Department of Counseling and School Psychology graduate assistant, 308.865.8508
“Advocating for Adolescents” is the theme of the Fifth Annual Kent Estes Justice for All Conference to be held on Friday, Feb. 23, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
The conference, which is designed for counselors, teachers and other professionals in the social work field, begins at 8 a.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room.
The event is sponsored by the UNK Department of Counseling and School Psychology, Chi Sigma Iota, the Graduate Association of School Psychologists (GRASP) and the Nebraska Counseling Association (NCA).
According to Adriana Bustamante, graduate assistant for the counseling and school psychology department and coordinator of the Justice for All Conference, the event is designed to increase awareness of the needs that are not being met for a variety of populations.
“Our goal is to educate and empower others to take necessary action,” Bustamante said.
Bustamante said the schedule for the conference will include a keynote speaker session, two breakout sessions and a workshop in advocacy.
Rosa Elizabeth Barrios, a representative of the Board of Immigration Appeals, and Kerri Nazarenus, treasurer of the Grand Island Multicultural Coalition and director of English Language Acquisition for Grand Island Public Schools, are the keynote speakers for the event.
Barrios and Nazarenus will speak about the processes immigrants follow to work legally in the U.S., as well as obtaining citizenship. The keynote speakers will also speak specifically about adolescent immigrants and the challenges they face.
The two breakout sessions will feature Ida Amelis Cruz-Sierra, Patricia Tetreault and Geoff Wright, as well as an Illusion Theater production.
Cruz-Sierra is a graduate student at Creighton University earning her master’s degree in community counseling. Her coursework is focused on researching mental health needs of people with mental retardation.
During her session, Cruz-Sierra will explain how counseling people with mental retardation is not only necessary, but can also be successful Tetreault has been the Sexuality Education Coordinator at the UNL University Health Center since the position was created in 1992. She is also serving as the interim assistant director in Student Involvement for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) programs and services.
During her presentation, Tetreault will speak about the challenges and resources for GLBT adolescents.
Wright is a licensed pharmacist who has worked in retail pharmacy for four years. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Pharmacy, and he has received the Eli Lilly Achievement Award, the Pfizer Non-Prescription Therapy Award and the UNMC Pharmacology Award. For his presentation topic, Wright will talk about the use of psychotropics in
the adolescent population.
Illusion Theater is a professional theater company based in Minneapolis, Minn. In 1993, Lincoln’s “Project TRUST” became the first licensed site of Illusion Theater to be based in a high school setting. TRUST stands for “teaching and reaching using students and theater.”
“Project TRUST” features a cast of eight students who wrote and present the play “Things Are Not Always What They Seem” to help middle school students change the way they think about bullying and its impact on the bully, the bullied and the bystander.
“TRUST stands for ‘Teaching and Reaching Using Students and Theater,’” Bustamante said. “The group uses high school students to create and present plays that educate other students about different issues at their schools. This year, the theme is bullying.”
The workshop for advocacy, titled “What Do I Do With this Information? Advocacy in Action,” will feature UNK professors of counseling and school psychology Drs. Julie Dinsmore and David Hof.
According to Bustamante, Dr. Dinsmore and Dr. Hof will talk about “social justice orientation, advocacy, and the American Counseling Advocacy (ACA) Social Advocacy Intervention Categories and Associated Competencies” during the workshop.
Bustamante said ACA advocacy categories and competencies refer to what counselors should do to support their clients.
After the workshop attendees will identify a need within their service communities and build an advocacy plan that will address the selected issue.
In addition to the sessions and workshop, agencies from across the state will be available during breaks, lunch, and after the conference to inform conference participants about the services they provide.
The Justice for All Conference was created five years ago by Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the UNK chapter of the International Honor Society of Professional Counseling. Two years ago, when Dr. Kent Estes, former chair of the counseling and school psychology department, passed away, CSI changed the event’s name to the “Kent Estes Justice for All Conference.”
To attend the Justice for All Conference, attendees must register by Feb. 20. Registration can be completed by contacting Cel Davis at 308.865.8508. Registration costs, which include lunch, are $30 for UNK students, faculty and staff; $55 for NSPA /NCA / CSI and GRASP members; and $85 for all other attendees.