Breakout Session and Presenter Information

The Power of Play Track

Sara Robinson

Region Ten

Beyond Therapy: The Transformative Power of Play

The “Beyond Therapy: The Transformative Power of Play” workshop delves into play’s pivotal role beyond therapy, emphasizing its importance in cognitive, social, and emotional development. It aims to broaden participants’ understanding of play, showcasing its benefits for resilience, creativity, and well-being across all ages. Targeted at educators, therapists, parents, and anyone interested in leveraging play for development, the workshop is grounded in research from Positive Psychology and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Attendees will leave with a deeper appreciation of play as an essential element of human growth and a tool for unlocking potential.

Claire Louge

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona

Creating Epic Community: Using Play to Build Connection

Play is a foundational part of a connected community. Come learn how youth-serving organizations in Arizona are cultivating community for teens and adults through epic role playing adventures. In this workshop, you will get to experience some simple improvisational theater activities that can be used to facilitate reflective discussion and positive experiences with youth and adults. Come be a part of the magic!

Mary Koval

Koval Counseling

Creating Inclusive Environments

This highly interactive simulation game designed to give participants insight regarding power within institutions and society. The exercise increases the awareness of structural influences on behavior and outcomes for marginalized individuals. The goal is to build support and leadership for practices increasing social equity within organizations emphasizing the need for inclusion in decision making, policy creation, and accountability measures.

Rick Griffin

Community Resilience Initiative

Play with a Purpose

This workshop is an overview of a new and inspiring training series about the art and science of group facilitation.  Attendees will learn the neuroscience behind cutting-edge tools and strategies that can transform your educational or leadership practice, ensuring every group interaction you lead is as effective as it is enjoyable.

Cora Taylor

Radford University

Student Athlete’s Passion and Purpose

Have you been involved in the world of athletics and seen the impacts over the last few years on student athletes, specifically around their mental health? How is this connected to who they are as human beings and their performance driven lifestyles of do your best, be the best? How do we connect with our student athletes to help them see they are so much more than who they are as a player, but as a person. Individuals who find their own passion and purpose will use that skill to change the world!

Dr. Kimberly Garza

Roanoke College

Dr. Jonathan McCloud

Roanoke College

Building Resilience Through Free Play: The Vision of PlayLab at Roanoke College

In today’s fast-paced society, children and adolescents (and parents) face unprecedented levels of stress and adversity, leading to a decline in mental, emotional, and physical well-being. PlayLab, an emerging initiative at Roanoke College, proposes a college-based organization that prioritizes play and community-based research that fosters healing and resilience.

The Resilience Research Track

Dr. Dario Longhi

Participatory Research Consulting

Becca O’Connor

Walla Walla Public Schools

Teri Barila

Community Resilience Initiative

Resilience Increases Among Elementary School Students: How Does It Happen?

A unique pre-post study of elementary students in an afterschool program shows significant increases in resilience and school performance in a high-capacity community. Quantitative data show resilience is due to combinations of contextual trusting supports and individual self-regulation, problem-solving skills, hope, and self-concept. Qualitative stories show pathways to resilience based on interviews with staff and student-made videos.

Dr. Wallace Dixon

East Tennessee State University

Dr. Suzette Fromm Reed

National Louis University

Dr. Judith Kent

National Louis University

Building Resilience Networks: Overcoming Obstacles in Sustaining a Truama-Informed Workspace

Trauma- and Resilience-Informed Practices (TRIPs) have become celebrated across public and private service sectors alike. However, progress remains slow, even in fully “bought-in” agencies where resources to underwrite implementation are abundant. In this highly interactive session, we draw on foundational research that informed CRI’s KISS model. We will identify effective agents of cultural change to explore ways to overcome 14 common obstacles to implementing TRIPs.

Hannah Cheever

SRI Education

Dr. Ryoko Yamaguchi

Plus Alpha Research & Consulting

Let’s Get REAL: Resources to Cultivate Resilience, Equity, and Learning in Community Colleges

Join representatives from the Virginia Community College System and the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia to learn about efforts to cultivate resilience, equity, and learning (REAL). Cultivating a REAL organization-wide culture requires understanding how our practices can activate feelings of safety and connection to increase learning. Come to this session to discover research-based, actionable resources to support building a REAL culture.

The General Resilience Track

Michelle Wagaman


Jordan Brooks


Stronger Together: Resilience-Focused Approaches to Preventing Suicide

This workshop is designed to illuminate the pivotal role of community engagement and resilience in combating suicide. It highlights the significance of creating secure environments and fostering open, meaningful conversations in familiar community settings like barbershops and salons as key suicide prevention strategies. By leveraging compelling data, this session showcases the impact of grassroots initiatives and the power of informal community hubs in promoting mental health awareness. This session is an empowering call to action, equipping attendees with practical, evidence-based tools to foster safer communities and support those in distress. It’s a vital convergence of knowledge and action for anyone dedicated to nurturing mental well-being and preventing suicide through collective empowerment and empathetic communication.

Evangeline Weiss

Beyond Conflict, Inc.

Start Drawing: How to Shift Attention in Your Rooms

Attention spans have been reduced to 10 seconds, folks show up to meetings and workshops with their faces in their phones, and people are suffering too many indignities to count! How can we use our time with our colleagues, our students or our clients in ways that will transform our relationships and truly learn together?

Amanda Willett

Rituals for Recovery

Trauma Responsive Mind Body Wellness: Pathways to SEL-F

Many individuals struggle with trauma-related issues affecting their mental and physical well-being, often overlooked in traditional wellness practices. “Trauma-Responsive Mind-Body Wellness: Pathways to SEL-F” offers holistic approaches to address trauma, promoting self-exploration, play and healing. Participants will engage in reflective exercises, somatic practices, and discussions to cultivate self-awareness, emotional regulation, and resilience, fostering a supportive community for collective healing.

Joshua Webner


Building Community Strength and Resilience After Gunfire

An impact report overview of REAL LIFE’s Project Safe, Alive, and Free (Project SAF) within the community of Hopewell, Virginia. Project SAF is a data-supported gun violence intervention program that includes a community resilience support effort. Within the first six months of implementation, Project SAF was able to mark a 71% reduction in incidents of gun violence resulting in injury or death.

Hannah Firdyiwek

Region Ten Community Services Board

Paige DiPirro

Region Ten Community Services Board

It’s Giving Safety and Connection: Making the Science of Resilience Accessible to Youth Audiences

Young people today are facing mental health challenges at alarming rates. As their challenges and needs continue to evolve, there’s a growing demand for psychoeducational content that is both evidence-based and culturally relevant to youth. In this session, we will discuss the development of such content and explore effective ways to communicate the science of resilience to a youth audience.

John Richardson-Lauve

St. Joseph's Villa

Somatic-Based Resilience: The Community Resiliency Model

How do we tap into our body’s natural strength to overcome get through hard times? The Community Resiliency Model (CRM) is an evidenced-based resiliency model that goes through the body to promote regulation. Using a basic set of skills, we can derail our body’s crisis response and find wellness. You can both use and teach the skills presented. Workshop presenter is a certified CRM trainer.

Mackenzie Chitwood

Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare

Bettina Mason

Mason Education Solutions Group, LLC

Be a Resilience Champion

Roanoke Prevention Alliance Resiliency Collective’s 1-hour presentation helps individuals and communities learn how to strengthen resilience in those around them. In this session individuals will learn how to strengthen others resilience in five main categories. The categories include friends, family, community, self, and work.

Claire Louge

Prevent Child Abuse Arizona

What’s Strong with You?

Let’s focus on what’s strong rather than what’s wrong. Participants will learn an overview of the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors Framework, an approach to working with families in a way that builds their strengths as a solution to their challenges. We’ll discuss what it means to work with families in a strength-based way, and come up with ideas for how we can build protective factors through our work.

John Richardson-Lauve


Workforce Resilience – Unpacking Self-Care

Yoga not doing it for you? Need more than a walk around the block? In this workshop we will break down the fundamentals of self-care and empower participants to build their own self-care plan. We will go through three essential steps: self-evaluation, planning and implementation, and sustainability tools for your plan. Participants will leave with actionable tools to use and teach.

Samantha Crockett

Mount Rogers Community Services

Ginny Moorer

Mount Rogers Community Services

C.H.A.T.S. (Connecting Humans and Telling Stories) to Foster Connection Among Diverse Groups

Mental health professionals work hard to educate communities about the impact of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences, but what comes next? This hands-on session aims to provide insights into how Mount Rogers Community Services employs C.H.A.T.S. to increase participants’ sense of connection and belonging by practicing essential skills such as active listening, questioning assumptions, and approaching conversations from diverse perspectives.

Helga Luest

Progress Pollinators

Surviving Extinction – A Roadmap to Personal and Community Resilience

Every year is the new hottest year in recorded history, feeding hot days, severe storms, and climate anxiety. When our policymakers don’t make the needed steps to prevent further warming, it is essential to know how best to adapt and remain resilient. This presentation will outline some of the less-known risks, approaches to adaptation and resilience, and how to cope with the trauma of a changing world.

Rachel Whaley

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

Building Resilience: A Whole-Child Approach

From social media usage, to growing concerns about the news and current events, our kids are facing a lot! And many of them are struggling to cope. Caregivers & adults working with youth are seeing firsthand a rise in children with behavioral and mental health needs. The Strong4Life Resilience Training is designed to address growing needs by helping adults in all personal & professional settings engage in consistent, intentional conversations about emotional development and providing information on making behavioral and mental health referrals. This training also provides resources and materials to empower youth-focused professionals & caregivers to build resilience in their children starting at birth.

Keith Cartwright

Virginia DBHDS

Rebuilding Bonds: Nurturing Connectedness After Trauma

Stephen Porges says, “trauma compromises our ability to engage with others by replacing patterns of connection with patterns of protection.” In this session, we’ll use the Developmental Relationships Framework from the Search Institute to discuss relationship building skills and strategies to promote reconnection in an often disconnected world.

Decca Knight

Family Services of Roanoke Valley and the Roanoke Valley Trauma Informed Community Network

Sarah Harig

Family Service of Roanoke Valley

Community-Based Counseling: an Innovative Model for Accessible Mental Health Care

This session will delve into the critical issues surrounding mental health care access within communities, emphasizing the challenges posed by poor access to services, extensive waitlists, the prevalence of uninsured and underinsured individuals, and the various barriers hindering effective treatment. The session will shed light on these challenges and present an innovative model implemented in communities to address these pressing needs.

Lonney Gregory

iRIZE Performance Consulting

Bias: A Different Type of Four-Letter Word

During a 2016 debate between Hillary Clinton and then-candidate Trump, Mrs. Clinton told Americans they were biased, and America lost its mind! It didn’t go well after that. For most people being accused of being biased is tantamount to being accused of the most hateful crime you can imagine. She was unable to overcome the negative sentiment caused by her accurate yet misapplied statement. The word ‘bias’ has the misfortune of being widely used but with little real understanding. Simply stated bias is a brain function, not a malfunction. This distinction is helpful for the masses and critical for the leader who intentionally or unintentionally deals with the implications of bias daily. Bias is a four-letter word to be embraced not erased. This session explores the meaning and necessity of bias as a brain function, and the implications of bias for the leader. You will be surprised by the simple methods used to address bias in the workplace. We will explore bias mitigation strategies where you will have an opportunity to recognize your susceptibility to certain biases and how bias impacts individual and group-based decision-making. You will understand your feelings, patterns of thought, and decision-making processes relative to your mindset and organizational culture. Because bias is a brain function you will express how to normalize conversations about bias and derive benefit from a common understanding of it. Yes, you will remain biased, but you will feel better about it.

Barbara Gustavson

Discover Next Step

Taming the Hidden Dragons: Navigating the Path to Self-Awareness and Deeper Connections

Explore the ‘dragons’ that can wreak havoc on your happiness, habits and relationships. The concept of dragons was introduced by Dr. Sharon May, Ph.D., and is utilized by Dr. Daniel Amen and Amen Clinics nationwide. You’ll learn the origins, triggers, and strategies to tame these dragons so you can form greater bonds with yourself and those you support.

Andrea Randle

The Compassion Clinic Resource Center

Bouncing Forward

This is a dynamic workshop tailored for individuals in helping professions, focusing on transforming personal adversities into catalysts for growth and resilience. It aims to equip participants with the ability to recognize and harness their experiences as a foundation for professional and personal development. Through interactive discussions, experiential learning, and practical resilience-building strategies, this workshop addresses the challenges of vicarious trauma, providing attendees with the tools to not just recover, but to thrive and progress in their life and career.

Alexis Osborn

The Compassion Clinic Resource Center

Unbreakable Spirits: Resilience Skills Forged Behind Bars by Alexis Osborn

This session explores the transformative power of resilience skills developed within the challenging environment of prisons and their applicability to broader contexts. This presentation will explore the rigorous process through which individuals in incarceration cultivate resilience, a testament to the universal adaptability and effectiveness of these skills. Through compelling narratives and backed by neuroscience, we will demonstrate how these resilience skills, honed in an environment where hope seems distant, can be a beacon of light for anyone facing adversity.

Tia L.R. Hartsock

Office of Wellness and Resilience | Ke Keʻena Kūpaʻa Mauli Ola

Keala Kaopuiki-Santos

Office of Wellness and Resilience | Ke Keʻena Kūpaʻa Mauli Ola

Mobilizing a Community in the Wake of the Maui Wildfires – Developing a Trauma-Informed and Culturally-Responsive Framework

On August 8, 2023, Hawaiʻi experienced one of the worst natural disasters in its history. The Governor immediately deployed his newly created Office of Wellness & Resilience to coordinate the mental health response. The following days and months highlighted the overwhelming need to come together as individuals, as communities and as a state to hold space for challenging conversations to identify unmet needs and systemic barriers. Join Hawaii’s Governor’s Office of Wellness & Resilience to discuss lessons learned and the importance of building community in a crisis.

Kari Kerr

Community Violence Intervention Center

Therese Hugg

Community Violence Intervention Center

Safer Tomorrows Road Map: Shifting From Crisis Work to Ending Violence

Learn how to engage your community with a bold vision. The Safer Tomorrows Road Map is a research-based, collaborative innovation creating a society that no longer tolerates violence. Learn how to use research on Adverse Childhood Experiences to develop a strategic plan that guides the implementation of best practices, evidence-based therapies, and prevention curriculums to shift from crisis intervention to healing and prevention.

Donald D. Toldson, Sr.


Mastering the Art of Communication: It Begins with You

Problem: Fear of public speaking hinders success in a communication-driven world. Solution: Elevate presentation skills with actionable strategies. Activities: Delve into content, delivery, engagement. Craft compelling narratives, master body language, refine vocal delivery. Learn innovative engagement techniques. Gain confidence and practical tools. Suitable for all levels. Walk away with newfound presentation mastery.

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