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Junior League to Host 2017 Poverty Conference at LeTourneau University


The Junior League of Longview will host the 2017 Poverty Conference featuring keynote speaker Liz Murray on Tuesday, August 22 from 8 a.m. to noon at the LeTourneau University Belcher Center, 2100 S. Mobberly Avenue in Longview. Tickets are still available and may be purchased online for $25 at www.thepovertyconference.org, or online at www.BelcherCenter.com, or by calling the Belcher Center at (903) 233-3080.

The Poverty Conference is designed for educators, community volunteers, nonprofit staff and board members, church leaders and the business community to listen and learn while engaging in relevant discussions about poverty in East Texas and opportunities to collaborate and alleviate numerous issues.

Keynote Speaker Liz Murray is the author of the New York Times bestselling "Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard." Lifetime Television produced an Emmy-nominated movie about Murray's life story entitled "Homeless to Harvard." She is the recipient of the White House "Project's Role Model Award" and Oprah Winfrey's first-ever "Chutzpah Award."

Liz Murray will present Homeless to Harvard: An Unlikely Turn of Events in the morning to the general assembly during which she will share her personal story, address the life-changing intervention of secondary educators and highlight lessons learned from her unique experience.

The keynote will be followed by a Community Panel discussion moderated by Carlton Mitchell of LeTourneau University. Panelists include Patti Albright (Bridges Out of Poverty's aha! Process), Shamir Davis (Thrive 360), Holly Fuller (Partners in Prevention), Kelly Hall (Longview Chamber of Commerce), Patrick Johnson (JSTAAR Ministries), Bryan Partee (Boys & Girls Club) and David Ummel (Buckner International). Patti Albright, education consultant with Dr. Ruby Payne's aha! Process, will then present information and strategies related to assisting students and families living in poverty.

The Poverty Conference will provide continuing education credit for educators as well as licensed counselors and social workers.

A number of East Texas businesses and community organizations offered their generous support: Buckner International (Champion Sponsor), LeTourneau University, Christus Good Shepherd Health Center and Citizens National Bank (Advocate Sponsors), Texas Bank & Trust, Leadership Longview and the Longview Chamber of Commerce (Partner Sponsors).

The first Poverty Conference was held in October 2013 through the leadership of LeTourneau professor Dr. John Feezell and a collaboration the Greater Longview United Way, Partners in Prevention, Region 7 and the Workforce Commission. Several Junior League of Longview members attended this one-day conference led by national poverty expert Ruby Payne. In 2015, the Junior League and a host of community partners decided to hold an annual conference and brought Geoffrey Canada to Longview to present The Crisis Facing Youth: What We Can Do to Save Our Children and Revitalize Our Community. The 2016 Keynote speaker was Wes Moore, author of "The Other Wes Moore," who presented on the topic What Makes the Difference for our Youth?

The Junior League of Longview is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Their goal is to enrich our community by devoting resources to positively impacting the welfare of all people in the East Texas area, with focus areas in poverty and literacy.

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