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

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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

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I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

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