Positive Discipline Community Resources (PDCR): Building a Movement for a Respectful, Kind and Connected Culture with our Children

What if ALL adults taught and modeled empathy for our children to create a culture of compassion, love and respect?

Photo of Nga Trinh-Halperin

Written by

Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

As a mother of four and social activist (like being Mayor of City of Santa Cruz and working on women's issues with the United Nations), Jane Weed-Pomerantz carried a deep sense of love and justice in the world. Her work as a Positive Discipline facilitator evoked strong response as it grew over 12 years, and then to meet the demand, she co-founded PDCR in 2010. PDCR provides transformational tools for implementation and practice, as well as a strong movement framework with partner organizations.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani)

If you chose to self-identify your race, ethnicity, or origin, please share here: (the answer will not be public)




Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • California

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Santa Cruz

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • California

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Capitola, Pajaro, Salinas, Monterey, King City, Castroville (we are in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, but also have partners in Santa Clara and Merced counties)

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We live in a world that operates in the punishment/rewards paradigm, often interacting with children from a quick-fix mentality where compliance insidiously moves in as the end goal. Many children are discouraged, extrinsically motivated (for the short-term), and never have a chance to learn and develop important social and life skills. PD is a different, long-term path, raising our kids to be caring, capable and to contribute in meaningful ways.

It takes a Caring and Respectful village!

PDCR knows that when adults are provided appropriate training and tools, outcomes for children are more successful. So we offer programs to parents, professionals and community members who want to support young people with tools that build self-awareness and emotional regulation; an approach that is kind and firm at the same time; and relationships that are mutually respectful, honoring both adult and child.

Specifically, we use the evidence-informed approach of Positive Discipline (PD) which helps adults, especially parents, develop relationships with children rooted in caring, compassion and respect. We work from the foundation that kids are motivated by the desire to feel belonging and significance. Using practical PD tools, we can expand empathy within each of us.

We also know that lasting social movements are grassroots and collaborative so we have mobilized a vast network of partners and organizations. PDCR has established a powerful ecological model designed to create systemic change, addressing generational trauma in homes and institutionalized behavior modification in schools, jails, etc.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Children who are differently abled
  • LGBTQ or non-binary individuals
  • Low-income communities
  • Other

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Childcare
  • Child and Family Services
  • Community Development and Empowerment
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Mental Health
  • Other

If you chose "other," please share the sector you work within here:

We also work with the medical community to assist doctors, nurses and other wellness practitioners.

Year Founded


Project Stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Tony, a 28-year old, tattoo-covered gang member, took a PD Series at the Main Jail. Things were not going well for Tony but he was engaged in the classes. “What do you mean, belonging and significance? How do kids learn if they are not punished?” he asked. Jane, the facilitator, did not lecture but instead guided Tony, using his own life experiences. Jane provided him with tools to feel and think differently, reflecting as a child (Tony had no kids). On the last day of class, Tony was disappointed about ending. As Jane was being escorted out, he suddenly asked her something incredible. He wanted to buy a PD book for his sister who had two young children. He said, “I want her to know! If they start PD now, then THAT is real GANG PREVENTION!

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Over 18,000 people have taken classes or trainings since 2000 when PD started regionally. Feedback about program content and facilitator skills land 98% in good or excellent range. For 10+ years, we conducted pre- and post- surveys to find parenting tools gained; top four are: Understanding the belief behind the behavior; My response influences my child's response; Calming down before problem solving together; and Mistakes are opportunities to learn. In 2013, a long-term impact survey showed 100% responding that PD significantly improved or transformed their skills with children! "PD has been transformative for me, my family and my professional practice.” Dr. Patricia Baretto, Pediatrician, San Jose "The best legacy we can leave our children is the skill to communicate and pass on great relationships through the generations. PD does that!” Mark Anicetti, Parent

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $50k - $100k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

With support of our network, PDCR is planning to: 1. Grow earned revenue for classes and trainings, even as scholarships are offered. 2. Increase foundation grant support for scholarships and capacity building via grant writing and emerging visibility. 3. Expand individual support for scholarships and capacity building via donor asks and annual mail appeal. 4. Contract services in cases of public-funded programs like in the jails and schools.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

We are uniquely able to offer PD as an ecological model that creates empathy through the skill building of adults to support children. PD is also uniquely focused long-term and relational (rather than short-term behavior modification), and integrated in many different settings from home to school to workplace, particularly in youth service agencies. The closest ‘whole community’ initiative we are aware of is Developmental Assets, and our curriculum addresses many of the components recommended by their research and framework (which is not as experiential in format or deep in behavior change).

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

PDCR's strategies are informed by many other projects, below, as well as research on attachment theory and brain development: Positive Discipline Association - this organization is building the PD movement across the U.S. and now has grown PD into 55+ countries! Adverse Childhood Experiences Study - this study done by Dr. Vince Felitti and his colleagues at Kaiser - Permanente in San Diego has made the case trauma-informed approaches. Harvard Center on the Developing Child - their social change theory puts building adult capacity as a key indicator for children's successful outcomes!

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

  • Other

Program Design Clarity

a) the whole community because Positive Discipline improves every relationship particularly those between adults and children. This in turn creates an more thriving, strong and healthy culture where each and every person is valued and respected! b) support and resources through classes, workshops, trainings, coaching, mentorship and technical, logistical and outreach coordination to anyone in the public who wants to make a brighter future together. c) anytime through the year to anyone who inquires! d) staff and partners provide the services above in various sites throughout the community.

Community Leadership

We are proud to manifest a truly ecological model by actively engaging stakeholders (from all sectors: education, restorative, medical and social services, and civics) in PDCR's leadership! Our Board of Directors and Advisory Team as well as a cadre of program and outreach volunteers are diverse representatives. Example: with our allies in the Jails and Sheriff, we collect feedback and our evaluation team integrates input for future programs.

Age of Children Impacted

  • Pregnancy - 0
  • 0-1.5
  • 1.5 -3
  • 3 - 5
  • 6 - 12
  • 12+

Spread Strategies

Program Innovation – Adapt Parenting and Schools Curriculum for professionals (after school care and in the medical setting); Restorative work (recovery, jails, and homeless shelters), and Special programs (gang prevention, teen moms, and foster parents). Connect the Dots – Grow in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties and beyond, and deepen our role as the go-to regional clearing house and partner with PDA for U.S. and global expansion.

Reflect on how your work helps children to thrive. How are you cultivating children’s sense of self, belonging, and purpose through your model?

Beautiful, profound and now evidence-based, Positive Discipline's theory and practice has always been based in Dr. Adler's values framework of caring, compassion, and respect. We operate from the premise that kids are motivated by the desire to feel belonging and significance. Using PD tools, adults - parents, professionals and community members - expand empathy within each of us (be the change!), and this directly flows into the next generation.

Leadership Story

My commitment to social change is ever deeper (after 25 years in nonprofits) because band-aid fixes fail us, and the collective embodiment of ONE humanity is growing! I am humbled by the power of PD, seeing transformations in... parents who need support with daily stressors of modern life; those coming out of addiction, realizing "there is another way" beyond what they grew up with; and, burned out teachers or overwhelmed social workers who rejuvenate their hearts and spirit with PD. I tap into THEIR courage and inspiration when I see others' promoting and funding the "behaviorist" model. -Nga

Organization's Twitter Handle


Organization’s Facebook Page (URL)


Leader's LinkedIn Profile (URL)


Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Relevance: Does this project seem to help children (ages 0 to 12 years) develop a strong sense of self, belonging, and purpose?

5 - Yes, this is great! The project lays out a strong, compelling case for how its model nurtures children’s wellbeing. - 25%

4 - It seems like a good fit, and the model talks explicitly about children’s wellbeing. - 25%

3 - I think so. The project seems related to children’s wellbeing, but the logic is vague. - 50%

2 - Not sure. The project doesn’t have much to do with wellbeing, or it doesn’t give enough information. - 0%

1 - Nope, this project definitely doesn’t fit the challenge brief (e.g., It doesn’t help kids younger than 12, isn’t in the U.S., etc.) - 0%

2. Innovation: Does this project tackle children’s wellbeing from a new angle?

5 - I loved this! The project describes a novel model that addresses important cultural or systemic barriers. - 0%

4 - This is pretty cool. The project is addressing an important problem in a new or compelling way. - 25%

3 - I feel like there’s something there, but I want more details about what makes it distinctive. - 50%

2 - It’s a good project, but I’ve seen others like it before. - 25%

1 - It was confusing or hard to tell what it made it different. - 0%

3. Social Impact: What is this project’s potential for creating positive social impact?

5 - Lots of potential. This project is achieving impressive results, and it’s growing quickly. It could absolutely inspire changes in the ways we approach caring for kids nationally, across sectors (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 0%

4 - Pretty good potential. This project demonstrates significant positive impact so far, and it could scale regionally or nationally one day and fundamentally change how a system operates (e.g. childcare, healthcare, education). - 33.3%

3 - Budding potential. This project is creating local impact, but it would take a few adjustments before it could scale. - 66.7%

2 - Some potential. This project demonstrates some initial positive impact, but it would require major changes before it could scale. - 0%

1 - Limited potential. This project has great intentions, but it looks like it does not include key drivers of a shift towards children’s wellbeing. - 0%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 25%

3 - I think the idea is great, but it needs some work before it moves onto the next round. - 25%

2 - I liked it fine but preferred others. - 25%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. Needs significant revisions. - 25%

5. Offer some feedback. Where should this participant spend some time revising?

DEFINING THE PROBLEM. Make sure to articulate the root causes or main barriers of the social issue your project addresses. (Founding Story, Problem, Solution). - 100%

CLARITY OF MODEL. Make sure to mention (a.) the beneficiary, b) the main activities, and c) how those activities drive social impact. Keep it streamlined! - 100%

MARKETPLACE. Make sure to research other players in this space and articulate how this project is different. I didn’t get a complete sense of how this project compares to others. - 100%

IMPACT POTENTIAL. Make sure to use specific numbers to describe what your project has achieved so far! And consider how you might scale the model or its insights, through partnerships, trainings, or franchising. - 50%

WRITING STYLE. Try to stay concise and make it vivid. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

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Positive Discipline helps adults, especially parents, develop relationships with children rooted in caring, compassion and respect. We work from the foundation that kids are motivated by the desire to feel belonging and significance. Using practical PD tools, we can expand empathy within each of us.

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Photo of Leanne McEvoy

To the entire PDCR team.....Hip Hip Hooray!  Love the family engagement, love the positivity, love the collaboration, love the "we"......LOVE LOVE LOVE!  We work with restorative justice and trauma informed care and this adds a new component engaging each system the family engages with!  Keep up the good work....we will be following your progress and who knows....someday we'll bring your training to CT!  Peace

Photo of Nga Trinh-Halperin

Hello Leanne, ask and you shall receive!

there is a fall conference in CT for those interested in Positive Discipline:

thank you for your kind words and this critical need to look at restorative and healing-informed care!!!  peace to you and for each of us!

Photo of Leanne McEvoy

Thanks for the information.  I will be sharing with many from my network.  

Photo of Madhu

I have been involved with this program for over a year. It works with all kinds of relationships.
My personal life is being transformed with this approach. I am really enjoying working with families, children and students using positive discipline.

Photo of Charlotte Stites

Great work! I'm a fan of Jane Nelson and Positive Discipline. Think we need to broaden this type of initiative to include health care providers as well as educators. Have you gone this route? Is your program community-wide? Would love to learn more.

Photo of Nga Trinh-Halperin

Hello Charlotte, woohoo for our common interest with PD!  Absolutely, we have partners in both medical and education sectors!  We just did a full training with a regional low-cost clinic, Salud Para La Gente, for their staff and are collaborating with them on Shared Medical Visits to parents of babies on developmental milestones and PD support.  This is just one example though we have trained with Stanford Hospital, Valley Medical Center Pediatrics, and Healthier Kids Foundation just to name a few...  

And, we are super excited about the upcoming schoolyear where we will return and begin new work with over a dozen partners that implement PD on the whole campus and in the classroom.  They range from daycare and preschools right up to high school aged students, and we have the buy-in of administrators and teachers.  We also work with the County Office of Education and New Teacher Center to create whole systems impact with education leaders.

Thanks and feel free to to our website pdcrsantacruz.org and sign up for our monthly newsletter featuring tips and programs!

Photo of Charlotte Stites

Sounds great. I just signed up for the newsletter. 
I'm a pediatrician in Louisville, KY working to open the Smoketown Family Wellness Center, combining medical care for kids and healthy lifestyle support for the family in a community-based setting. We will be looking for similar resources when we open in early 2017. Will look forward to following your work!

Photo of Nga Trinh-Halperin

Hello, how wonderful!  I hope you will stay in touch and let us know how you are doing and if we can help!

Photo of Jonathan Cohen

I appreciate and applaud this programs focus on adult learning/education as well as on positive disciplinary approaches. It would be potentially terribly helpful for this group to ‘connect’ with district leaders (Superintendents and school board members) who typically have appreciate and want to support these same goals. These district leaders have the potential to revise and/or develop policy that will strengthen these efforts in complimentary ways.

Photo of Nga Trinh-Halperin

YES!  We have Positive Discipline in the Classroom trainings directly on site at the schools and open to the general public and have partners at the County Office of Education, Board Member and Superintendents of various districts, and Principals and Staff of different schools ;-)

Photo of Nga Trinh-Halperin

Thanks Michael for your interest!  This kind of platform is challenging to share details and philosophy, tools, etc.  There is 30 years of curriculum development and training that has been evolving...  But start with our website, pdcrsantacruz.org (our regional initiative) or go to positivediscipline.org (separate but related national and international work).  Then if you have more interest, books and materials are available at positivediscipline.com or just get to a local library as PD books are often there...  Of course, with all this I am happy to just get on the phone with you and talk in person ;-)

Photo of Michael Auerbach

I'm certainly drawn to your model of adult-focused intervention, but I don't have a deep enough grasp of your exact programming to offer an informed opinion. I'd love to learn more about the details of your PD training.

Photo of Nga Trinh-Halperin

Thank you Doug, that is a great question and I appreciate your kind words.  We are an ecological model with staff, board, and partners in the community including PD trainers.  Many PD trainers work independently so just a different tack on how to share PD and build the movement for respectful relationships.  We all have a role to play as it works for each of us in offering our talents, isn't that great?

Photo of Doug Gould

Great program for helping parents and children build stronger bonds and developing a sense of belonging and self worth. I would be interested in more detail on what makes your program different from other Positive Discipline trainers. Best of luck.

Photo of Natalie Christensen

Woohoo! Way to go PDCR and Nga! 

Photo of Nga Trinh-Halperin

Thank you to Ashoka and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation team for selecting PDCR as a "Leader to Watch"!  We are so grateful to be part of such an amazing initiative (amongst so many other wonderful projects!) working towards the wellness of our children and communities ;-)