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Erin Walsh, M.A. and David Walsh, Ph.D.


Erin Walsh, M.A. is the co-founder of Spark & Stitch Institute, Parenting for Courage and Connection. She is a parent, speaker, educator, and writer. Erin has worked with communities across the country who want to better understand child and adolescent development and cut through the conflicting information about kids and technology. She is fiercely committed to bringing an equity lens and asset-based approach to our understanding of, and response to, youth and media. Her signature down-to-earth approach and sense of humor help families and educators engage in complicated topics and leave feeling capable and motivated.

Erin has enjoyed bringing science and tips to families and educators alongside her father Dr. David Walsh for nearly 20 years. They started together at the National Institute on Media and the Family and then more recently founded Mind Positive Parenting before creating Spark & Stitch Institute™ in 2019. In addition to writing articles for several other organizations including Bolster Collaborative and Psychology Today, she co-authored the 10th Anniversary Edition of the national bestseller Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen.

Erin is also the Lead Program Facilitator for Youth Frontiers. She leads interactive Mind Retreats for educators exploring the science of stress and why connection unleashes learning. Before creating Spark & Stitch Institute in 2019, Erin taught undergraduate students for 9 years with the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs. She created and co-taught an 8-credit program called Making Media, Making Change. Erin has served on a number of community boards, most recently as board chair of YMCA Camp Widjiwagan, a wilderness-based youth development program. She has consulted with schools, school districts, parent groups, and other youth-serving organizations throughout North America on issues related to digital media, children, and youth.

David Walsh, Ph.D., is the co-founder of Spark & Stitch Institute, Parenting for Courage and Connection. He has emerged as one of the world's leading authorities on children, teens, parenting, family life, and the impact of technology on children's health and development. He spent 10 years teaching and coaching high school students before joining Fairview Health Services in Minneapolis to develop and direct innovative counseling programs for youth and families. In 1995, he founded the internationally renowned National Institute on Media and the Family, which he led until 2010. He and his daughter recently created Spark & Stitch Institute (formerly Mind Positive Parenting) to translate cutting-edge brain science to everyday practice for parents, teachers, and other professionals.

Dr. Walsh has presented workshops to parents, educators, and professionals throughout the world. A consultant to the World Health Organization and the Ministries of Education in Japan, South Korea and Singapore, he has testified before congressional committees on numerous occasions. Dr. Walsh's workshops blend humor, warmth, scientific substance, and practical advice.

He is the author of ten books, including the national best sellers Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen and No: Why Kids - of All Ages - Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It. This last book serves as the focal point of the national Say Yes to No campaign, which teaches parents and educators how to instill self-discipline in America's children and ensure our kids succeed in school and life. His newest book Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids: The One Brain Book You Need to Help Your Child Grow Brighter, Healthier and Happier was released in June 2011.

Dr. Walsh has authored columns on numerous topics and his articles have appeared in newspapers across the country, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and others.

A frequent guest on national radio and television, Dr. Walsh has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Dateline NBC, ABC's 20/20, National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Morning Edition, and has been featured on three nationally broadcast PBS specials. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Council on Family Relation's Friend of the Family Award.

Dr. Walsh is on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, is a senior advisor at Search Institute, and has published many articles in the professional and general press. He is active in many professional associations, is a licensed psychologist, and has been the recipient of many awards and an honorary doctorate.

He received his B.A. degree from Mt. Carmel College, his M.A. degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and his Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota. He and his wife Monica live in Minneapolis and have three adult children and seven grandchildren.

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