FamFair is an immersive child development play and learning community event hosted during the University of Denver’s Homecoming season for expectant caregivers, children birth through teenage years, and community professionals that serve children and families.
The daylong event will focus on child social-emotional and cognitive development and will feature speaker events from field experts, interactive play-based learning sessions, and networking/community space.
FamFair Schedule of Events
Choose your adventure! Come join for any and all events. The event is nap-friendly and will include a quiet area when little ones need a break. Split your group between events so that everyone can do what they desire. A fun day for all!
Speaker Event: Dancing Through Development 8:30am-9:30am
Children are born to move. Join us to learn about children’s inborn need to move and the importance of movement in development. There will be lots of opportunities to dance as we explore the peragration hypothesis - the joy of moving through space.
Speaker bio: Dr. Beth Troutman has been working with young children and their caregivers for decades. She is the creator of a parent-child psychotherapy approach, based on the importance of the inborn need for connection, that addresses child behavior difficulties by improving caregiver-child interactions. She loves to dance and is interested in children’s inborn need for movement.
PhD, ABPP, ECMH-E®, Clinical Professor, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
MMMBop! Music Instrument Making Session 9:00am-9:30am
Help us make music for the concert! Materials to build music instruments will be provided.
Speaker Event: It’s Brain Science!: Learn How Our Brains Learn 9:00am-10:00am
In the talk, we will review how the human brain develops from infancy to adolescence. The talk will highlight the pivotal role that both positive and negative environments play in shaping the developmental trajectories of a child's brain. Furthermore, we will discuss the important role of parent-child relationships in fostering optimal child brain development.
Take a front seat on our exploration tour into the inner workings of the child's developing brain!
Speaker bio: Dr. Pilyoung Kim is a Professor in the Psychology Department. She is also Director of the Family and Child Neuroscience (FCN) Laboratory and co-founder of the Brain, Artificial Intelligence, and Child (BAIC) Center. She received a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Cornell University and received postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health. Her NIH-funded research program focuses on delineating the roles of prenatal and postnatal poverty in (1) neural regulation of parenting among new mothers; and (2) brain development among their infants. She was awarded the Victoria S. Levin Award for Early Career Success from the Society for Research in Child Development.
Professor, Department of Psychology, https://liberalarts.du.edu/psychology/family-child-neuroscience
WePlay! Play & Learn Tables 9:00am-11:00am
The Graduate School of Professional Psychology’s Perinatal through Five (P-5) mental health specialty at the University of Denver (DU) has partnered with The Children’s Museum of Denver to develop and implement WePlay (WP) and Nosotros Jugamos (NJ).
WP and NJ are community-engaged, culturally sensitive, evidence-informed programs that facilitate play, support, and psychoeducation for infant/early childhood caregivers and their children. Curricula was developed in English and Spanish with the intent to emphasize the value of play and responsive interactions in early childhood, while offering caregivers support, resources, and a network of peers and professionals to rely on and learn with.
During this table session interactive child development science-based play activities will be facilitated and child development psychoeducation resources on various topics will be shared.
Bambino Concert with Dr. Ross Henderson 9:30am-10:00am
Dr. Ross Henderson will lead a family friendly concert that can be enjoyed across all ages! Please grab your musical instruments and get ready to boogie!
Dr. Ross Henderson is not just your everyday singer and multi-instrumentalist, he's the captivating voice behind "The Singing Veterinarian." A harmonious blend of his passions for both animals and music has not only endeared him to his local Denver audience but has also catapulted him to internet stardom after playing for his patients at the veterinary office. Thanks to a series of viral videos that showcased his dual talents, Ross caught the eye of many, eventually landing him a starring role on Animal Planet’s “Hanging With The Hendersons.”
Playing at numerous venues throughout Denver, Ross's music has touched countless hearts. But if you ask him about his proudest achievements, it's being a doting father to his 18-month-old twin boys. Their infectious giggles serve as a reminder of life's simpler melodies.
Prepare for an enchanting showcase as Dr. Ross weaves music that speaks of love, life, and family.
DORK Dancing! 10:00am-11:00am
Dork dancing is a free dance movement & mental health advocacy campaign where celebration & activism meet for a healthier, happier & more harmonious world. Dork Dancing is free dancing, sober; it’s a new kind of dance therapy. It doesn’t matter how you move. We are trading judgment for acceptance; really, move however you would like, there’s no right or wrong way. Many try to avoid looking like a dork, here we are embracing that.
Lead by Ryan Carrion.
Speaker Event: Using Storybooks to Teach Children about Emotion 10:00am-11:00am
Emotions are how we give meaning to our lives. The words we use to describe our feelings give clarity to our experiences and insight into what happened and what to do next. This is why teaching children about emotion empowers them to effectively express and regulate themselves. When children have words for their feelings—"I’m feeling disappointed;” “I’m feeling frustrated;” “I’m feeling anxious;” “I’m feeling calm”—it helps the adults around them understand what’s happening and how to best respond.
Children also need to hear that their emotions matter, that there is no such thing as a good or bad emotion, and that what they are going through is normal. But many adults were not raised with these ideas or have guidance on how to talk about emotion, and that’s ok. Storybooks are opportunities to connect through a shared experience, grow together, and learn more about our emotions and the emotions of others.
Speaker bio: Dr. Craig Bailey really understands children’s emotional and cognitive development and how to support children reach their full potential. Craig works with school systems and children to support their emotional well-being and success at in the classroom and at home. Craig is also passionate about the role children's literature plays in their emotional vocabulary. He’s also a dad to 3 children, a fish, cat, and dog!
Director of Early Childhood, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence; Assistant Professor, Yale Child Study Center
Speaker Event: How to Be a REAL Good Dad, Even When It Seems There is Just No Time for Self-Care 10:30am-11:15am
This presentation will focus on short and simple ways that dads can support their health and wellbeing through self-care activities. Several examples will be described including one that includes a fun coloring activity for kids and kids at heart.
Co-Speaker bio: Dr. John Holmberg is a psychologist and a dad of two. He is passionate about supporting dads and parenting partners around mental health through research, private practice, and in the NICU. He has worked on numerous state-wide parenting and mental health initiatives. John is also a skilled mechanic who rebuilds cars with his oldest child. His role at DU is a Research Associate Professor and Interim Director of the CUB Clinic, Graduate School of Professional Psychology.
Co-Speaker bio: George Davis V is a Denver native and a Blessed Father of two beautiful children, Julian and Gianna. He is a strong advocate for Families through the Community Ambassadors program, and the Fathers group (Fathers Building Futures) at Clayton Early Learning Academy. Which allows him to take his passion to the state and federal levels to inspire and bring about change.
He encourages and engages Fathers to take a particular interest in the development and education of young children knowing that it is a critical period and must be utilized to both create and sustain a strong core for family empowerment. He served as a member of the Department of Early Childhoods Transition Advisory Group (TAG), and the Colorado Department of Human Services Family Voice Council. Giving voice to thousands of parents who are at times unheard. Advocate, “Poem Laureate” with Elephant Circle, for maternal health, birth equity, and reproductive justice.
Co-speaker bio: Aidan Elliott is a CFP® and ChFC® with over ten years of Wealth Management experience. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Aidan moved to Colorado in the Summer of 2012. He is Aidan is a dad of one, an avid fitness fanatic and traveler, keen indie rock and roll fan, and a published children’s book author.
Speaker Event: Parent-Child Play Session using PRIDE Skills! 11:00am-12:00pm
Grab your child’s favorite toys because it’s playtime! Drs. Hanley and Elliott are certified Integration into Working models of Attachment Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (IoWA PCIT) trainers. Drs. Hanley and Elliott along with doctoral students in child psychology will lead a coaching course in 5 foundational skills (PRIDE skills) aimed at increasing positive behavior in your child all while playing!
Co-Speaker bio: Dr. Atsuko Hanley is a licensed clinical psychologist and marriage and family therapist. Over the past 15 years, she has been providing individual, couples, and family therapy in a variety of settings. Atsuko specializes in supporting families with young children to promote their healthy relationships. With great compassion and empathy, she is committed to creating a secure, nurturing place where clients feel heard, seen, and understood. Atsuko works in private practice and is an adjunct faculty at DU. She loves international travels to explore other cultures. She has a basset hound named Charlie who loves to eat and hike!
Psy.D, Founder, Connecting Hearts Psychology, PLLC, Adjunct Faculty, University of Denver
Co-Speaker bio: Dr. Kelly Elliott is a psychologist who specializes in perinatal through early childhood mental health and development. Kelly is passionate about studying what supports children thrive in their development as well as connecting families to quality resources in their communities. Kelly is a mother of 1, loves to run, and enjoys dancing at Tracy’s dance parties!
Ph.D., IMH-E®, Research Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University of Denver
Speaker Event: Social and Emotional Learning through Interactive Read Alouds 11:00am-12:00pm
The DU Libraries’ Early Childhood Readers Collection provides a physical collection of books and online materials that moves beyond the mainstream infant and early childhood bestseller’s lists to represent families across a spectrum of inclusion and diversity, from race to sexual orientation to gender identity and disability. Utilizing the collection as an entry point to more profound community engagement, select titles include social and emotional learning (SEL) kits that set the stage for an interactive read aloud for families and/or early childhood educators. Come partake in some of these rich stories; we will interact with the texts and get creative with hands-on extension activities that center the caregiver-child relationship. Participants will receive a kit to enjoy at home!
Speaker bio: Natalia Umaña is a reference librarian who supports the Morgridge College of Education and collaborates with community partners for library outreach. Prior to librarianship, Natalia was a primary school teacher in bilingual and dual language classrooms. Her passion for early childhood literacy, especially for children who are English Language Learners and from immigrant communities, fuels her practice as an academic librarian and researcher. Natalia loves salsa, cumbia, merengue and karaoke!
Community Outreach & Reference Residency Librarian
Visiting Assistant Professor
University of Denver Libraries
Speaker Event: Wizards, Princesses, and Jedis, Oh my!: Parent-child Relationships As Seen on TV 12:00pm-1:00pm
Grab your lunch and join us to learn as Tracy showcases parent-child relationship development and mental health topics via pop culture references. Why do we connect with Harry Potter in chapter 1, book 1 and remain invested in his tale 7 books later? What mystique do princesses hold and why do so many find themselves in peril? Why don’t we talk about Bruno? We really need to talk about Bruno… Jedis are fascinating and brave - who wouldn’t want to be one? But those phenomenal cosmic powers come at a steep cost… We’ll talk through all this and more while we watch clips, dance to theme songs, and engage in hands-on activities related to our pop culture icons.
Speaker bio: Dr. Tracy Vozar is a clinical psychologist and professor who has been working with parents, their infants, and young children for almost 25 years. She’s also a mom of 4. A self-described nerd, Tracy uses pop culture to describe mental health in more accessible and engaging ways for caregivers and children. When she’s not working, you can find her hosting virtual dance parties for kids and families.
Ph.D., IMH-E (IV-R), PMH-C Clinical Director Perinatal Behavioral Health Developing Brain Institute Divisions of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology and Psychology & Behavioral Health, Children’s National Hospital
Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics, GWU School of Medicine and Health Science
Fostering Colorado’s Diverse Tapestry of BIPOC Families: Highlighting the work of Birth Squad, La Cocina, and More Bilingual, Bicultural Community Organizations 1:00pm-2:00pm
We’re bringing together two of our friends, Drs. Hairston-Peetz and Fariñas, both experts in working with BIPOC families in Colorado, to talk about the importance of programs that are grounded in community settings. They’ll share their observations of how collaborations between peers and professionals are extremely effective, particularly for communities that have not been as well served in "traditional" mental health settings. They’ll engage attendees in discussions of equity and serving our BIPOC communities.
Co-Speaker bio: Dr. Patrece Hairston Peetz (co-presenting with Janina) is a psychologist and mom of two who specializes in working with BIPOC parents throughout their pregnancies and postpartum. Patrece works across practice, policy and advocacy, workforce development, and community engagement to support birthing women and their families. She’s the founder and owner of The Authentic Mamas Project and is the Director of The Birth Squad in Denver, a program of the Colorado Chapter of Postpartum Support International. Patrece also launched and leads the Colorado branch of the Perinatal Mental Health Professionals of Color Alliance (PMHA-POC).
Director of The Birth Squad Denver, a program of Colorado PSI
PsyD Owner/Licensed Clinical Psychologist The Authentic Mamas Project, LLC
Co-Speaker bio: Dr. Janina Fariñas (co-presenting with Patrece) is a psychologist who specializes in supporting Latinx families. She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at La Cocina, with locations in Denver and Ft. Collins. She’s passionate about providing culturally attuned services, workforce development, and community engagement. Janina has a love for travel and has practiced across the U.S. and internationally.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer at La Cocina
Music Therapy Experiential Session 1:00pm-2:00pm
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” - Plato
All humans are musical beings, so come connect with the song inside of all of us! Music Therapists will lead attendees through group rhythmic activities, singing, relaxation and movement while learning about how music can enhance creativity, improve mood, encourage self-expression, and build connection. No musical experience or knowledge necessary, all ages and abilities are encouraged to attend and participate to your level of comfort!
Speaker bio: Hannah Bronson, MA, MT-BC, is a board-certified music therapist and clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Denver, Graduate School of Professional Psychology. She has worked with military service members, Veterans, and their families since 2012, and is currently a psychology resident at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Hannah is passionate about music as a form of connection and tool for strengthening relationships with individuals, families, and groups and is working with the Strengthening Bridges of Care Project to bring music therapy services to military connected individuals as well as the community of mental health professionals that support them.
Meet your village! Child Resources in Colorado Networking Session 1:30pm-4:00pm
Let’s put a face to a name and meet local resources providing supportive services for children and/or caregivers!
It’s Story Time! 2:00pm-4:00pm
Grab your Natural Grocers blanket and join us for story time featuring numerous famous children’s book authors!
Speaker bio: Bestselling children‘s author and artist Marianne Richmond has been crafting the language of relationships for nearly three decades, creating picture books that help people share their hearts and connect with those they love. With 70+ books and more than 7 million copies sold, Marianne writes for the unique everybody. “Our stories are different, and our feelings are a lot the same,” says Marianne. Inspired by her own childhood journey with epilepsy, Marianne is passionate about helping kids of all ages feel seen and loved and encouraging people to nurture their brightest and bravest selves. Her biggest hope is that her work is a bridge to the message of your own heart!
Marianne's author journey started in 1997 with her first self-published book, The Gift of an Angel, which blossomed into a multi-million dollar publishing company she co-ran for 16 years with her husband, Jim. In 2010, Marianne sold the publishing rights to her book collection to Sourcebooks, Inc., the largest woman-owned independent publisher in North America. Today, Marianne is the largest author on the Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (kids) list with her books found at both small and large retailers worldwide. Now back in grad school herself for a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, Marianne lives in Nashville with Jim and Otis Adventure, their dog who is not very adventurous. She is also a mom to four young adults, each in various chapters of finding their way in the world, and all who prefer numbers over words and paint. www.mariannerichmond.com
Speaker bio: Taylor Kirkpatrick, IMBA’04, BoT’23
From 2019 to 2021 Taylor served as Advisory Board Chair of the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at DU. Through his service, philanthropy, and community partnerships he helped establish a number of programs and services for the benefit of underserved children and families in the Denver community. His giving and service at DU have also benefited the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, University Libraries, Graduate School of Social Work, Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, and Daniels College of Business.
Taylor is President & CEO of Babson Farms, a single-family office overseeing operating businesses in agriculture, manufacturing, logistics, insurance, diverse real estate investments, energy interests, and public and private equity investments. He also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and corporations. More personally, he is an acclaimed children’s book author and speaker-story teller.
Taylor joined the University of Denver (DU) Board of Trustees in 2023. He is a proud alum with an International MBA from the Daniels College of Business at DU.
Speaker Event: Dandelions-The Perseverance, Growth, Flexibility and Challenges of Military Children 3:00pm-4:00pm
With a focus on growth and resiliency, Dr. Katy Barrs and Dr. Erica Adkins will discuss the stressors and challenges that military family members and children experience. We will identify coping skills, the importance of play, and resources available to strengthen endurance and resiliency of these families and children. We will also talk about resources such as WeServe/WePlay groups and the Strengthening Bridges Project, which support military and veteran families in further enhancing resiliency, endurance and attachment.
Speaker bio: Dr. Katy Barrs is a clinical psychologist and Associate Clinical Professor in the Military Psychology specialty at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology. She is the Clinic Director of the Sturm Center, a training clinic for Veterans, Servicemembers and their families. Dr. Barrs has worked with Veterans and Servicemembers at multiple VAs and Vet Centers across the country. Dr. Barrs oversees the Sturm Center, provides clinical education to multiple students within the clinic, and provides licensed community clinicians with education and consulting about these populations. She is also a mom of a four-year old and loves to hike, go see live music and spend time with friends and family. As a child, she also grew up in a military family.
Speaker bio: Dr. Erica Adkins is a licensed, board-certified counseling psychologist. She owns and operates a group private practice, Stages of Change Psychotherapy, PLLC in Colorado Springs, is the Faculty Director of the Military Psychology Specialty at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver and is a US Army Reserve Civil Affairs Team Chief with the 440th Civil Affairs Battalion at Fort Carson. She is married with 4 children and a Great Dane named Winston.
Bring your family for a day of play and learning!
Come join for complimentary catering and fun, including yoga, children’s concerts, immersive play stations, story time, and wisdom from expert speakers.