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Speaking of Children Conference

Speaking of Children is a two-day conference at Embassy Suites Omaha-La Vista Conference Center including phenomenal plenary presentations and breakout sessions for professionals in the fields of law enforcement, social work, medicine, advocacy, education, and mental health.

2023 Conference Agenda

Click here to view a downloadable PDF of the Conference Agenda.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.   Check-In and Continental Breakfast
8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.   Opening Ceremonies and Announcements

Presentation of Colors by Millard South AFJROTC
Star Spangled Banner performed by Millard South Orchestra

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.   Plenary Presentation

Giving Credit Where Credit is Long Past Due: Child and Youth Care Professionals

Speaker: Patrick C. Friman, Ph.D.

This talk will supply an approach to the behavior of all children, and misbehavior of some, derived from the compassionate perspective first introduced into the mainstream of child welfare by Father Edward J Flanagan at the turn of the 20th century. Following the conceptual description of that approach, the talk will supply exemplar applications. The purpose for providing these examples is twofold. First, and quite obviously, it is to supply information that is useful for persons who are working to understand, manage, and or change child behavior. Second, it is to establish the credibility of the speaker. Said credibility is critical because the ultimate purpose of the presentation is to recognize the value, significance, and honor that, although rarely communicated effectively by the culture at large, are intrinsic to the work of professionals whose life work focuses on the welfare of children in general and especially those in need.

Session Category: Plenary
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Describe a view of child misbehavior occurring as a function of circumstances rather than flaws in character, morality, or the psych.
  2. Describe at least two advantages of this circumstantial view.
  3. Discuss the disadvantages of blaming children for problems in their behavior.

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.      Break

Music by Millard South Orchestra

10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.   Breakout Sessions

Healing Our Wounds: A Whole Family Approach to Fostering Resilience

Speaker: Sidney Frye II

Historical trauma is about more than what happened in the past. The cycle of intergenerational trauma significantly contributes to family violence and instability within BIPOC communities today. Learn how taking a whole family, holistic approach can help foster intergenerational healing, and reduce future intrusive system involvement.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Medical, Mental Health


  1. Explain the neurological impact of historical trauma on the body and brain.
  2. Discover healing practices that interrupt negative behavioral cycles stemming from intergenerational trauma transmission.
  3. Translate newfound insights into fostering and developing a more trauma-informed approach, intentionally grounded in empathy.

All in the Family: Lessons Learned from the Strange World of a Child Advocate

Speaker: Dr. Stephen Lazoritz and Dr. Megan Pendley, LICSW

This session will explore the evolution of the field of Child Welfare over the past 40 years as seen through the lens of a family of two generations who have worked in this discipline.

Session Category: Investigation, Treatment, Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Medical, Mental Health


  1. Understand how the case of Mary Ellen Wilson had a profound effect on an entire family and the field of child welfare.
  2. Gain an understanding of how the field of Child Protection has changed and not changed over the past 4 decades.
  3. Gain insight and understanding into what it was like and the impact of being exposed to the discipline of Child Advocacy from a young age.

When Good People Do Nothing - Human Trafficking in Rural Nebraska

Speaker: Investigator Anna Brewer

A case study of State of Nebraska V Billy Quinn, an investigation into sex trafficking in a small town in Nebraska. This presentation will describe how sex trafficking and other violent crimes went unreported for years despite so many people knowing that it existed.

Session Category: Investigation
CEU Type: Legal, Medical, Mental Health


  1. Realize that sex trafficking happens in rural Nebraska.
  2. Recognize the signs of sex trafficking.
  3. Encourage law enforcement partners to believe survivors and act on their statements to hold the offenders accountable.
  4. Promote the collaboration of law enforcement and advocates in sex trafficking cases.

Trauma-Informed Education

Speaker: Dr. Ferial Pearson

Students bring what happens in their lives into the classroom. Traumatic experiences can have impacts on how they learn and interact with peers. Participants will understand how trauma impacts students and articulate strategies to use to best support these students in the school environment. As an educator, Ferial speaks from her lived experience with students and families.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Define trauma and trauma responses.
  2. Identify how trauma manifests in behaviors of children and youth.
  3. Apply strategies to support children and families who have been impacted by trauma.

Youth Fire Setting: System Response and Treatment

Speakers: Sandy Andres, LIMHP, FAE Michael Davenport, and Amy Cirian, LMHP

Participants will hear how a collaborative approach to working with youth fire setters can enhance the outcomes for all stakeholders. Firefighters, forensic interviewers, and mental health therapists can work together to better understand the youth who set fires, who is at risk, their motivations, warning signs, system response, and treatment for youth fire setters. Presenters represent a collaboration between Omaha Fire Department and Project Harmony.

Session Category:Investigation, Treatment, Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Examine the potential motivations of youth who set fires.
  2. State common misconceptions about who is at high risk to set fires and what increases risk for fire setting behavior.
  3. Apply screening and mental health services available in cases of youth who set fires.
  4. Articulate appropriate treatment modalities for youth who set fires.

Forensic Interview Approaches for Technology-Facilitated Crimes

This session is only available in the morning and will not be repeated in the afternoon

Speakers: Julie Kenniston, MSW, LISW and Detective Dave Peifer

Due to the nature of sex offender manipulation, it is crucial for forensic interviewers to understand the methods employed by offenders to gain compliance from children. Interviewers can elicit information that helps law enforcement identify additional victims, items to be searched for and seized, as well as potential interrogation strategies.

Session Category: Investigation
CEU Type: Legal


  1. Name perpetrator behaviors as they relate to child sexual abuse material.
  2. Explain the methods offenders use to entice children.
  3. Apply these concepts to question strategies in child forensic interviews or in other work with children.

11:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.    Break
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.      Keynote Luncheon

Be the Difference: Saying Yes to Belonging is the Key to Unlocking Potential

Speaker: Gaelin Elmore

Belonging is an innate and fundamental need that is pivotal to how we experience relationships, interact with the world, and develop our gifts and talents. Unfortunately, there is a gap in belonging for current and former foster youth. Although trauma plays a large role, it isn’t the only reality widening the gap they experience. A hefty amount of responsibility falls on the system itself. As one of the few places where foster youth are supposed to “belong”, the system consistently falls short.

You are in this work to make a difference and help a vulnerable population overcome their trauma and unleash their potential. In order to give them access to their full potential, we must commit to “Be the Difference” every day. And in order to do that, we must say yes to belonging. But here’s the beauty of belonging; it will also unlock the potential of what we can accomplish through our work. In this talk, I will use lived experience, leading belonging research, and CQI principles to help us all commit to be the difference.

Session Category: Keynote
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Identify problems related to engaging former foster youth in an effective way.
  2. Comprehend the importance of belonging for everyone, especially youth in care.
  3. Utilize the CARE model to effectively engage current/former foster youth.
  4. Be inspired and equipped to be the difference in belonging.

1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.      Break
1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.      Repeat of Morning Breakout Sessions

(one exception below)

Understanding the Dynamics of Suspect and Victim Behaviors in Child Sexual Abuse Material Cases

Replacing “Forensic Interview Approaches for Technology-Facilitated Crimes” morning session

Speakers: Julie Kenniston, MSW, LISW and Detective Dave Peifer

This presentation will discuss the relevance of research regarding child pornography collectors and their propensity to commit acts of child sexual abuse. Examples of the impact of grooming and technology on child victims will be shown and investigative strategies will be offered.

Session Category: Investigation, Treatment
CEU Type: Legal, Mental Health


  1. Define Child Sexual Abuse Material.
  2. Articulate the relationship between those who collect CSAM and those who sexually abuse children.
  3. Apply investigative techniques regarding current technologies used by offenders.

2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.      Break
2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.      Collaboration Sessions

Anyone Can Have a Seat at the Table: Collaborating to Save Lives from Suicide

Speaker: Molly Woodman

In this presentation you will learn how everyone can play a role in saving lives from suicide, and how collaboration strengthens these efforts. From law enforcement, to schools and faith communities, mental health providers, corporations and small businesses, family and friends… everyone should be prioritizing suicide prevention and learning the role you can play in saving lives from suicide.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Identify key stakeholders to invite to the table for suicide prevention initiatives or other similar areas, and how to recruit beyond the “traditional” partners at the table.
  2. List the necessary steps to move beyond conversation to action.
  3. Discover how to become involved in saving lives from suicide in their community or state.

Bridging the Gap: How Community Collaboration is Key to Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Speakers: Ashley Farrens MSN, MBA, RN and Abby Kossow

Violence is a public health disease that is negatively affecting our community. This session will discuss how two programs broke down the silos to intertwine their approaches of building supportive services for individuals who have been victims or perpetrators of violence, to reduce retaliation and recidivism of violent reinjury. Encompass Omaha and Project Reset will share how each program builds protective factors to fight the effects of generational trauma to improve quality of life, create opportunity, and instill hope within their clients.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Understanding the outcomes of ACE’s (adverse childhood experiences) and how to apply intervention efforts to break the cycle of adversity.
  2. Explore opportunities to work with partners in the community to strengthen supportive services for clients and break down silos.
  3. Apply trauma informed approaches and build positive relationships to break the cycle of violence in the community.

Nebraska Community Collaboratives / Thriving Families Safer Children

Speakers: Tanya Gifford, Camas Holder, Mary Pinker, Bobbi Taylor and Elci Warnell

This session highlights how various communities bring together partners across professionals and elevates the voices of families and persons with lived expertise. The collaborative effort and structure needed to create sustainable change with a community-based focus takes strategic vision and planning. The Thriving Families Safer Children initiative provides key take-aways and priorities that support this collaboration. The constant driver of the collaboratives is the cohesive effort of those most proximate to the work with equitable power as the leaders in change.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Medical, Mental Health


  1. Articulate the purpose of the 22 Community Collaboratives across Nebraska.
  2. Explain how and when you would refer people to the community collaborative.
  3. Name strategies you can implement to ensure effective collaboration among community agencies.

The Hope Champions Network

Speakers: Dr. Scott Butler, Javier Castellote, MA and Dr. Kraig J. Lofquist

Research is clear that hope is the number one predictor of future well-being outcomes. High hope individuals are more likely than their lower hope peers to experience a wide range of success outcomes. Research also shows that hope can help mitigate the negative impacts of trauma. Simply stated, hope is the idea that I have a bright future, AND I have some ability to make it happen. Hope is easy to define, easy to measure, and easy to teach and practice. Participants in this session will learn how staff at the Project Harmony Training Institute and Trauma Matters Omaha are working with multiple agencies throughout the community to teach and implement hope science.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health, Medical


  1. Define hope. Measure hope. Articulate how hope science can have a personal impact on their professional roles.
  2. Collaborate with other professionals in their professional scope to coordinate hope building efforts.
  3. State the benefits of collaboration and identify potential obstacles to collaboration.

Collaborative Efforts in Trafficking Prevention and Intervention

Speakers: Alexis Dickerson, Katie Hansen, Ashley Hicks, Candias Jones, Amanda McNeil, Colleen Roth, LMHP and Sergeant Brett Schrage

Child sex trafficking hides in plain sight across all types of communities. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) responded to 10,719 reports of possible child sex trafficking in 2021. Prevention and intervention efforts require multiple community agencies to collaborate effectively. In this session, participants will meet some of the key partners in these efforts within the Greater Omaha area and understand the benefits and challenges of such collaboration.

Session Category: Investigation, Treatment
CEU Type: Mental Health, Medical, Legal


  1. Participants will be able to identify several of the organizations and people leading Omaha’s trafficking and intervention efforts and the role each organization plays in the work.
  2. Participants will understand how agencies in the Greater Omaha community collaborate to combat trafficking. This includes being able to identify the benefits and challenges inherent within the collaboration.
  3. Participants will know how to report concerns related to trafficking to the appropriate agencies.

Juvenile Justice - Myths and Facts

Speaker: Dr. Abby L. Carbaugh, Kim Hawekotte, J.D. and Donna L. Stewart, Ph.D.

Participants will explore the behaviors and needs of our juvenile justice youth, including all elements of the Pathway to Success from prevention/early intervention through youth in detention.

Session Category: Investigation, Treatment,Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Legal


  1. Compare and contrast the behaviors and needs of youth in the juvenile justice system with those of children in the child welfare system.
  2. Discover how a collaborative approach to working with youth in the juvenile justice system and their families can enhance the outcomes for all stakeholders.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.   Continental Breakfast
8:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.    Announcements

Star Spangled Banner performed by Millard South Orchestra

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.   Plenary Presentation

Emerging Trends in Online Sexual Exploitation and the Latest Tools & Strategies You Can Use to Protect Children Online

Speaker: Susan Kennedy

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has served as the country’s central resource for missing and exploited children since 1984. NCMEC’s unique vantage point and data informs the need for developing innovative and age-appropriate child safety resources that address the evolving needs of children. This session will share the latest trends and data concerning the sexual exploitation of children facilitated by technology as well as cutting-edge resources, tools, and best practice strategies that professionals can use in their own communities to keep kids safer online.

Session Category: Plenary
CEU Type: Legal, Mental Health


  1. Identify the latest trends concerning the sexual exploitation of children via technology.
  2. Employ best practice strategies to be used to keep children safer online.
  3. Use NCMEC resources in their ongoing work with youth and families.

9:30 a.m. – 9:45 p.m.      Break
9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.   Breakout Sessions

Addressing the Stigma of Male Victimization

Speakers: Jake Hedden and Aubrey Yost

Despite the fact that 1 in 6 men will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime, male victims are largely misunderstood, overlooked, and underrepresented. Myths and stigmas surrounding male victims are still circulated as fact, resources remain scarce or unattainable, and the research presented is becoming dated. It is time to openly address the stigma and better serve this population.

Session Category: Treatment
CEU Type: Medical, Mental Health


  1. Identify key research and factors.
  2. Recognize the impact on victims.
  3. Uncover shortcomings of research and funding.
  4. Discuss current resources.
  5. Understand how to support male victims.

Care in Full Color

Speaker: Sharon Stoolman, MD

With so much discussion of bias and care how do we approach and care for families in full color, with their heritage and culture in mind, but without prejudice or discrimination. Is being color blind the answer?

Session Category: Treatment, Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Medical


  1. Explore the concept of being color blind with regard to race or ethnicity.
  2. Look inward at our own unintended biases and evaluate ways to undo these ideas.
  3. Embrace seeing our patients for their whole being, as a part of a culture and community.

Family Secrets: An Intrafamilial Sexual Abuse Case Study

Speakers: Lieutenant Tara Ackerson, Lana Connor, Detective Shannon Knuth, Amanda Kuszak, MSW, PLMHP, Jose Rojas and Jessica Tippery, MSN, APRN-NP, CPNP-PC, SANE-A, SANE-P

Cases involving intrafamilial abuse present unique challenges to the investigation process and often involve multiple victims. In this session, participants will hear from law enforcement, Children and Family Services, and Child Advocacy Center partners as they share their experience working a case with such dynamics. As their journey is shared, the importance of collaboration and the steps taken to overcome the challenges encountered during the investigation will be revealed. The lessons learned by these investigative partners offer guidance and potential solutions to other organizations facing similar challenges.

Session Category: Investigation
CEU Type: Legal


  1. Identify the unique challenges presented in cases of intrafamilial abuse.
  2. Understand the importance of a collaborative investigation process.
  3. Apply strategies to overcome challenges in the collaborative process.

Meeting the Needs of Young Children in the Child Welfare System

This session is only available in the morning and will not be repeated in the afternoon

Speakers: Elizabeth Straham and Machaela Hackendahl

This training will provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of the Child Welfare System on children under 5. You will gain a better understanding of the effect that trauma has on children and the resources that are available to assist children. You will also discover the importance of attachment and the different stages of attachment that children go through during their development. Finally, you will be given resources and next steps for how to help the children and parents that are entrusted to your care.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Describe the effects that trauma has on children in the welfare system.
  2. Discover resources that are available to assist children, covering a wide variety of issues.
  3. Recognize the importance of attachment in a child’s early development.

“I Hate Your Face”

Speakers: Detective Lisa Horton and Detective Jeff Shelbourn

In our presentation we will show the correlation between child trauma, being a State Ward, a runaway and Human Trafficking. We will present a look into Law Enforcements engagement with Trafficking Victims/Survivors, and how children from the street find security and trust in Law Enforcement. We will share the Victims pain and frustration with “The System”, and their perspective on what changes need to be made to save the next child.

Session Category: Investigation
CEU Type: Legal


  1. Understand your role in victims’ behavior.
  2. Create thoughts toward different approaches for these victims.
  3. Create awareness of commitment to victims.

When Love Isn't Enough: Exploring the Violent Collision of Race, History, and Policy in American Indian Transracial Adoption

Speaker: Susan Devan Harness

Historical events and policies, designed to break up American Indian families and communities, have left pain and suffering in their wake. Child placement professionals, as well as prospective and adoptive parents, are unaware of how the structures that exist in our society are anti-Indian at their roots; these are the same structures that transracially adopted children attempt to navigate far beyond childhood. It is important for everyone involved in child welfare placement consider activities and interactions that support the child’s American Indian cultural and social identity, while at the same time supporting first families and the continuation of American Indian families and cultures.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Legal, Mental Health


  1. Understand how historical anti-Indian policies and perceptions are directly tied to contemporary U.S. culture.
  2. Explore the complexities of American Indian identity and challenges living in white communities.
  3. Learn the importance of creating plans with adoptive parents that support the child’s identity, while supporting American Indian families and communities.

Erase the Gap: Choosing Belonging to Unleash Potential

Speaker: Gaelin Elmore

The deepest desire for every foster youth can be simplified into two categories: 1. To be back with the people they believe they belong with (their family). Or 2. To find a family, place, or group of people to which they belong. We must start with understanding belonging to create a space where youth can find belonging. Only then can we focus on implementing. In this breakout, while continuing off the CARE model, we will work to obtain a baseline understanding of belonging and begin brainstorming ways to implement belonging for youth in care. Through large and small group discussions, activities, and stories, walk away from this breakout with a fresh perspective and ways to create belonging for the youth you encounter.

Session Category: Investigation, Treatment, Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Obtain a baseline understanding of belonging.
  2. Brainstorm ways to implement belonging for youth in care.
  3. Grapple with the deep desire of every foster youth to have a family, place, or group to which they belong.

Supporting & Celebrating LGBTQ+ Youth

Speaker: Joni Watke, J.D.

The presentation educates about how the components of a person’s biology, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation compose one’s sexuality. Attendees will become culturally competent with the multitude of identities of the LGBTQ+ community. Attendees will learn how to make practical changes/improvements in their language and steps to improve their allyship to more competently interact with the LGBTQ+ community, including in their report writing and other written communication in their professions.

Session Category: Investigation, Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Legal, Mental Health, Medical


  1. Compare and contrast the components of biology, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation continuums.
  2. Explain the different identities related to one’s gender identity or gender expression.
  3. Integrate inclusive language in reports and other written documentation in professional settings.
  4. Make practical changes in language to better serve the LGBTQ+ community.
  5. Articulate one’s allyship to the LGBTQ+ community.

Everything Professionals Need to Know about NCMEC

This session is only available in the morning and will not be repeated in the afternoon

Speaker: Tina Bigdeli

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children offers a wide array of resources to support professionals in their work. We offer free turn-key prevention resources, to our training programs offered both online and in-person, to specialized support for investigators, technical assistance for prosecutors, peer support available to parents and caregivers, and much more! In addition to sharing information about these services, we will discuss recent trends that have informed new materials and services available to you to leverage in your work.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Identify at least three services for helping professionals available from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
  2. Explain new trends in online exploitation and identify 2 prevention resources that can be used to address online safety.
  3. Articulate what type of incidents can and should be reported to the National Center Missing and Exploited Children and how NCMEC can support professionals, victims, and parents/caregivers as appropriate for each type of incident.

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.      Lunch (on your own)
11:10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.     Optional Lunch & Learn

Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic

The film Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic is an investigation into the world of online grooming and sextortion—a present-day reality for one in seven children online. By unsealing the federal case of a top-gun pilot with hundreds of victims, and interviewing survivors and their parents, this true-crime piece exposes an often-overlooked crime against children, the tactics of online predators, and the voices of parents and law enforcement poised to stop online child exploitation in its tracks. Learn more.

12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.      Repeat of Morning Breakout Sessions

(two exceptions below)

Religious Diversity in Context: Case Studies in Mental Health

Replacing “Meeting the Needs of Young Children in the Child Welfare System” morning session

Speaker: Jeremy Fricke

For people of faith, trauma is perceived through a lens of religious identity. Recognizing that religious identity is a lens and supporting young people through trauma requires us to know common areas of contention as well as opportunities for healing in religious communities. Research has shown the faith and connection to a faith community is a protective factor for youth that can assist them as they work through challenges. In this presentation, participants will examine keys ways that faith plays a role in the lives of young people. Participants will examine examples from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish communities. The session will include a case study for participants to discuss.

Session Category: Treatment
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Examine key ways that faith plays a role in the lives of young people.
  2. Practice the use of strategies through participation in a case study.
  3. Articulate how faith can help to support young people as they work through trauma.

Prevention & Self-Generated Content: Effective Messages for Children & Teenagers

Replacing “Everything Professionals Need to Know about NCMEC” morning session

Speaker: Susan Kennedy

At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children we see reports that include self-generated content depicting children of all ages. Investigating these types of cases is hard enough, but how can we prevent a crime when the victim is the one creating the images used to exploit him/her? This workshop will include an interactive discussion to better understand these behaviors in children and adolescents using a developmental perspective. We will discuss how to apply a trauma-informed approach to tailoring prevention messages toward specific age groups about self-generated imagery. We will also share free resources that can be used in your community to address issues of self-generated content with children from kindergarten to twelfth grade.

Session Category: Prevention & Early Intervention
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Identify and access at least three resources available online to address self-generated content with elementary, middle, or high school audiences.
  2. Explain why targeting sexting prevention messaging to potential “requesters” and “re-sharers” instead of just on teenagers thinking of creating and sending those messages is more trauma-informed.
  3. Articulate why it is important to address self-generated content in prevention programs and messaging with young children, not just tweens and teens.

1:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.      Break
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.      Plenary Presentation

Be the One

Speaker: Tanisha Lewis

As individuals, each of us has opportunities to make a positive impact in the life of a child. Tanisha pulls upon her lived experience to help us all better understand the power of relationships. She reminds us all that our role is more than just a job; it’s an opportunity to connect in meaningful ways with children and families.

Session Category: Plenary
CEU Type: Mental Health


  1. Effectively engage those with adverse childhood experiences.
  2. Implement strategies to inspire hope in those who have experienced trauma.
  3. Demonstrate how one positive relationship can help heal the soul.

Cost to attend the conference is $300. The deadline to register is April 7. Please contact with questions about the conference.

Register for the Conference

Traveling from out of town?

Check out for restaurants, hotels and things to do in Omaha.

We wish to thank you for your hospitality and the wonderful program and tour of Project Harmony. We are so fortunate to have an organization acting on the behalf of our children with such outstanding enthusiasm and dedication.

- Rotary Club of Omaha Northwest

Thank you so much for coming to Children’s and speaking to our staff. Your talk on “Understanding Poverty” was excellent, and I could see “wheels turning” as some staff members commented on simple ways their interactions might make a difference for children and parents.

- Patty Carrell, CMSW

I have felt that my input has been highly valued and respected when it comes to doing my job, and that is something that speaks volumes to the working environment here at Project Harmony.

- Brenda Jewell

We began collaborating with the Project Harmony through their Connections program last year, and we’ve continued the partnership. Connections represents an extremely valuable partnership and an opportunity to provide our students with a bridge to mental health services.

- Papillion La Vista Community Schools

Our experience and partnership with Project Harmony/Connections has been fantastic! It is a comfort knowing we have a partner who can connect our students and families with the appropriate resources in times of crisis or trauma.

- Millard Public Schools

This shadowing experience actually made me very interested in this field. One aspect that helped me narrow my choice of careers is the environment that Project Harmony had. It was very upbeat, cheerful and bright.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Project Harmony for planning and delivering professional development to our 70 counselors, social workers and community counselors. We feel fortunate to have such a valuable resource in our community to partner with.

- Millard Public Schools

You have a top rate program – really national quality. I’m totally impressed.

- Lisa Fontes

At our last D2 Center Board meeting, I was describing the training and professional development we provide for our staff. At the top of the list was Project Harmony. Please know that you are providing an invaluable service to nonprofits in our community.

- Greg Emmel

Congratulations on the great media coverage of your Stewards class at Project Harmony on WOWT. You did a great job articulating the importance of prevention, and Susan was amazing too. Thank you so much for your partnership and all the important work you are doing.

- Cindy McElhinney – Darkness to Light

Just wanted to know that you made a difference in my life, and I will be using that momentum to make a difference in the lives of others. You are truly a rock star and a role model for me. Thank you for a new life I’m getting the chance to live.

- Anonymous

Many children through my caseload have received a backpack generously donated to the Project Harmony Triage Center. I have witnessed many faces light up when given the opportunity to pick out a new backpack, and I am very grateful for the generosity of the Junior League.

- DHHS – Children & Family Services

I have never felt as valued at other organizations like I do at Project Harmony. I really feel that the culture of a working environment is incredibly important. If an employee feels respected, valued and supported, that person will likely give more to fulfill the mission.

- Javier Castellote

Nick and Javier were great teachers and role players. It gave us an opportunity to see how someone in that situation would have reacted to our questions. They did a great job at showing us the difference between sympathy and empathy.

- Anonymous

I was able to shadow Mr. Nick Zadina. He was in charge of dealing with abused kids and help them. I am thankful to know all the information I learned during shadowing because it was eye opening.

- UNMC High School Alliance Program – Student Journal

The experience at Project Harmony was a deepening reminder of empathy that will be vital in my career as a nurse. I felt my perspective was widened on how others think, especially when discussing the assumptions we make.

- Anonymous

I didn’t know how many people work at Project Harmony, so I drew a lot to show how much Project Harmony means to me!

- Project Harmony Client

As difficult as a removal is on a child, the backpack they receive at Project Harmony provides a sense of belonging and hope. It truly is amazing something that seems so simple can change the perspective and shine light on these children.

- DHHS – Children & Family Services

Great leadership for a wonderful cause with outstanding long-term goals. Keep on doing all the good you do.

- Bill & Jean O’Conner

Project Harmony is the reason I started my journey in college. I just finished my associates and I'm going for my bachelors now in Child Protection and Juvenile Justice. Y'all helped my daughter back in early 2013 and I knew what I wanted to do with my life — help children.

- LaLa Ann

A young lady who works in our field told me that she loved what we do here at Project Harmony — she had been to Project Harmony seven years ago for a forensic interview. She said her positive experience was the biggest reason she is doing the work that she is today.

- Trainee

I found out that my foster son is going to have a forensic interview here at Project Harmony soon. It’s been interesting being on the other side of things and feeling so reassured that the child I care so deeply about is in very caring and capable hands.

- Jessica Kroeker

Nick demonstrated how one person could impact a huge group of student nurses by just attending his presentation. He gave me the reason, the courage to act, and the knowledge how to save victims that I will face in my future nursing career.

- Anonymous

I recently attended the Testifying Training course. Since that class I have been subpoenaed three times, and I had to testify at each hearing. Without this class I would have been less than prepared and too nervous to be credible. Thank you so much!

- Jenny Lewis

You are part of the solution.

The cycle of abuse does not have to continue, but we can’t end it alone. Anyone has the power to be someone who makes our community a safe place for all children.

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