DeAmon Harges is the original “Roving Listener”. In 2004 as a neighbor and staff member of the Broadway United Methodist Church, in Indianapolis, IN his role was to listen and discover the gifts, passions and dreams of citizens in his community, and to find ways to utilize them in order to build community, economy, and mutual “delight.” The bulk of DeAmon’s work is based on the principles and practices of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute (ABCD) that brings neighbors and institutions together to discover the power of being a good neighbor. DeAmon builds on what is already present and in place in the neighborhood, using those formally undiscovered assets to connect and empower rather than working only from the community’s needs and deficits. There is now a core of “Roving Listeners” working in the Broadway Methodist Church neighborhood.
DeAmon is also a Co-founder of Tesserae Learning Community
(tesseraelearningcommunity.com) Tesserae Learning LLC was conceived in the fall of 2011 as a way to begin conversations about how to bring the ideas of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), Theory U and other contemporary practices to the forefront of community and organizational life.
In May of 2014 DeAmon founded The Learning Tree, LLC. The Learning Tree
(thelearningtrees.com) is an association of neighbors that specializes in Asset Based Community Development, learning and education that improves the quality of lives of people, communities, schools and businesses. We teach the value of seeing the gifts of every single person and how to utilize those gifts in ways that increase learning which help young people and neighbors discover the power of getting to know each other and finding their gifts in ways that build community, economy and mutual delight.
As an artist, DeAmon uses his art for social change and community building. DeAmon characterizes his work in general as the practice of “deep listening” and “positive deviance” from the typical models of neighborhood organizing.
Emily Baxter is the executive director of We Are All Criminals, a media-based advocacy project and organization. Prior to this, Emily served as the director of advocacy and public policy at the Council on Crime and Justice in Minnesota and as an assistant public defender at the Regional Native Public Defense Corporation representing indigent members of the Leech Lake and White Earth Bands of Ojibwe charged with crimes in Minnesota State court. Emily began developing We Are All Criminals through an Archibald Bush Leadership Fellowship in 2012. She now lives in Durham, North Carolina. We Are All Criminals exists at the intersection of stories, statutes, and statistics. Photographs and first-person narrative humanize the destruction caused by decades of mass incarceration and mass criminalization, while leaving readers with a sense of hope and inspiration to effect change. You can find the project online at weareallcriminals.org and soon, in an upcoming book.
Dr. Robert C. Fuller was born and raised on the shores of Tampa Bay, Florida in the mid twentieth century. He had the good fortune to be allowed to roam the woods and waters of Florida’s West Coast at a time when most of it was still rural. The outdoor skills and comfort in the woods served him well when he found himself a Recon Marine in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. Brushes with death there also gave him a renewed appreciation of life while essentially erasing any fear of death. After his military service, he earned bachelor and master’s in engineering and spent most of the next 33 years performing engineering work for cities and counties in Georgia. Along the way, he also developed commercial diving and aerial photography businesses, which he ran along with the engineering business. After a little experience with parttime teaching at North Georgia College, he went back to school and completed a Ph.D. in geography at age 54. He has been teaching both engineering and geography at the University of North Georgia and its predecessors full-time since 1998. He is an avid canoe paddler, sailor, sailing instructor, hiker, and gardener, and he dabbles in writing. He and Kathy, his wife of 45 years, live on a farm in eastern Lumpkin County, Georgia. They have two children, Alex and Erin, and three grandchildren.
Ryan Adams grew up in the small town of Dahlonega with lots of close family ties. There was extensive ties to the Cherokee, living off the land , and respecting nature. There was also Baptist beliefs of an all knowing god and ten commandments to follow. Studying multiple religions all at once was how he began the journey. They were like one big religion and he was reading its holy book. He studied Wicca and Celtic polytheism early on. He knew of the one big god and then spirits of the land and even those spirits had been loosely defined. He had always had an analytical mind; focused on biology and physical sciences. Never caring about the scale of the science, whether it be astronomy or microbiology. Diving into all these ideas of gods and goddesses was somehow comforting and at the same time a bit alien. The Celtic pantheon found a place in his heart as a kind of a middle ground for the Cherokee and Christian beliefs. He studied Thelema and Hinduism and found them similar. It was about this time that he was given the Tao te Ching, "The Tao of Power." It came during a coincidence where he found "Tai Chi Classics" at a book store. It wasn't until after he had read this book that he realized the Tao and Tai Chi are from the same philosophy. While studying the Tao he had learned to watch for the circles that form around him and something had indeed come full circle. His self-doubting phase hit heavy about a year later. He found out he had a severe case of sciatica or neuritis. He ended up at the hospital having examinations performed, talking to doctors, and having X-Rays taken. He gave up on Tai Chi's movements because of the pain. There was this one chiropractor that he was talking to, who he owes alot to. The chiropractor asked Ryan one day about hobbies or interests he was into. Ryan told him, "Well I was into Tai Chi before all this." Without missing a beat the chiropractor replied, "Don't stop doing that!" It hit Ryan after talking to this healer that maybe he should pick Tai Chi back up. He started small, little movements and after about a month, he was getting back full movement. He never forgets that he owes Tai Chi his life in so many ways. Poi found him about 4 years ago. Poi is a mixture of flow art with its history tied to New Zealand. Ryan thought it was like Aikido, a blend of the martial arts Judo and Bagua. It was exciting to see the flow in action like that. He started practicing with tennis balls tied to dog leashes. Humble and less painful. He remembers telling himself he wasn't going to be able to spin fire. It was hard to imagine something so dynamic when he was hitting himself with tennis balls. One day he was watching this poi artist spin fire on a video. Ryan noticed he was doing similar if not the same moves as Tai Chi. He would just go through the forms and the poi would fall into place. Ryan rededicated himself to Tai Chi and soon found the poi falling into place. He has been traveling while working state to state and taking his poi spinning with him everywhere he goes. He loves spreading the messages these arts teach. He says, "I really feel we could all grow and benefit from them, no matter who you are or what your background. Spinning fire and living Tai Chi has opened my eyes to so many internal and external paths. I have met so many amazing people all along this journey, they are all beautiful in their own way, and I am grateful to all of them! "
Samantha is a recent graduate from the psychology program at the University of North Georgia. She became involved in research during her sophomore year working as a lab assistant in a neuroscience animal study. After this, she shifted from neuroscience to clinical psychology where she began to head her own studies. Then, during her senior year, she applied for and received a state-funded grant through the Center of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA) program to conduct her own original research study under the mentorship of Dr. Kelly Cate. Her project, which began as a simple study about the psychological factors involved in eating disorders, evolved quickly into an extensive set of hypotheses concerning the nature of self-destructiveness itself. Having spent her first two years of her undergraduate education as a biology major and having minored in Sociology, her research in psychology has been strongly influenced by other disciplines. Consequently, she approaches her work from the biopsychosocial perspective, a view in psychology which integrates environmental,
genetic/biological, and individual factors. Her work is also influenced by humanistic and cognitive-behavioral psychology. All of these subtle influences culminate into an approach, which recognizes environmental and genetic factors as strong influences in an individual’s psychology, but sees cognitive-reshaping as a way to break down mediating psychological factors; these psychological factors, she proposes, are ultimately what allow many disorders—particularly those related to self-destruction—to fully develop and be maintained.
In the future, she plans to attend a clinical psychology doctoral program with the hopes of becoming an associate professor and a researcher. She expresses determination to continue research in the area of eating disorders, self-harm, and substance abuse. Ultimately, she hopes to one day contribute research findings that may lead to alterations of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, an American Psychological Association (APA) manual used routinely by psychologists world-wide when making diagnoses.
Sarah Howell currently resides in the airy North Georgia Mountains with her auburn-haired mutt, Reuben. They enjoy the outdoors hiking the local ranges, getting their paws dirty in the garden, and stargazing at night. She has many passions and interests mostly revolving around fine arts, creativity, nature, and expanding her mind. She enjoys reading, writing, discussing philosophy and positive psychology over hot tea, singing, playing music, photography, terrarium building, meditation, holistic health and alternative therapies. Ultimately, Sarah believes in the power of narrative and its ability to shape our everyday lives. What we include in our narratives is paramount to who we are as people and perhaps what is more noteworthy is that which we fail to include in our narrative. Finding the seam between inclusion and exclusion is where we find the most salient insights into our humanity.
Sarah wants to live in a world where people are more mindful and are more able to forgive one another, particularly themselves. She
believes that we are all multidimensional beings living in the
collective human experience. This complex landscape leaves us with many illusions of separateness and being disconnected, not
only from one another but from the Self. Once we reclaim our
Oneness we will reclaim the power in our individual lives.