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United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life.

Learn More

Registration for the 2023 Community Schools Conference to be held in June is now open

April 28, 2023

(Cutline: Headshot of keynote speaker Hasan Davis. Photo: United Way of Southwest Virginia)

Abingdon, VA (April 17, 2023) - Registration is now open for Virginia’s inaugural Community Schools Conference set to take place at the Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va. from 9 am until 4 pm on June 13, 2023.

The conference centers around Community Schools, a nationwide initiative seeking to make public elementary or secondary schools partner with community organizations and use additional staff to meet the educational, physical, and emotional needs of students, their families, and the community.

The Virginia Department of Education awarded over $2.5 million to six school districts in Southwest Virginia in January, naming United Way of Southwest Virginia as the division-level coordinator for the Community Schools initiative. Partners include local school systems, Communities in Schools of Appalachian Highlands, local Community Service Boards, the Department of Criminal Justice, the International Institute for Restorative Practices, the Institute for Educational Leadership, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

“We are excited for the opportunity to be a collaborative partner and the district-level coordinator in the Community Schools framework,” said Travis Staton, President & CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia. “Community Schools allow us to better support children and families in Southwest Virginia and work more upstream of issues, which is something that remains core to our work. We believe this conference will make a sizeable impact on not just the teachers in attendance, but also those students who will benefit from the knowledge and lessons teachers gain.”

The conference will be highlighted by a keynote address from Hasan Davis, a motivational speaker who has been recognized for his professional and personal efforts in serving the needs of youth through his work in education, juvenile justice, and the arts. He is a Rockefeller Foundation, Next Generation Leadership Fellow, a Council of State Governments, Henry Toll Fellow, and an Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children and Family Fellow.

Davis’ keynote, titled “Calling All Hope Dealers! Everyone Has a Story, Every Story Deserves Heroes”, will focus on his experience of often interrupted transitions through education, justice, and social support systems, and will share some of the core strategies and creative thinking that these Hope Dealers deployed to help him find the courage to complete what he calls the “JD shuffle” going from Hasan Davis, Juvenile Delinquent to Hasan Davis, Juris Doctor.

Business leaders, healthcare professionals, faith-based organizations, community partners, local governments, and school systems are invited to participate in the conference.

Registration is now open with special early bird pricing for a limited time. Tickets are $85 through Monday, May 1, 2023, before moving to regular pricing at $100 per ticket. All conference-related materials and lunch are included in the price of admission.

To register for the conference, visit United Way of Southwest Virginia’s website. For more information on the Community Schools initiative, click here.

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