Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA, began her career at Vista del Mar in Los Angeles. There, she developed expertise in child and adolescent development and infant and early childhood mental health, while strengthening her resolve to support families. She has trained and participated in research studies with Yale’s Minding the Baby, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and Child Trauma Research Program. In 2015 she was named Mujer Legendaria de Ford for quality in her field. She is the parenting expert for Telemundo’s national morning show Un Nuevo Dia. As part of her commitment to helping all families, she is a member of the Florida Maternal Mental Health Steering Committee and MomsRising, a national grassroots organization lobbying for children and family rights in Washington, DC. She brings this expertise to her work at her center, Stop Parenting Alone, and to all the organizations who rely on her expertise and consultation on development and parenting issues
I was raised in Miami from the age of seven. Miami is in my personality in more than one way. I am bicultural. I am energetic. I am multi-faceted. Miami is all of these things and more. I was able to take the best aspects of being Colombian, growing up in a primarily Cuban environment and the strength and the individuality that is the American experience. I like to say I got to go to the buffet of Colombian, Cuban, and American values and pick those that best suited me. Where else in the country can you do that? I spent 16 years in Los Angeles, and five years ago decided to come home. I did this primarily to provide this rich cultural experience to my kids, but also to bring what I learned in Los Angeles about families, children and mental health/development to the community that shaped me.
As a community we often forget that social justice and social change lives in our homes – in our children. Families can make a difference in how the world is formed and changed. I fill the information void parents encounter when having their children. It has always been my experience that when a parent has the right information, they always make the best choices for their children. Parents tend to believe that they have to go at it alone and believe that asking for help is weakness or failure. My work through my center and with all the organizations who rely on my expertise and consultation on development and parenting issues, is about being the person who brings knowledge and understanding of how parenting is a daily opportunity to raise a citizen of the world.
Give parents, teachers, and organizations that work with children and families the information they need on development, mental health, and relationship building, to make sure that we are making the best choices to help families and children meet their optimal position. When you understand development, parenting gets easier. You don’t need to be a perfect parent or teacher. You just need to know what to do.