• Saturday, February 04, 2023

Interview with Dr. Connie K. Chung Author of When We Thrive, Our World Thrives : Stories of Young People Growing Up With Adversity

Dr. Connie K. Chung works with innovators, practitioners, researchers, and policymakers so that young people can thrive in a rapidly changing world
on Dec 13, 2022
When We Thrive, Our World Thrives

Dr. Connie K. Chung is a Foster America Fellow. She works with innovators, practitioners, researchers, and policymakers so that young people can thrive in a rapidly changing world. A former foster parent and former high school teacher, she is also a former lecturer and former Associate Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Chung received her BA, EdM, and EdD from Harvard University.

Frontlist: What is your opinion of the book's impact on young people's mindsets?

Connie : We wanted to inspire young people that they can thrive in spite of their backgrounds of adversity. 

Frontlist: How did you enlist the "young people" you wrote about? 

Connie: We selected graduates of Dream a Dream so they represented young men and young women from different backgrounds and different ambitions but who all nevertheless had found ways to pursue the lives they wanted to live and thrive. 

Frontlist: Can you recall and elaborate upon your overall childhood experience and the adversities you faced?

Connie: I would prefer not to share as the book is not about me. 

Frontlist:  How can the younger generation improve their lives by adopting certain attitudes and beliefs? 

Connie: The book is not so much about what the younger generation can do as it is about what we can do to help support the younger generation thrive.  As supporters of the younger generation, we can withhold judgment, create safe spaces in which young people can voice their questions, concerns, cares, and dreams, and come alongside of them to support them.  We can help them explore their strengths and interests and pursue careers and studies that allow them to contribute to their communities in ways that they find worthwhile. 

Frontlist: How did "Dream a Dream" become a reality, as outlined in the book?

Connie:  Dream a Dream is an organization that helps young people develop and achieve their dreams.  Each of the young person profiled in the book found ways to thrive, in spite of their backgrounds of adversity, and Dream a Dream became a globally recognized and respected organization because of their willingness to listen to young people and change their practices accordingly.

Frontlist: What is the most helpful writing advice you have received?

Connie: Write, even if you feel your first draft is not good at all. 

Frontlist: Why should someone read this book? 

Connie: The book is inspiring and unique in the way that it tells the stories of young people who are thriving in spite of their backgrounds of adversity. It weaves in research and best practices with compelling stories of young people. 

A few Amazon reviews:

1. “No matter how strong our resolve is, there comes a point of time in each and every single individual’s life when they might get frustrated with all the things that are happening and would like nothing more than to give up. And there is nothing better uplifting that we can receive than knowing and reading about the positive influential stories of others who defied inadequate or unpleasant circumstances with their sheer will, and came out stronger.

This is a book that without a doubt shows us how we can persevere and adapt to our circumstances, rather than succumbing to our situation.

Narrating a tale of young individuals who had seemingly no hope for any brighter future, the book shows us how with the right help and support from the correct people, they not only succeeded, but resulted in being a sort of inspiration for others.

Reading the book certainly gives hope that there are still good people out there who are willing to help those in need without wanting or demanding anything in return or exchange, those who just want to purely help and do their part in the good deed.”

2. “I like a book with proper research work and this book has done an exceptional job in that area. Students between the ages of eight and 22 are given the opportunity to heal, grow, and develop the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly rapidly changing world. Written by an expert, it outlines the action needed to be done and also states the journey of twenty exceptional people. This book is Equal to reading 20 people's autobiographies. It is easy to read with simple, small, and manageable lasting changes. Very touching & inspiring stories of youth. Completely changes the mindset of how we should engage with children and what it means to support them. The stories are warm and emotional. It offers readers a variety of perspectives on [the] dreams and life of Young People. it's like a notebook for everyone who wants to know how young people can thrive and be successful despite facing adversity in their lives. It gives readers a lot of perspectives on dreams and the existence of Young People.Very touching & inspiring testimonies of children. Completely modifications the mind-set of the way we must engage with children and what it [means] to assist them. A must-buy and a must-read book. It is recommended to pick up this book if you're looking for an easy read that will help broaden your perspective on life.” 

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