Dr. Charlene Désir is committed to the healthy academic, psycho-social, and spiritual development of immigrant and disenfranchised people. Her primary area of focus is providing assistance and guidance for personal, academic, and professional mastery through support programs, lectures, and providing mentorship and coaching.
Dr. Désir received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her academic interests include the social, psychological, and spiritual adjustment of immigrant students in public schools. Dr. Désir’s work takes a look at school social curriculum, psycho-social trauma occurring in schools, and how psycho-social issues affect students’ cognitive ability and spiritual development. Dr. Désir has presented various papers on the topic of immigrant students and their adjustment to life in the United States. She has published numerous journal articles and papers on the topic of immigrant identity, spirituality, and becoming a reflective researcher.
Dr. Désir founded The Empowerment Network (TEN) Global, a non-profit organization that supports the personal, spiritual, and academic development of women and students in Haiti and U.S. In 2012, she served as president of the Haitian Studies Association and was appointed, by Governor Rick Scott, to the Children’s Services Council in Broward County, Florida. Throughout her career, Dr. Désir has worked as a school psychologist, K-12 school counselor, school administrator for district and charter schools, and an academic advisor and professor.
Identity Development & Childrens’ Programming
The Black Androgynous Genius Project
The Black Androgynous Genius Project (BAGP) is a coalition of Black queer and straight allies supporting the development and resilience of Black queer young adults. The BAGP will operate as an educational taskforce that is committed to the empowerment and safety of Black queer and transgender young adults. The BAGP will address the needs of Black queer young adults by drawing attention to the social and institutional barriers that Black queer young adults face; advocating for their social, educational, and psychological needs and potential; facilitating engaging and inclusive educational young adult workshops; providing training for families, educators, community members, and system partners to better understand the needs of Black queer young adults; and co-create a supportive network for Black queer young adults.
The Haitian Mental Think Tank
The Haitian Mental Health Think Tank was created to address Haitian mental wellness during the COVID 19 pandemic and thereafter. The Haitian Mental Health Think Tank is comprised of Haitian American mental health professionals including school, counseling, and clinical psychologists, marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors, social workers, school counselors, behavioral analysts, and conflict resolution experts. The focus of the Think Tank is to explore, question and re-imagine culturally relevant narratives of the Haitian and Haitian American psyche, as it is informed by mainland Haitian and first and second generation Haitian American’s lived experiences, and by interfaith/nonfaith, and various economic perspectives. The Think Tank’s goal is to construct a praxis of clinical work, resulting in the development of customized, innovative best care practices.
The Gifted Lakou
The Gifted Lakou is a think tank and support group of adults who are interested in creating pathways to self-healing. This group allows participants to utilize their various spiritual and intellectual gifts to support each other and manifest their optimum life.
Sosyete Nago Summer Camp
A summer youth socio-cultural and academic program, Sosyete Nago Summer Camp serves an indigenous spiritual cooperative community in Jacmel, Haiti. The summer camp typically takes place in July and its focus is to supplement literacy skill development, learning appropriate psycho-social responses to poverty and trauma, and promoting Haitian indigenous culture and epistemology.
Identity Development and Restoration
Dr. Désir provides workshop, lectures, and programs that support and integrate a strong social, cultural, and academic identity. She creates individual and group training from a cultural and therapeutic lens. Dr. Désir believes it is vital to maintain a full sense of self to create a life purpose or restore the parts of self that need to be nurtured. The life cycle begins at birth and ends at death. Throughout this journey there is a need to learn, integrate, and create pathways for self-actualization; to become a productive person to self, in relationships, and as part of a community.
As a school psychologist, Dr. Désir provides an assessment of the academic and psycho-social needs of children and adults. She views education as a vital tool for self-understanding and mastery. She has prepared several academic, socio-cultural programs that teach K-12 students the skills to learn and retain information, build awareness of their academic strengths and weaknesses, set their academic goals, and determine their own life-path. Dr. Désir is also able to assist graduate students in developing a strategic plan for their academic and future career goals.
Cultural Lecturer and Consultant
Dr. Désir provides lectures on Haitian culture and history, and its influence on American social movements. She presents on the psycho-social and academic development of immigrant and disenfranchised children in schools. Her expertise centers the utility of culture as a tool for self-growth and reflective practice to achieve personal and professional goals. Dr. Désir also provides individual consultations and coaching to students, helping them to integrate healing as a means of self-awareness and set goals. Dr. Désir uses a combination of socio-cultural arts, ritual, and coaching techniques to help students determine any barriers toward personal achievement.
Dr. Charlene Desir received the HGSE Alumni of Color Award 5 March 2011.