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About the Designer

Hi. My name is Don Riefler. For six years I worked at the Jessie Levering Cary Home for Children in Lafayette, Indiana, first part time, then full time, and for the three years as one of four Direct Care Supervisors in charge of staff and residents. I hold a bachelor’s in Philosophy and Anthropology from Purdue University and am currently a graduate student in Museum Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

I developed the Kids Thinking Critically program to give the kids with whom I work (boys and girls aged 13-18) a primer on critical thinking skills so that they might get exposure to an important topic they might otherwise miss. I developed it in mid 2008 and in July 2009 presented a paper on the program at The Amaz!ng Meeting 7, a conference on critical thinking held by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

My primary aim is to develop and provide toolsets for teaching invaluable critical thinking skills to kids from all walks of life. Too often, children grow up with almost no exposure to methods of clear, evidence-based thinking, and I aim, in my small way, to help rectify that problem.

In addition to the Kids Thinking critically program, I have designed staff training materials for Cary Home for Children on many topics including the identification and prevention of child abuse and neglect, teen suicide prevention, and  principles and practices of child care. I also designed Cary Home’s current new staff training manual, a five-day program responsible for introducing new employees to the ups and downs of residential child care. I manage the HoldOver Program, an auxiliary program at Cary Home that provides law enforcement with a temporary place to keep children with no available custodians until their guardians can be reached. I am also in charge of maintaining the outcome calculation of Cary Home’s residents since 1999, and have a hand in the development of two new residential programs opening later this year.

I have abiding interests in science and technology, history and mythology, and pop culture minutiae. I am obsessed with Mythbusters, Ghostbusters, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the Fallout franchise of video games. I don’t read as much as I’d like anymore. My mother thinks I’m quite something despite my constant efforts to convince her otherwise.

If you’d like to drop me a line, please visit the contact page. I am available to teach my program at schools and facilities, or simply give a talk about it to your group, provided I can fit it into my busy schedule of work and full-time school and I can get to where you are without burning a hole in my checking account. Any questions, comments, or feedback you have, absolutely feel free to send me an e-mail.

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