Plenary Speaker: Nicole Bromley
Nicole Braddock Bromley is a survivor of child sexual abuse and an international advocate on sexual abuse and exploitation. She has authored 4 books, produced 2 films and is co-host of the OneVOICE Podcast. In 2012, Nicole went undercover to the brothels of Cambodia, where she met with child sex slaves and helped them tell their stories for an international film project. In 2014, she founded a non-profit OneVOICE4freedom that stops child sex slavery around the world through prevention education and care for the world’s most vulnerable children and families. In 2020, Nicole launched UNLEASH, an 8-week e-course for healing from sexual abuse along with a live online support community for survivors, and she leads their weekly meetings. For 22 years, Nicole has traveled extensively as a voice of awareness, prevention, hope and healing to some of the most vulnerable populations around the world, as well as to some of the most prestigious universities, companies and conferences.
A Survivor Mosaic: Breaking the Silence and Putting the Pieces Together
Session Description: Nicole’s inspiring child sexual abuse survivor story paints a picture of what life can look like after trauma. The effects of abuse are overwhelming, but with the right responses and resources, we can paint a better world for children. Nicole illuminates “hidden heroes” along her journey, reminding us that even the most broken pieces can be put back together to make something whole and beautiful.
Awards Luncheon Keynote Speaker: TBD
Session Description: TBD
Speaker Name: Kaitlyn Eberhardt
Kaitlyn Eberhardt: The Prevention Strategist at Texas Advocacy Project, a non-profit organization providing free legal and social services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, and child abuse. Kaitlyn travels across the state to facilitate conversations on best practices and strategies in responding to the unique needs of power-based abuse victims. She provides training to a wide variety of professionals and organizations related to the criminal justice system, with a focus on dating violence prevention in teen populations. Kaitlyn has worked directly with survivors within the agency to provide crisis intervention, safety planning, and resource referrals. She serves on task forces, community planning groups, and committees that focus on ending domestic violence and sexual assault and bringing survivors to safety.
See Something, Say Something: Recognizing & Responding to Teen Trafficking Victim
Session Description: This presentation will discuss why teen victims of human trafficking have many unique needs when compared to victims of other forms of power-based abuse. This workshop will take a deep dive into the dynamics of sex and labor trafficking in teen populations, as well as social and legal remedies for survivors. Social media strategies will be covered.
Speaker Name: Veronica Lowenberg, Tally Jorn, LMSW, Colleen Rud MSW, Tina Fleet LMSW, Bryn Stonehouse LCSW
Veronica Lowenberg joined the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT) in 2019 as the West Texas Regional Advisor after working with the El Paso Center for Children’s Specialized Foster Care Program. Veronica, who graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Religious Studies, has over 25 years of experience working with child protective services, juvenile probation departments and TDFPS licensed operations. Veronica is a certified CSE-IT trainer. Veronica’s passion for children and families stems from growing up in a large family – and raising one of her own.
Tally Jorn: With the belief that we’re better when we work together, Tally has served as the Partnership Manager at Allies Against Slavery since 2021. She works alongside partners across the state to build community, support their success, and ultimately bring about lasting change for survivors of exploitation. Prior to her work at Allies, Tally most recently convened community leaders and champions for early childhood education at The DoSeum, San Antonio’s Children’s Museum, as their Corporate Partnership and Events Manager. She brings a history of evidence-based study and trauma-informed research to the team, with a Masters of Social Work from The University of Texas. Her experience working with survivors of trauma and exploitation as a frontline social worker in emergency departments, experience as an anti-trafficking trainer across Central Texas, and passion for helping partners achieve their goals through collaboration and teamwork guide Tally on the road to success with partners.
Colleen Rud: Raised in a small town in West Central Wisconsin and graduated from Eleva-Strum High School. She went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Social Science from Ashford University and she currently has a Master of Social Work degree from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Colleen is a nationally certified victim advocate, who has spent the last roughly 20 plus years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector. Colleen currently works as a Human Trafficking Case Management Advocate with Regional Victim Crisis Center. She is also the co-coordinator for the Big Country Human Trafficking Coalition. Colleen has a passion for serving those who often don’t feel they have a voice and has spent many years serving the homeless and victims of crimes. If you ask Colleen about her philosophy in working with those who seek victim services, Colleen shared a quote from Mother Teresa “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Colleen and her husband, Richard have been married for 31 years and currently reside in Hawley. They have 6 children and 7 grandchildren. Colleen enjoys spending time with her family in her free time. I have a ton of presentations that I have done over the course of the past two years. It would be a lot to list for all the schools, churches, Region 14, 2 Ingage, Lions Club, Kiwana’s Club. I have also co-presented with Darrin Cox in San Marcos on August 30, 2022, for TEHCY Program Summit
Tina Fleet-McGuire, Lead Social Worker with Abilene Independent School District (AISD). Tina obtained a bachelor’s of applied science and master’s of social work from Abilene Christian University. She is currently working on clinical hours with students in the school district. Serving for 16 years in higher education, Tina joined AISD in 2019 to create the Student and Family Support Services department. She leads a team of five social workers who facilitate social services within a district of 14,500 students. This team partners with local mental health agencies, community funding resources, and area faith-based groups to facilitate services to remove barriers for students access to education. Tina serves on multiple committees within the district and community related to safety and security, and foster care. Her passion is the safety for all students, staff, and families. Since 2019, as a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer, she has provided mental health training to district staff. In coordination with the West Texas Regional Advisor for the Governor’s Child Sex Trafficking Team, Tina secured a memo of understanding to utilize the CSE-IT Screener in 2021 in partnership with Allies Against Slavery to address potential trafficking in Abilene, Texas
Bryn Stonehouse: Bryn Stonehouse is a school social worker with Abilene Independent School District. Bryn obtained her bachelor’s and master’s of social work from Abilene Christian University. She also completed her clinical licensure while working as a trauma therapist at Regional Victim Crisis Center, a local agency supporting victims of violent crime. Bryn served as the Big Country Human Trafficking Coalition Coordinator from 2018-2021 and a Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth Advocate from 2019-2022. She is Trauma Focused CBT certified and EMDR trained. Bryn continues to serve as a member of the Education and Child Welfare Working Group for the Big Country Human Trafficking Coalition and as a certified CSE-IT trainer. She is currently attending Southern Methodist University to obtain a Certificate in Spiritual Direction.
A Collaborative Approach to Sex Trafficking Screening: Utilization of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation Identification Tool (CSE-IT) in the Education Setting
Session Description: This session will overview the collaborative approach between the Texas Governor’s Office, Allies Against Slavery, Abilene ISD, and local agencies to support students at high risk for sex trafficking.
Speaker Name: Dr. John Davis
Session Description: TBD
Speaker Names: Lauren Cantrell, LMSW; Noreen White, LBSW; Austin Alexander, PT, DPT, PhD (c); Lindsey Stawarczik, OTR, Kara Collins, CCC-SLP
Lauren Cantrell: The Director of Field Education and full-time Assistant Professor of Social Work at Hardin-Simmons University Born and raised in Abilene, Texas, she is a Christian wife and mother to a seven-year-old son. Lauren is a Licensed Master’s Social Work (LMSW ) and she is currently completing a doctoral program in Leadership in Higher Education and will graduate in May 2023. She has worked in administrative social work capacities in the medical field, as a case manager, and director of social services for the geriatric population for most of her career prior to higher education. She specializes in trauma and grief care, and dementia and behavioral health. Lauren is currently completing her dissertation on the Incorporation of Servant Leadership in the Field Pedagogy in Social Work Education.
Noreen White: The Program Director at Betty Hardwick ECI. A native of Evanston, Illinois, this enthusiastic Christian wife, and mother of three sons moved to Texas in the late 1980’s. She began her professional career in the Abilene area as a social worker in 1990. She has worked with young children and families as a service coordinator, case manager, child development center director, Early Intervention Specialist, and an administrator. This year she celebrates 24 collective years of service with Early Childhood Intervention. Noreen is a licensed social worker (LBSW) and holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Abilene Christian University. Hobbies include collecting rabbit art, cooking soul food, gospel singing, and cuddling with her new baby granddaughter.
Austin Alexander is a licensed physical therapist with a clinical focus in pediatric physical therapy. His teaching and research background is directed in anatomy education and early childhood intervention. Research interests include use of technology to enhance learning, gold standards in anatomy education, anatomic variation influence on function, and environmental influences on developmental delay in the pediatric population. Clinically, he works as a pediatric physical therapist dedicated to patient centered care and has clinical experience in a variety of settings, including inpatient rehab, acute care, neonatal intensive care unit, home health, early childhood intervention, and outpatient rehabilitation. He was recognized in 2018 by Betty Hardwick Center as the provider of the year. He is married to his wife Kelsey. They have four children Hank, Parker, MillieKate, and BrantleyJo.
Lindsey Stawarczik is an occupational therapist for the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program at Betty Hardwick Center. Lindsey loves empowering parents and caregivers to help their children reach goals and developmental milestones to improve their daily life. She has worked for ECI for 7 years and is the mentor of the early intervention specialists in the center. Lindsey has provided multiple training to community partners and taken students from surrounding universities to help prepare upcoming occupational therapy practitioners. Lindsey enjoys camping and traveling with her husband and two children.
Kara Collins is a speech language pathologist for the Early Childhood Intervention program at Betty Hardwick Center, working to help infants, toddlers and their families develop and succeed. She has been with Betty Hardwick Center for 11 years and is the mentor for the other SLPs in the organization. She has provided training to her colleagues as well as daycares in Abilene and the surrounding area regarding language development and how ECI can work in partnership with them to address the growing language and development needs of infants in toddlers. Kara lives with her husband and two children and when not attending numerous extracurricular events for her kids, she enjoys reading and traveling.
Building Better Brain Foundations (Ethics Credit)
Session Description: In this session early intervention professionals will discuss the effects of Positive and Negative experiences on brain development in young children. We will review Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and their effect on learning and the development of reasoning skills that could ultimately lead to mental illness, incarceration, and anti-social behavior in adulthood. Participants will learn the combination of supportive relationships, adaptive skill building, and positive experiences that can help young children build Resilient Foundations to cope with circumstances of negative experiences and severe stress. Following this presentation, Dr. Lauren Cantrell, Ed.D.,LMSW will moderate a panel discussion featuring: Austin Alexander, PT,DPT, Lindsey Stawarczik, OTR, Kara Collins, CCC- SLP, Noreen White, LBSW. Participants who attend this session can win a brand-new toy or learning activity designed to enhance and support early development.
Speaker Name: Carl Leake
Session Description: TBD
Speaker Name: Crystal Leake
Building Resiliency in Youth
Session Description: TBD
Speaker Name: Detective Richard Perez
Detective R. Perez joined the Abilene Police Department in 2015. Detective Perez was a part of the Patrol Division before becoming a Cyber Crimes Detective in 2020. Detective Perez is currently a Task Force Officer with Homeland Security Investigations. Detective Perez has investigated numerous cases of child pornography and online solicitation.
Multi-faceted approach to an investigation
Session Description: A case study into a sexual predator that began with a through narcotics investigation.
Speaker Name: Brody Powell, LPC
Brody Powell: After 10 years doing 10,000+ counseling hours in agency work, Brody Powell has recently gone into private practice with a heart to “care for caregivers.” He sees the opportunity in the ripple effect that caregivers have: if we take care of the caregivers, it is like watering the grass instead of constantly having to put out fires. When parents, teachers, case workers, and medical professionals are well, children under their care tend to be well. Brody also has two Master’s degrees, one of which is in Family Ministry, and he understands the needs of family system from heart, mind, body, spirit, and relationship with others..
Caregiver 2.0: Ethics of Self-Care and Wellness for those who put others’ needs above their own – (ETHICS CREDITS)
Session Description: Caregivers tend to be the worst care receivers. We often exemplify selflessness to the point of being less of our own selves. We will upgrade you to become a Caregiver 2.0 with actionable and practical steps to evaluate and repair your individual umbrella of wellness; to beat exhaustion and burnout with self-sustainability.
Speaker Name: Carl and Crystal Leake
Session Description: TBD
Speaker Name: Jay Strong
Jay T. Strong: A Police Officer for the City of Merkel Texas. He has served as the Chief of Police for the City of Tye, Merkel ISD School Resource Officer and Criminal Investigations Detective for the Nolan County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to his civilian law enforcement career, Jay served in the United States Air Force for 21 years. During his Air Force Career, Jay was recognized as Outstanding Young Man of America, AF First Sergeant of the Year, 8th Air Force Lance P. Sijan Senior Enlisted Leadership Award to name a few. Jay is recognized as a local expert in human trafficking and has been lauded for his efforts in the Big Country. Noteworthy achievements include establishing a 501c3 charity, Operation Brown Bag, serving disadvantaged children and senior citizens in the Big Country. This community program afforded his team the opportunity to engage with children where they live, providing for their personal needs resulting in a decrease in CPS cases over a five-year period. During his tenure in Tye, his department garnered National Recognition as the 2021 Axon RISE Agency of the Year for making great strides in building up their community. He was named the 2018 Kiwanis First Responder of the Year, Masons Community Builder Award and KTXS Hometown Hero. Jay has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology/Criminal Justice from Arizona State University. He shares his passion for community service with his wife, Dr. Debra Notturno-Strong. They have two adult children, four grandchildren and 12 dogs.
Session Description: TBD
Speaker Name: Jessica Siegfried, LPC, LMFT; Heather Storey
Jessica Siegfried: graduated from Hardin-Simmons University with a Master’s in Family Ministry, Clinical Counseling and Family and Marriage Therapy. I started another Master program at ACU for Conflict Resolution. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). My area of most experience and knowledge is trauma. I have done private practice, in-home family support services, and worked at a detention center with a focus on generational trauma, neglect, physical and sexual abuse. In this new role, my goal is to bridge the gap between mental health and its stigma. My vision for my career has always been to help individuals and families find hope and healing in seemingly arduous situations. I deeply understand that difficult life experiences often steal so much from individuals and my goal is to provide information to help them find their path to restoration and hope.
Heather Storey: has been working in the Crisis Unit for over five years. She used to be the only Crisis team staff member for several years and has recently expanded staff personnel. She is passionate about serving the community and walking along side people on their journey out of crisis and if needed into a support system.
Connecting Communities with the Local Mental Health Authority
Session Description: Betty Hardwick Center is the Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority for Callahan, Jones, Shackelford, Stephens, and Taylor Counties. Our services include outpatient mental health services for children and adults. We will dive into what these services look like during and after a crisis. Free Mental Health Wellness community support information will be provided.
Speaker Names: Hilda McClure, Dr. Leticia Cavazos, LCSW, and Elizabeth Jurado, MSW
Hilda McClure: holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from the Dallas Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Dallas Baptist University. She is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Associate, specializing in working with children, adolescents and young adults. Hilda is also a trained EMDR therapist, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner in training, and a trauma-focused bilingual counselor.
Dr. Leti Cavazos: holds a Doctor of Social Work degree from the University of Tennessee with an emphasis in Clinical Practice and Leadership. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her research study was entitled, “Assessing the Characteristics of Male Victims of Domestic Violence Experiencing Homelessness.” Her work has led her to create several successful programs including building the foundation for the first male domestic violence shelter in Texas.
Marianismo and Machismo and the Perpetuation of Violence in the Hispanic Community
Session Description: This workshop will dive into the Hispanic cultural distinctives of marianismo and machismo in Hispanic culture and how these values can perpetuate violence within family systems, especially towards women and children. We go into detail about cultural distinctives and how the cultural stigma about speaking out can actually keep victims in cycles of abuse.
Speaker Name: Ashley McNally, MSW; Angie Cross
Ashley McNally: Ashley received her Bachelor degree in Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice from Hardin-Simmons University and a Masters degree in Advanced Leadership Practice of Social Work through Texas State University. Ashley has been with the Department for 8 years and served as an adoption specialist, mentor, FBSS intern, a liaison to Hendrick Medical Center and
the Abilene Police Department, and an investigator in Taylor County’s CAC/Specialized Unit. Ashley is currently serving as an Alternative Response Supervisor in Abilene. Ashley provides trainings within the community to various agencies and schools about CPI/CPS and Community Based Care. Prior to coming to the Department, Ashley worked as a victim advocate at the Noah
Project. While at Noah Project, Ashley helped develop a curriculum for educating female victims of violence while they were incarcerated at the Taylor County Jail through a four-week program. Through her work with the Department and Noah Project, Ashley has developed many strong relationships with community partners and stakeholders in Taylor County and several other
counties in Region 2. These relationships and her engagement with families ensures that she is utilizing every resource available to better serve the families that are involved with CPI.
Angie Cross: Angie received a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences from Arizona State University. Angie has been with DFPS for 15 years. During her time with the Department, she has mentored new workers and supervisors. Angie is passionate about training and developing staff through education, support, and encouragement. Angie is a member of the Peer Support Team, providing emotional support to DFPS employees who are navigating through difficult situations in their professional or personal life.
Child Protective Investigations: The Role We Play
Session Description: There are many agencies whose roles are understood, but there seems to be an increasing gray area in not only what Child Protective Investigations does but what role the agency plays in the lives of children and families once they become involved.
Speaker Name: Darrin Cox
Darrin Cox: Graduated with a BSW in 1989 from Abilene Christian University. In 1988 he began his work career as a Juvenile Probation Officer at the Juvenile Probation Department of Taylor County. During his internship he was hired to begin the Intensive Supervision Probation Program and worked for Taylor County until 1993 where he first became employed by Abilene Independent School District as a Truant Officer for over 20 years. He worked several years developing their attendance program to help bring up AISD’S attendance overall. He also coached softball at the varsity level at Abilene high for 14 years during his tenure at Abilene Independent School District. Feeling almost to the point of burn out he was able to take a new job as the Homeless /Foster Care Liaison for AISD where he is presently employed. In his second year as the homeless liaison Darrin has started helping students with all their needs from socks, underwear, shoes and clothes. One of his main goals this year was to bring awareness of the high number of homeless students identified in the Abilene Independent School District. Another goal is to make Abilene Independent School District a very welcoming school district to those in need. Darrin has been successful with putting together a clothing closet, school supplies closet and meeting his goal of getting the word out across the community of Abilene. He has helped to buy a washer and dryer for all schools to help our students. He has almost helped to bring Care 4 Kids a weekend food program for the food insecure in AISD.
Walking on that Bridge
Session Description: This presentation will discuss how to change a job position into a strong program.
Speaker Name: Cindy Frazier
Cindy Frazier: Cindy has been with the Abilene Recovery Council for 4 years, but has been working for the benefit of children for more than 12 years. She currently holds a Certified Prevention Specialist certification, she worked for almost 4 years as the Data Coordinator collecting data for the 30 regions of Region 2 and writing the Regional Needs Assessment, in Sept. of 2023 she accepted the position as the Program Director for the Prevention Resource Center, and the Community Coalition Partnership along with the COVID-19 federal funding program. She has a passion for preventing substance use and misuse in our youth and our community, along with partnering with other agencies to work along side them to educate and provide services for our communities.
Counterfeit drugs in our communities, and how Fentanyl is taking the lives of our youth.
Session Description: Presentation will cover counterfeit drugs, overdose deaths, fentanyl poisoning along with signs of use. Will include current overdoses in our county and surrounding counties, how to start a conversation with your youth and how to use Narcan in the case of an overdose.