The 33rd Annual San Bernardino County Children’s Network Conference will be held Sept. 18 and 19 at the Ontario Convention Center.
The conference is one of the Inland Empire’s premier training events for professionals in the fields of social work, mental health, juvenile justice, child development, child welfare, medicine and nursing and is open to the public. The 2019 conference will feature a number of sessions for professionals who work with children.
Contact Children’s Network at (909) 383-9677 for more information or visit http://hs.sbcounty.gov/CN to register.
“The 33rd Annual Children’s Network Conference will feature two dynamic keynote speakers who experienced the cycle of childhood adversity, including abuse, system involvement, foster care and homelessness. However, both of our keynote speakers had positive reinforcements in their lives that helped them to develop resiliency,” said Janki Patel, Children's Network officer. “It is my hope that our conference attendees walk away from this experience understanding the importance of positivity in the lives of our children and how that can help to develop resiliency. We have over 50 workshops that will be able to provide our service providers with tools and knowledge to better serve our most vulnerable families and children.”
Wednesday’s keynote speaker, Christina Meredith, survived trauma including incest, sexual, mental and emotional abuse. She also overcame aging out of foster care, poverty and homelessness to forge a life committed to helping others. Through strong faith and hard work, she went on to become Miss California, enroll in college, establish her own non-profit foundation and pursue the path to becoming a commissioned officer in the United States Army.
"Meredith’s story celebrates the transformative power of education and the potential within to triumph over adversity," Patel said.
Thursday’s keynote speaker, Mark Anthony Garrett, faced many hardships such as poverty, neglect, homelessness, abandonment and abuse, both physical and sexual. At 14, he lost his adopted mother to cancer, dropped out of school, joined a gang and was in and out of juvenile jail. After receiving guidance from influential mentors, Garrett enrolled in college and majored in wildlife biology and went on to become a two-time U.S. Achievement Academy Award winner, recipient of the National Collegiate Minority Leadership award and other honors.
"This experience inspired him to dedicate his life to helping troubled youth and adults overcome the negative challenges within their own lives and discover that they have greatness within them," Patel said.
The Children's Network of San Bernardino County works to improve the quality of life for children at risk who, because of behavior, abuse, neglect, medical needs, educational assessment and/or detrimental daily living situations, are eligible for services from one or more of the member agencies of the Children's Policy Council.