to be kinder to the person who matters most in your life – you. Wade’s approach is very much focused on creating a base of self-love to better serve those around us. Whether you choose to power through Heart Talk in a single sitting or take it a page at a time for a daily pep talk, this book promises to ignite kindness and love in your life.

Influencer Pick – Charell Star on Instagram

We’re excited to introduce a new category of recommendations to you – key influencers and change making individuals in the child welfare community that we encourage you to follow. First up is the incomparable Charell Star! An alum of the foster care system in New York, Charell was gracious enough to join our CASA volunteers for a continuing education session to share her experiences and how best CASAs can advocate for the children they serve after her Humans of New York feature went viral. On her Instagram, Charell talks about a wide array of issues regarding children in foster care in her own unique style. She brings a sense of levity and a bright ray of hope even when discussing some of the tougher aspects of the topics she covers.