Purpose and Orientation
RiverTides is committed to strengthening the historic role of the civic sector as a seed bed for new, innovative responses to social issues. Our work is integrative and participatory in approach. It is guided by appreciative inquiry and honest dialog, and by the belief that reflection and action are interdependent dimensions of sound policy and wise management. RiverTides supports collaborative action and exchange across diverse communities and fields.
RiverTides’ nonprofit support programs and services are built on an understanding of the skills, commitments and perseverance required to create effective organizations and to manage transformational change successfully. We have extensive experience in the nonprofit sector in executive management; in concept, program and organization development; in strategic planning, and in organization partnerships.
RiverTides’ experiential education and research work are focused on strengthening understanding of the foundational elements of sustainable and healthy communities.
The work of RiverTides responds to the challenges of these times in which climate change and economic disparities, as well as ethnic, religious and cultural differences have become powerful forces pulling at the fabric of society – forces that stress connections among communities and with the natural environment. We see this transformative period in which we live as an opportunity to create new, more sustainable patterns.
RiverTides’ activities are primarily focused in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State.
RiverTides was launched in 2002 as a project of the International Center for Integrative Studies (ICIS). ICIS was founded in 1962 by Erling A. Thunberg to help address the challenges and concerns of many scholars, practitioners, and scientists at the end of the 1950s regarding the future. These concerns included the recognition that tremendous changes were taking place at an accelerating rate in the world – in technology, values and culture, and that there was a need for more integrative approaches across cultures and disciplines to our ways of thinking and our professional practices. The work of ICIS was dedicated to healing the fragmentations of modern life.
In 2014, the headquarters of ICIS in NYC was closed after 52 years of operations and RiverTides became the successor organization. In addition to its other activities, RiverTides participates as an NGO affiliated to the United Nations through the Department of Public Information (DPI). It’s work in the Mid-Hudson Valley continues the integrative orientation of ICIS with a focus on education, community conversations and nonprofit services.
Board of Directors
Rik Flynn, is a retired teacher and resident of Ulster County, NY for nearly forty years. He served as a classroom special education instructor, was an Assistant Director of the Mid-Hudson Teacher Center and an acting director and board member for the Ulster County School-To-Work Partnership. During his tenure as a teacher at Ulster County BOCES, he was also an adjunct professor at SUNY New Paltz for a graduate level special education practicum requirement. Rik served as president of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Ulster County BOCES Teachers’ Organization and was a member of several state and national professional education organizations. He was also a vice-president of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation (HVALF) and officer of the Upper Hudson Area Central Labor Council (UHCLC), AFL-CIO. More recently, Rik was a co-Founder and founding President of UlsterCorps, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening a culture of volunteerism and collaborative action. He currently serves on its board. Rik received a BA from Marist College and MS degree in Education from SUNY, New Paltz.
Laraine Mai, President, has over forty years of hands-on, nonprofit leadership and management experience as a founder, executive, and consultant in the fields of education, youth services, international issues, and interfaith cooperation. This work has encompassed diverse cultures, traditions, and disciplines. She was a cofounder and Director of The Door, a national model for youth development and adolescent services; helped to establish The Interfaith Center of New York and served as its first Executive Director; and designed and directed several innovative youth and adult education programs including: The Learning Laboratory, a research and demonstration project serving youth; Women and Leadership, a retreat program for women; the EdTech Project, an education and consulting program on the creative uses of computer technology in schools; and the Quality of Later Life, a pilot health promotion and civic engagement project for elders. In 2002 she founded RiverTides. She is past President and Chair of the International Center for Integrative Studies.
Moira O’Shea serves as the Director for Programming and Research. Moira taught in international education programs in Russia and Viet Nam and has experience as an educator of both children and adults. During her years in education both domestically and abroad she has worked on curriculum and education program design with a particular focus on the development of critical thinking and literacy skills. As a researcher, Moira has worked on issues ranging from collective memory, culture, and identity, to issues of citizenship, globalization, and civic education. She is currently working on a PhD at the University of Chicago.
Christopher Thunberg, Secretary, is a career development professional with experience in developing and implementing career related programming and services in higher education environments. He is currently Director of Career Services at Yeshiva University, and previously worked at New York University and Purchase College in their career development departments. Christopher also has hands on experience in human resources and recruiting and is a skilled career counselor.
Judy Chaddick serves as the on-site Coordinator in New Mexico for Mustard Seeds. A retired educator, Judy has worked for over 30 years with teachers in staff and curriculum development in under-served schools in northern New Mexico. She recently finished a model curriculum on regional petroglyphs that is being used in several schools in the area. Judy has been awarded the Elementary Science Teacher of the Year for New Mexico and the Earth Science Teacher of the Year for the Southwestern Region. Previously she was Director of the District Gifted Program in the Espanola Public Schools and was formerly their District Science Facilitator. She has also taught a graduate course in Inquiry-Based Science for elementary teachers at Highlands University and a distance science education course for the local community college.