A Conference at Warren AME Provides Information and Resources for Families

Rev. Mark Williams and Rev. John Jones

By Angie Hayes
The Truth Reporter

Explorers Academy of Science & Technology hosted their inaugural Family Conference on Saturday April 13, 2024 at Warren AME Church, with support for Saving Toledo Families. The event featured keynote speaker Hill Harper, actor, author and congressional candidate.

Several area organizations attended and set up to provide information and resources to the attendees and communicate for anyone’s needs or desires.

The Family Conference held multiple sessions and panel discussions with a large variety of information for family members and supportive methods.

The first session focused on understanding personal self-value and set goals for the future and also to be able to cope with stress and pressure. Information was provided to create and maintain a positive self-image and understand the importance of education. Strategies that are beneficial for stress management were also provided.

The next session provided information to unlock your personal purpose and innovator in you. The best ways to recognize your purpose was the main point and also acknowledgement of the ‘inner’ innovator!

The third session process was to understand the effective parenting tools to support the next generation for positive movement.  The main goals and information was the positivity of parenting and the strategies to support the strength in family. Strengthening the family, the attendees learned, has a great impact and is beneficial for future accomplishments.

The fourth session involved the details of implementing trauma-informed potential. Recognition of trauma for children and a family is important to provide resources to resolve the trauma. To respond to the trauma experienced, the main goals should be to support healing and recovery from the trauma issues. Trauma isn’t gone until addressed so it’s important for awareness.

Hill Harper with Lisa Culp and Bishop Robert Culp

The final session was significant and amazing resources and information provided by the keynote speaker, Hill Harper. He explained the goals and methods to create positivity and support in the family, community and atmosphere.

“We need to know some of them having challenges,” said Rhonda Sewell, the event moderator. “We can step in and help them! I’m tired of seeing young people in Toledo die at the hands of other kids in Toledo. Our kids listen, they’re watching us so we must be in good mode. Trauma…identify what is trauma and what you can do to resolve the trauma.”

“From the ages zero to five, brains are developed, and brain development is critical,” shared panelist Christina Rodriguez, executive director of Mom’s House. “We (parents and adults) have to put the work in. At the age of two years old, your child is learning for self. It’s our responsibility to make sure our kids are stable! Children need to feel safe and loved! For effective parenting, there are four C’s that can be broken down and put a plan together”:

Choices– for children, help them and guide them to let our children’s voices be heard.

Consequences-teach the children what they can do differently for better results.

Consistency-sticking to the correct process.

Compassion-not just for your own children, but compassion for all children.

“Honor, respect and honor the kids! Create an environment or engagement in the home, so they feel safe. When we honor and respect children, it is critical for the children to see the humanity.”

“I’m here for solutions,” said panelist Tina Williams, EdD, director of community engagement at the Area Office on Aging. “Also, a City Council woman is here and very thankful for her to be here, she’s fair. She’s a fair woman and I like that. Also, we have a State Representative here, Josh Williams. Trauma is an experience that devastates them. And how to deal with trauma, we have to have it addressed! Educators need to know how to deal with kids who deal with trauma. Fight for your families! We all should fight for our mother, our kids, uncle, father, and our God Father We live in a battleground, not a playground.”

“The best thing that brought me is prayer. Prayer is the key,” added Rev. Mark Williams

Conference panelists – Rev. Mark Williams, Rhonda Sewell, Darryl Woods, Hill Harper, Christina Rodriguez, Tina Williams, Shane Logan

“Family structure has broken down,” said State Rep. Josh Williams. “Family structure puts a family in church. We’ve got to get back to set the tone for what our family structure is. Highlight the solutions and make sure we teach our kids. Family is the essential bedrock of our community. We got to make sure we understand the importance of family, church and faith. And we have to put those views into our children. Once we do that, we have solutions.”

“I educated myself and became a man with purpose,” said Darryl Woods, Detroit police commissioner. “It is not how you started life; it’s how you finish. I serve, bring help and heal the community. The solution is to wrap your arms around your children. Also make sure children have food to eat, a good bed and a faith-based atmosphere. Make sure the schools in the area are properly resourced. We are the change we’ve been looking for, so we can see the difference now.”

“This is about family. Family is what creates safety,” explained Keynote Speaker Harper. “We are connected, the quality of the education in Toledo. So, we have to understand the connection of family. And understand the impact for the community. Figure out how to help you all. To create a meaningful change. To move something that is not moving, energy will move it. For example, if we want to take on big issues, big energy will make it work so we must work together, for the big energy to resolve issues! To make meaningful changes. If we make a commitment to make a change and connect together, we make a great impact for the world. Together we thrive.”

In addition to the main sessions of the Family Conference, other sessions were established and provided for children in attendance. All the attending children joined the sessions and shared an experience learning personal supportive information. The following statements from the elementary students were voiced after completing their activities and learning experiences:

  • “We acknowledge that our actions impact ourselves.”
  • “We consistently line up our words and actions.”
  • “Curiosity, we are eager to learn and explore.”
  • “We put our best effort into everything we do.”
  • “We know our effort is important for the community to thrive.”
  • “Just like moons and sun, still I rise!”
  • “You may cut me with your eyes, but still like air, I rise!”
  • “Up front the past and pain, I rise!”
  • “I rise, I rise, I rise!”

“This was powerful,” noted Sewell at the conclusion of the Family Conference. “We saw your care and it takes people like you! This panel…you have been so amazing! We’re capable of healing our community.