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The 33rd Annual Children’s Network Conference will take place on
Wednesday, September 18th and Thursday, September 19th, 2019
at the Ontario Convention Center.
 
This annual conference has dynamic keynote speakers, pertinent workshop topics, and an exhibit hall filled with a variety of resources and products.
 
Every year, Children’s Network provides an opportunity for professionals to enhance their knowledge through a wide array of workshops concerning children, youth and families. The conference aims to advance knowledge and practice standards of professionals in the fields of social work, mental health, juvenile justice, child development, child welfare, medicine, and nursing.
Participants will have many opportunities to:
 
     * Learn from local leaders
     * Be inspired by outstanding keynote speakers
     * Network with professionals in the field
     * Share ideas and knowledge
     * Grow professionally
     * And…make a difference!
 
Workshop Items
 
 
This year’s Keynote Speakers are:
 
September 18, 2019:
 
Luis Rodriguez Picture.jpg

Empowering others with her inspiring life story, Christina Meredith survived sexual, mental and emotional abuse, incest, trauma, 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, found her own nonprofit foundation, and pursue the path to becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. As told in her book, CinderGirl: My Journey Out of the Ashes to a Life of Hope (now under development to become a major motion picture) and during appearances on the Today Show and before speaking audiences nationwide, Christina’s story celebrates the transformative power of education, and the potential within all of us triumph over adversity. "My entire story is about hope, faith, hard work, achieving the dream and the purpose that you have been given in this life, and not allowing things to deter you, because circumstances change," she says. "With hard work and a little faith, you can make them change."
 
One of ten children born to a mother that suffered from both mental illness and substance use disorder, Christina endured years of traumatic abuse. This included sexual abuse by an uncle and constant physical and psychological abuse by her mother, who locked her in a closet for days at a time. By the time Christina was in high school, the cumulative effects of longterm trauma had made it nearly impossible to learn. "The teachers and junior ROTC program at Allen D. Nease High School in St. Augustine, Florida literally saved my life," says Christina. "It really took a village." Faculty brought her food, provided extra tutoring, and paid the fees for her to participate in sports. Once Christina finally revealed her situation at home, they also worked to get her into foster care. After graduation and aging out of foster care at 18, Christina lost her supportive foundation. She headed for California, living in her car for almost a year while working three jobs to survive. Praying every day, she relied on the power of her strong Christian faith. Christina caught the eye of a pageant recruiter who encouraged her to compete for Miss California. She won. Since then, Christina has used her platform to advocate for abused children all over the country. She also founded The Christina Meredith Foundation, which will advocate for foster youth to ensure that they receive basic necessities, health care, trauma care, and education. Christina currently serves in the U.S. Army and is earning her bachelors in political
 
One Gateway Center, Suite 751 | Newton, MA 02458 | Phone: 617.614.1600 | Fax: 617.965.6610 | apbspeakers.com
science with a focus on foreign affairs. She will commission December, 2019 and plans to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves. Determined to change the way America handles foster youth, Christina travels the country as a foster care activist and mental health advocate. She is committed to helping others heal the deep wounds of trauma. Christina has shared her inspiring story and mission with thousands, speaking to audiences ranging from universities to churches to business groups. With faith, fortitude and a fierce commitment to never giving up, Christina encourages all of us to look within, overcome any obstacle, and ultimately, find the strength to achieve our highest goals and dreams.
 
 
 
September 19, 2019:
 
 Jaiya JOhn Picture.jpg

Mark  Anthony  Garrett  grew  up  in  the  tough  inner  city  of  Dayton,  Ohio  as  a   foster  child  and  was  then  later  adopted.  Throughout  his  childhood  he  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.    
 
Although  his  surroundings  were  negative,  Mark  was  encouraged  by  his  third   grade  special  education  teacher  to  never  give  up  on  life  and  to  always  strive  for   excellence.  He  knew  he  had  to  take  destiny  into  his  on  hands.  After  receiving   guidance  from  influential  mentors,  Mark  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  received  the  highest  honors  given  by  his  college,  which  were  the  President   and  Trustee  award.    
 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.  Mark  is  extremely  passionate  about  helping   raise  the  mental  consciousness  of  people  all  over  the  world.    
 For  over  20  years  Mark  Anthony  Garrett  has  worked  as  a  Top  Level  Consultant,   Master  Trainer  and  Professional  Speaker  for  various  businesses,  child  welfare   agencies,  education  associations  and  K-­12  school  systems.    He  had  motivated   audiences  through  his  electrifying  speeches,  training  and  transformational   seminars.  Mark  is  a  leading  expert  within  the  Child  Welfare  and  K-­12  educational   industry  on  such  topics  as  Teacher  Leadership,  Cultural  Pedagogy,  Staff   Retention,  Motivational  Empowerment,  Leadership,  Service  Excellence,   Overcoming  Adversity,  Youth  Empowerment,  Building  Relationships  and   Maximizing  Human  Potential.       He  is  best  known  for  his  premium  professionalism,  high-­energy  programs,   humor,  enthusiasm  and  the  ability  to  captivate  audiences  of  all  types.  He  has   contributed  and  published  articles  for  various  newspapers  and  publications   around  the  country  and  was  recently  featured  as  a  celebrity  expert  in  Forbes   Magazine.       Mark  is  a  leading  columnist  for  Fostering  Family  Today  Magazine  and  the   author  of  Teachers  Are  Heroes  -­  7  Success  Principles  For  Transformational   Teaching.  Marks  story  and  Teachers  Are  Heroes  message  has  been  featured   on  ABC,  NBC,  CBS  &  FOX  networks  and  affiliates.      
 

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