Building assets in children is not a project or program. It is a journey that should take place during the developmental years (ages 0-20) of all children.
Great Kids of Allen County 


Safe schools and healthy students 

This presentation will explore:

  • The magnitude of the problem of violent crime in the US and worldwide and the threat to our schools.
  • The role of the media in enabling the current worldwide “virus” of violent crime.
  • Immediate measures that can be taken to make our schools safer.
  • Key new resources to reduce violence and bullying and increase test scores. 

Speaker: Lt. Col. David Grossman 


From Surviving to Thriving

New research on what youth need to thrive and how schools, communities, and families can be galvanized to relevantly engage youth in meeting these needs. This talk remixes empirical evidence with experience both from Roberto's personal story along with his 15 years of experience working with transforming communities nationally. Empowered with research and motivated with stories of transformation, this keynote will help participants unlock new strategies to the thriving of youth and the flourishing of community. 

Speaker: Roberto Rivera 



A message of inspiration and motivation, Rev. Wyatt uses experiences captured in stories designed to recognize and energize youth workers—those on the leading edge of program/youth development (sacred and secular), policy formation, concerned civic leaders, parents and other helping adults working with or on behalf of youth seeking and/or in need of additional assets. 

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt  



Safe schools and healthy students

A continuation of the discussion from Lt. Col. Grossman's keynote presentation, this workshop will address the effect of violent crime on our schools, the factors that all school killers have in common, and the role of media violence as a new factor contributing to this phenomenon.  Powerful new data demonstrating the actual impact of media violence upon the brain (Indiana University Brain Scan Study) and a powerful new study demonstrating a significant reduction in violence and bullying through media reduction in children (the Stanford SMART Curriculum) will also be discussed.

Facilitator: Lt. Col. David Grossman 


Hip-Hop(E):  Activating Hope in Adolescent Youth in Ways that Bridge Hip-hop Culture with Social and Emotional Learning and Civic Activism.

Hip-hop Culture is a global phenomenon, that has engaged youth in profound ways using arts and culture. In this workshop participants will learn how Hip-hop Culture embodies best practices in youth development and social emotional learning, and will be provided with the pedagogical and practical examples to engaging adolescents in transformative ways that lead to academic and social success.

Facilitator: Roberto Rivera 



This interactive workshop is rooted in capturing lessons and stories from caring adults entering the lives of young people at a various turning points of their lives. The workshop participants will move from the personal to the general as it relates to resiliency theory, second chances and asset building.

Facilitator: Alfonso Wyatt


Facilitator: Alfonso Wyatt



Motivational Interviewing: Working with Adolescents Who Don't Want to Work with You! 

This session will address the many issues surrounding human motivation and increasing client cooperation to youth & family services.  

  • Why and how do people change?
  • What does Motivational Interviewing offer the field of Youth Services? 
  • What can staff do to increase a person’s readiness to change? 

We've spent 40 years studying the science of “falling down” – join this workshop to learn about the emerging science of how people “get up.”  

Facilitator: Michael D. Clark 


3 things to Know about Child Sexual Abuse:   Know the Stats, Know the Effects and Know There’s Hope for Recovery

This workshop will walk participants through:

  • the most recent statistics regarding sexual violence and explore many “myths” surrounding sexual assault. 
  • the long and lasting effects sexual violence has on a victim’s life. 
  • the hope that recovery is possible. 

The workshop will address 4 identified stages of the healing progress—-victim, survivor, thrivor & overcomer, and offer instruction on best practices and other necessary elements needed in an effective recovery program. 

Facilitator: Kelly Vates 


Trauma Informed Care and Practices


The trauma informed care mandate coming from both grieving and traumatized children today is to spend time in their world, a sensory world without language, to see what they actually see when they look at themselves, others, and the world as a result of what they have experienced. From their perspective, if we cannot see what they see, feel what they feel, and think what they think about themselves, others and their world how can we possibly know what matters most in their efforts to remain resilient and flourish despite the troubling and traumatic situations they experience? The strategies presented approach healing within the parameters of the more recent findings regarding the neuroscience of trauma and resilience of those who are exposed to significant losses or trauma as well as what children, when given the opportunity, tell us matters the most to their healing, recovery and resilience.

 Facilitator: William Steele 




24th Annual Conference on Youth Logo


24th Annual Conference on Youth 

Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013

Allen County War Memorial Coliseum

Registration fee of $35 includes:

All Keynotes and Workshops

Service Provider Fair and Bookstore

Continental Breakfast and Buffet Lunch


The Annual Conference on Youth

is funded in part by a grant from

Foellinger Foundation



Interested in participating in the Service Provider Fair?



Keynote Speakers/Workshop Leaders:


 David GrossmanLieutenant Colonel David Grossman

U. S. Army (Ret.) 

     Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman is one of the world’s leading experts on interpersonal aggression and violence.  He was a West Point Psychology Professor and an Army ranger.  His books include the Pulitzer nominate, “On Killing:  The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society” and “Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill:  A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence.”   Colonel Grossman was a trainer of health professionals, police, and first responders after the school shootings in:  Jonesboro, Arkansas; Springfield, Oregon; Littleton, Colorado; West Nickel Mines Amish School, Pennsylvania; and Virginia Tech.  He has also presented his findings to over 20 colleges and universities in North America and Europe; was invited to present to the annual conventions of the AMA, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association, and was called as an expert witness and consultant in the Timothy McVeigh, Oklahoma City bombing case and the Paducah school shooting case.  He has testified before US Senate and House committees and eight different state legislatures, and his research has been cited by the President of the United States in a national address.

 Roberto Rivera, MEd Roberto Rivera

Roberto Rivera is an artist, educator, and change agent who specializes in applying best practices in engaging youth using practical and relevant methods. He is also the President and Lead Change Agent of The Good Life Organization. Roberto Rivera received his undergraduate degree at UW-Madison where he created his own major entitled “Social Change, Youth Culture and the Arts”. He received his masters degree at UIC in Youth Development with a focus on Social Justice, Urban Education, and Hip-hop. He currently is the President and Lead Change Agent of the Good Life Org., an organization that publishes multi-media educational tools  and trains educators, youth workers, and parents in connecting positive youth development to community development. His experience in working in the field of community-based popular education over the last decade have won him awards from former president Bill Clinton, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, and others. Despite these accolades, Roberto sees his work as giving back, since being labeled “at-risk” and “disadvantaged” as a teen himself, his relationships with key educators and youth workers helped him to turn his life around. Roberto’s presentations are unique in that they not only include scientific based research, but that they also include his own story of transforming from a dope dealer to a hope dealer, to incorporating stories from his work with communities around the nation. His unique ability to code-switch from sharing research and data to stories and poems leaves audiences standing with enlightened minds and moved hearts.  Roberto speaks on behalf of Search Institute.



Alfonso WyattRev. Alfonso Wyatt, D Min

Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, in his role as public theologian, has traveled around the world and throughout the United States bringing a message of hope and light to audiences in and out of the secular world. A former high school teacher and administrator, Dr. Wyatt has mentored three generations of adults—many who are now in leadership positions in government, the faith community and private sector. He has developed innovative programs for challenged youth in community-based organizations, juvenile detention facilities, group homes/residential treatment, gangs, public schools and churches. He is nationally recognized for his youth leadership development and mentoring honed at The Valley, Inc.  Dr. Wyatt consults with government, faith based organizations, colleges, foundations, civic groups and public schools.Dr. Wyatt attended Howard University, Columbia Teacher’s College, The Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy, Columbia Institute for Nonprofit Management and received his D.Min from New York Theological Seminary where he has served as an adjunct professor, adviser to the President; and presently, a Trustee. Dr. Wyatt is a founding Board member of The Harlem Children's Zone Promise Academy charter school.Dr. Wyatt is co-author, with his wife of 37 years, Ouida Wyatt, of "Soul Be Free Poems Prose & Prayers." His second book is "Mentoring From The Inside Out: Healing Boys Transforming Men." He is retired Vice President of the Fund for the City of New York and founder of Strategic Destiny: Designing Futures Through Faith and Facts. Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt is an ordained elder on the ministerial staff of The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York.

Workshop Leaders:


Ron Skidmore Ron Skidmore, MA, M.Div., LPC, CAADC   

Ron is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Advanced Addictions Counselor in private practice at Third Coast Counseling Center LLC in Grand Rapids, MI.  He is a registered member of MINT, the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and is a Training Associate with the Center for Strength-Based Strategies in Mason, MI.Recent trainings and presentations in Motivational Interviewing have included a year of coaching a team at Arbor Circle in Grand Rapids, Michigan whose work was focused on 18-24 years olds who were showing symptoms of early mental health or substance abuse problems.  He has also done Motivational Interviewing trainings or presentations  for the Mecosta County Medical Center in Big Rapids, Mary Free Bed Hospital in Grand Rapids and behavioral health classes for medical residents at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.  For the past three years Ron has provided Motivational Interviewing training for Arbor Circle in Grand Rapids, offering both basic and advanced training for counselors and social work professionals working in a wide variety of individual, group, family and home-based settings.



Kelly Vates

Ms. Vates is co-founder & Executive Director of  Fair Haven Center for Women (a recovery and transitional living facility for women who have experienced sexual, emotional and/or physical abuse) and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.  Ms. Vates is a trained sexual assault advocate and national speaker and trainer on sexual assault.   Ms. Vates is the author of "Shattered Innocence:  A Revealing Story of Sexual Abuse, Its Aftermath and Recovery."




William Steele, PsyD, MSW, MA 

Dr. William Steele founded the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC) in 1990 following twenty years of assisting children and families in crisis. Dr. Steele has assisted survivors following such tragedies as the Gulf War, the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma, 9/11 in New York, Washington DC and Virginia, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, numerous acts of deadly violence in school settings and the day-to-day traumatizing of children that rarely receives national media attention. He has trained well over 60,000 professionals and has had numerous publications in such journals and periodicals as the School Social Work Journal, Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, National Social Sciences, Reclaiming Children and Youth, Child and Family Professional and USA Today. He has also contributed numerous chapters about working with traumatized children for such publications as Understanding Mass Violence, Handbook of Art Therapy and Critical Incidents in Counseling Children. His most recent publications "Trauma Informed Practices with Children and Adolescents" and "Working with Grieving and Traumatized Children and Adolescents: Discovering What Matters Most Through Evidence-Based, Sensory Interventions" speaks to his experience and knowledge in the field of trauma. He also developed Structured Sensory Interventions for Traumatized Children, Adolescents and Parents (SITCAP®), a series of intervention programs which are registered on the California Clearinghouse of Evidence-based Practices and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Agency’s Registry of Evidence-based Practices.




Conference Schedule  


Registration and Continental Breakfast



Welcome--Judge Charles F. Pratt



Keynote--Lt. Col. David Grossman



Morning Workshops



Keynote--Roberto Rivera





Keynote--Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt



Afternoon Workshops

4:15-4:30 pm

CEU sign-out 

Speaker publications will be available for purchase and speakers will be available for book signing throughout the day. The Service Provider Fair will be open throughout the day in the Expo Hall.


CEUs Available for Conference Attendees: 

Continuing Education Units are available for those holding an LCSW, LMHC, LMFT or LSW

license. (Some other licensing boards may also accept Conference on Youth CEUs--please check with your licensing board before registering for CEUs.) You may receive 6 CEUs for attending the Annual Conference on Youth.  Please indicate on your registration form (or during online registration) that you would like CEUs.  The fee is $8.  You must sign in to the conference by 8:15 am and sign out after 4:15 pm to qualify.  No partial credit will be given.