Episode 28: Michelle Yanche of Good Shepherd Services


First, let me apologize for the extra long delay between episodes of Please Speak Freely! While I have intentionally ignored the good advice I get to put the podcast on a set schedule in order to keep it from becoming a chore with an arbitrary deadline, I do intend to release a new episode at least every four to six weeks. The longer stretch that has passed since the last podcast is unusual. That said, I am pleased to present this latest episode, during which I spoke with Michelle Yanche, Assistant Executive Director for Government and External Relations for Good Shepherd Services and a passionate advocate for youth and families in New York City. Michelle talks about her vision for the future of youth and   family policy, how she stays sane fighting the same funding cuts year after year, and her own personal reasons for believing so strongly in youth development programs. This episode of Please Speak Freely is dedicated to the loving memory of my hero and friend, Richard Murphy, who passed away on February 14, 2013. Murphy was a lion in the field of youth work. He founded Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families, where he hired Geoffrey Canada, who later succeeded him and transformed the agency into the Harlem Children’s Zone. When he left Rheedlen, Murphy was appointed New York City Commissioner of Youth Services by Mayor David Dinkins. During his time there, he founded the Beacon Programs. He went on to pioneer work in community youth mapping and was the driving force behind many other innovations in the field, and many innovations in people’s lives, including my own. Rest in Peace, Murph.

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Please Speak Freely

On Please Speak Freely, Eric Gurna, founder of Development Without Limits interviews leading thinkers, artists and others to shed light on key issues and explore different perspectives about youth development and education. The idea is to get past the platitudes and institutional positions, and have honest, nuanced conversations about things that really matter to young people and communities. Please Speak Freely guests include:

  • Raffi, Children’s Troubadour and Founder of the Centre for Child Honouring
  • Alfie Kohn, Author of several books including Punished By Rewards and The Schools Our Children Deserve
  • Dr. Pedro Noguera, Professor of Education at New York University
  • Karen Pittman, President & CEO of the Forum for Youth Investment
  • Tony Smith, Former Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District
  • Lenore Skenazy, “America’s Worst Mom” and Author of Free-Range Kids

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