Empowering Future Generations: UNK’s Child Welfare Conference to highlight youth connections

Gaelin Elmore is the featured speaker for the upcoming Child Welfare Conference, scheduled for April 4 at UNK. (Courtesy photo)
Gaelin Elmore is the featured speaker for the upcoming Child Welfare Conference, scheduled for April 4 at UNK. (Courtesy photo)

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney will examine initiatives aimed at improving child welfare and youth empowerment at its 2024 Child Welfare Conference.

The April 4 event at the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room is free and open to the public. It will focus on “Empowering Youth Connections,” bringing together professionals, students and community members to address critical issues in child welfare. It is hosted by UNK’s Social Work Department.

The conference will feature Gaelin Elmore, a motivational speaker known for his work with organizations and individuals dedicated to supporting youth through trauma and unlocking their potential. A former NFL player, foster youth and survivor of homelessness and abuse, Elmore’s keynote will emphasize the importance of belonging and provide attendees with research-based strategies for fostering relationships with youth.

Following the keynote, Elmore will lead the “Erase the Gap” workshop, engaging participants in active discussions and strategies to improve youth work.

Additionally, the conference will spotlight the Connected Youth Initiative with presentations by Crystal Aldmeyer, vice president of the Connected Youth Initiative at the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation; Keenan Page, associate vice president of Youth and Families Economic Well Being, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation; Carissa Kollath, director of CYI Services, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation; and Felipe Longoria-Shinn, CEO of Central Plains Center for Services.

This segment will delve into Nebraska’s Statewide Prevention System and explore strength-based practices and coaching techniques aimed at empowering young people.

The conference concludes with a special session for students, offering a unique opportunity for direct engagement and questions with Elmore.

Professionals interested in attending should email grahamks@unk.edu to register, request a parking pass, obtain continuing education units information or inquire about virtual attendance options.

Schedule Highlights
  • 8 to 8:30 a.m. – Registration
  • 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. – Keynote address by Gaelin Elmore – “Be the Difference”
  • 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. – “Erase the Gap” workshop with Elmore
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Connected Youth Initiative: Going Towards Strength-Based Support
  • 12:30 to 1 p.m. – Lunch (on your own)
  • 1 to 2 p.m. – Student session and Q&A with Elmore (students only)