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Mother's Quest Podcast

Are you a mom who is ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life? A few months before a big milestone birthday, host Julie Neale, a life and leadership coach, community builder and mom to two high-energy boys, decided to stop sidelining her dreams and become the hero of her own journey. She created this show to help light her way by gathering words of wisdom and lessons learned from other mothers further ahead on their quest. Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, engaging mindfully with their children (E), passionately and purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), investing in themselves (I), and connecting to a strong support network (C). Come along with Julie and you are sure to find some treasures of your own.
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Now displaying: 2024
Jun 14, 2024

I’m honored to share this special Father’s Day edition of the Mother’s Quest Podcast. This episode features my friend  Jeff Steinberg, whose commitment to the lessons of the civil rights movement can shine a light for us now, during another pivotal time in our nation’s history.

Jeff and I first crossed paths when our sons, Ryan and Journey, now 20 years old, became inseparable friends in preschool. While waiting to pick up our kids, I instantly connected with Jeff as I learned about the transformative work he was doing as Executive Director of Sojourn to the Past, also known as the Sojourn Project.

Years before I would create Mother’s Quest, Jeff modeled the power of forging his own purposeful path. After 14 years of teaching A.P. American History, Jeff founded Sojourn to move beyond the limitations of the classroom, delving students into the lessons of the civil rights movement and bringing history to life. 

Through week-long journeys to the South, students visit historic locations, delve into primary source materials, hear from Civil Rights icons, and engage in deep discussions. By stepping out of the classroom, students are immersed in a shared history not covered in our textbooks. They return empowered to drive personal, social, and civic change in their own communities.

Since his first trip in 1999, Jeff has received tremendous recognition for his impact, receiving state and national awards including The Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. (Advancing Nonviolence Through Generations of Exceptional Leadership) Award and the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award. He has led over 19,000 students and community adults on these transformative journeys, shaping their futures in profound ways.

I loved this opportunity to go deep with Jeff into the lessons learned through Sojourn, the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things and that we all have a role to play to speak out against injustice. Jeff shares honestly about his own personal grappling with our nation’s history, the principles of nonviolence, and the issues we face today, including the horrors unfolding in Israel and Palestine and the student protests here. While you might not agree with everything he says, I hope the thoughtful perspectives he shares inspires you, as it did me, to say yes to a sojourn trip of your own and to move with authenticity into your own transformational activism. 

Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • How Jeff’s family and particularly his older brother, who played speeches of MLK and Bobby Kennedy while Jeff was growing up, influenced his commitment to social justice. 

  • Jeff’s path from teaching A.P. American History to founding Sojourn to the Past, bringing civil rights history to life through immersive student journeys.

  • The importance of connecting our children, in developmentally appropriate ways, to our nation’s challenges and how Jeff raised his sons to explore their own authentic path to allyship.

  • The impact of the principles of nonviolence on Jeff’s life and how finding his own inner peace is a work in progress. 

  • The work Sojourn is doing to reform policing and the justice system through bringing officers and district attorneys on the trips. 

  • Why shame and guilt are destructive feelings and how to shift to empowerment and responsibility instead. 

  • The lack of knowledge of our shared history and who Jeff believes are our nation’s real founding fathers and mothers. 

  • Jeff’s personal reflections on the horrors unfolding in Israel and Palestine and the responsibility he feels as an American Jew to speak out against the oppression of the Palestinian people. 

  • His respect for student activism and the conversation he recently had with a student protester at one of the university encampments. 

  • The importance of dialogue, reciprocity, and building shared compassion.

 

About Jeff Steinberg

After 14 years of teaching Advanced Placement U.S. History, “Mr. Steinberg” founded Sojourn to the Past out of a passion for exploring civil rights and the desire to provide a transformational and experiential educational experience for his students. He has designed rigorous, relevant, and standards-based curriculum filled with rich primary source documents, in the hopes that students will benefit from exploring systemic injustices of the past as a means to better understand and address our current challenges. Mr. Steinberg has led over eight thousand students through Sojourn’s living history lesson, along the path of the Civil Rights Movement, through five states in the Southern United States. Additionally, he makes hundreds of interactive presentations annually across the country on the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement. For his efforts, Mr. Steinberg and the organization have received numerous state and national awards including: The Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. (Advancing Nonviolence Through Generations of Exceptional Leadership) Award, and the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award.


Connect with Jeff and Sojourn

 

This Episode’s Challenge

Jeff gives us all an open invitation to join one of the Sojourn project trips and immerse ourselves in the living history and lessons of the civil rights movement. He encourages us to explore the written texts and documentaries that they use on the trips at this link. And, he invites us to think about how we can each use our voices to be allies and find our own authentic, transformative path to activism.  

 

About Sojourn Project

For over 20 years and through 100+ study trips to the American Deep South and Washington, D.C., Sojourn Project has been immersing people from diverse backgrounds in academic, transformative weeklong moving-classroom Journeys. Along the path and through the lens of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and America’s struggles for liberty. Living history. Learning about sacrifices made and lives taken to achieve the right to vote and equality. Our greatest hope is for people to recognize that they too can stand up to injustice and do extraordinary things. A California-based nonprofit, Sojourn has been honored by the United States Congress as the longest-running social justice education and outreach program of its kind.


Related Episodes and Resources To Explore Next

From Mother’s Quest: 

Sojourn Recommended Resources: 

 

This Episode is Dedicated by Kristi Donna Ng

Kristi Donna Ng is an award-winning screenwriter, actress, producer and hula dancer. Her short films have been screened at the Boston Asian American Film Festival, Syracuse International Film Festival (1st Place Winner), The Barrow Group's 48 Hour Film Festival (Two-time Audience Award Winner) and The Sparrow Film Project where she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Award. Select theatre credits: Heartstrings (Atlantic Theater Company), Joker (National Queer Theatre), Same Time Next Week (Joust Theatre Company), Love/Sick (PaperKids Theatre Company). Kristi received her Masters Degree in Politics from New York University and previously worked at Human Rights Watch.

 


Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

In celebration of our 100th episode, we invite you to help us spread the word by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Help us reach 100 + reviews to honor 100 + episodes of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

You can also support the podcast by making a contribution or joining one of our memberships at our Patron Page on Ko-Fi.com. 

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest

 

May 11, 2024

Welcome to this first episode of Season Nine of the Mother’s Quest Podcast with a returning and special guest, my own son Ryan Neale.

I first sat down to record an episode with Ryan in 2017, on his 13th birthday, after we embarked on a milestone hike, using the ascent and descent at our local Sugarloaf Peak to pack up the lessons of his first 13 years of life and my first 13 years of motherhood. 

At that time, Ryan knew he wanted to close out his teenage years the same way he began them. So this past March, in what felt like the blink of an eye, his 20th birthday approached and Ryan returned from college so we could set out on the trail again.

Though the path was familiar, we soon recognized just how much we each had grown, maturing through heartache and triumph in our own ways.

We knew we would want to record our reflections from the hike again in a special recording studio and with the support of someone who might help us go even deeper. The answer to our quest appeared in the form of Tricia Creason-Valencia, co-founder of PowerHouse, and who Ryan and I have been partnering with on a new initiative, the Autism Storytelling Project.

It therefore also felt right to invite Tricia to dedicate this episode. Listen in for her beautiful dedication. You’ll also hear her voice toward the end of our conversation, asking us each a question that brought us both to tears. 

Along with some tears, there were many moments of insight and even some laughter, as we share about this 20 year milestone in both of our lives, the lessons we've learned about our neurodivergent identities especially, and about the exciting chapters unfolding for us.

It was a gift to experience this and also to share it with you. Ryan and I both hope this conversation inspires you to find your unique way to mark the milestones in your life, to reflect mindfully with your children, and to give yourselves opportunities to see one another, champion one another, and to grow alongside one another.

About Ryan Neale

Ryan Neale is a neurodivergent sophomore at UCLA, planning to double major in Communication and Disability Studies with a minor in Film Studies. He is part of the College Scholars Program at UCLA and recently was selected as part of the 2023 Chancellor’s Leadership Program cohort. He is passionate about neurodiversity advocacy and sharing his own experiences to pave the way for others. He is currently a staff member at the Bruin Resource Center, where he is a student lead on a new campus-wide neurodiversity initiative, the Bruin Neurodiversity Collective, to make UCLA more inclusive for students like him. This summer, he served on staff for the Stanford Neurodiversity Project – Research, Education, and Advocacy Camp for high schoolers wanting to create neurodiversity advocacy projects. He was also a speaker at the 2021 Stanford Neurodiversity Summit and has been a guest host on the Mother’s Quest Podcast. Ryan was diagnosed with autism at the age of 18 months old and also identifies with ADHD and anxiety.

Connect with Ryan

Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The origins of our first milestone hike and why it was important to Ryan to end his teenage years in the same way he began them. 

  • Ryan's grappling with his autistic identity, and how his desire to be “normal” over his teenage years was like navigating a “toxic ex.” 

  • Our growth and learning journey as a spiral, inviting us to revisit similar challenges but with new levels of self-awareness and knowledge. 

  • How Ryan's perception of autism shifted over time, from internalized ableism and heavy masking toward self-acceptance and more authenticity.. 

  • My diagnosis of ADHD just before my 50th birthday and how my own perceptions of neurodiversity have shifted. 

  • The ways that both of us used our voices to highlight gaps in support for neurodivergent students at UCLA and how that led to Ryan co-founding The Bruin Neurodiversity Collective. 

  • Ryan’s first quarter at UCLA crash and burn and how writing his story about that experience for Business Insider was a turning point. 

  • How Ryan putting himself out there and experiencing rejection after rejection ultimately led him to the greatest gift of all. 

  • The letter of acknowledgment I wrote for Ryan about all the qualities I see in him. I read through tears but am so glad I persevered and could share it with him (and you!)

  • The power of mother and son sharing and growing alongside one another. 

This Episode Dedicated by: Tricia Creason-Valencia and The Autism Storytelling Project

Tricia Creason-Valencia is a dynamic force in the world of filmmaking, education & community building. Through the art of storytelling, Tricia weaves her own raw narrative of mothering, making movies, resilience and rediscovery. As an Emmy-Nominated Director/Producer, Motivational Speaker and Co-Founder of PowerHouse, she pioneers the way for women, people of color and youth to amplify their voices and claim their power through creative expression. She believes, deep in her soul, that truth-telling fosters empathy and connection, serving as a catalyst for social change.


About The Autism Storytelling Project

The Autism Storytelling Project empowers young autistic people who aspire to tell authentic autistic stories through creative expression by awarding unrestricted grants. The goal of the project is to expand understanding about autism by elevating stories about the personal experiences of autistic young people ages 16-25 in Santa Clara County, CA. All forms of art and creative expression are welcome, but the story must focus on the artist's lived experience as an autistic person, or on autism as a whole. Connect with the Autism Storytelling Project:

About PowerHouse 

PowerHouse is a creative co-working space for women+ entrepreneurs, video and podcasting production studio and venue for professional development & creativity workshops committed to amplifying women’s voices. PowerHouse is a women & minority-owned social entrepreneurship venture in the heart of downtown San Jose founded by Farran Tabrizi and Tricia Creason-Valencia.


Other Related Episodes and Resources: 

Mother’s Quest May Gift Guide – Gift Yourselves and the Mothers You Love Beyond Mother’s Day!

Put yourself on your priority list and choose something special for yourself this Mother’s Day. Take a peek inside the Mother’s Quest Gift Guide at some of my favorite things I’ve curated for you. 

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, Engaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

In celebration of our recent 100th episode, we invite you to help us spread the word by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Help us reach 100 reviews to honor our 100th episode milestone of the Mother’s Quest Podcast!

You can also support the podcast by making a contribution or joining one of our memberships at our Patron Page on Ko-Fi.com. 

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest

 

 

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