SPRINGFIELD — The Center for Human Development (CHD) invites members of the social-work, counseling, human-services, and education communities, as well as the general public, to attend its 15th annual “Through Her Eyes” conference taking place on Friday, Oct. 25 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
Each year, the conference focuses on issues affecting the health, development, opportunities, and success of girls and young women, especially those from at-risk backgrounds. This year’s theme is “Everyone at the Table,” and the conference will focus on providing tools and knowledge for a wide range of people to make positive contributions to the long-term wellness of girls and women.
“Every member of our society has a role to play in girls’ journey to healthy and happy adulthood,” said John Roberson, vice president of Children and Family Services for CHD. “We’ve put together a day of learning and discussion that will lay the groundwork for real, positive change in our society.”
The keynote speaker is Nikki Bell, founder and CEO of Living in Freedom Together, a survivor-led organization in Worcester supporting people who have overcome commercial sexual exploitation, which provides services sensitive to the needs of this vulnerable and marginalized population.
“Most women in the sex trade have experienced significant trauma as children; most have been involved in prostitution before they were even old enough to consent to sex,” Bell said.
The conference will include presentation of awards to notable contributors in the area of women’s and girls’ health, as well as a lunchtime presentation by Peter Sylver, a supervisor in CHD’s Adolescent Re-entry program, who is also an attorney. Sylver will provide a first-hand account of the successful implementation of Positive Youth Development in partnership with one of the young women who has been successful in his program.
“Through Her Eyes” will also include 21 workshops covering a variety of topics in the mental-health, counseling, human services, and women’s issues and leadership areas, presented by experts from across the region.
Major sponsors include Cambridge College, the office of Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, HUB International, St. Germain Investment Management, AAFCPAs, NAI Plotkin, USI Insurance Services, Bay Path University, ServiceFirst, Unemployment Tax Control Associates, and Baystate Health.
The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes breakfast and lunch. For more information or to register, visit chd.org or call (413) 439-2105.