Alternatives Conference Keynote Lineup Announced

The lineup of Keynote Speakers for the upcoming Alternatives conferencewhich is scheduled for August 18-21 in Boston, is now set!

Here it is:

Friday Night Dinner and Opening >> 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Brenda Vezina: Creating Trauma-Informed Healing Communities – The Six Principles of a Trauma Informed Approach include examples of safety, trustworthiness, empowerment, collaboration and peer support. This keynote will explore the data to connect the audience to the prevalence of trauma, the signs, and the dedication as a healing community to resist causing any further harm.

Saturday Morning >> 8-9:30 am

Cathy Cave: Peer Support and Cultural Attunement – This keynote will link the human qualities of caring, compassion, and empathy to cultural attunement, defined here as “action taken to understand and adapt to another’s values, priorities, and approaches to connection to create relational alignment.” Participants will learn about how the values of peer support – connection, caring, choice, mutuality, empathy, and compassion – create cultural attunement.

Darby Penney: The Lives They Left Behind – This keynote presentation will discuss the ‘Suitcases in the Attic’ project. Using contents of abandoned suitcases from a state hospital attic, this presentation depicts the lives of many people who were in the hospital in all their complexity and individuality.

Erin Levesque: Culture, Community, and Healing – This presentation will discuss the value of having a connection to culture and heritage. This is a story of a Native Alaskan woman who lost connection with her cultural heritage. She will talk about the emotional imact of not being allowed access to her native language or traditional practices.

Sunday Morning Youth Panel >> 8-9:30 am

Emily Sheera Cutler will highlight the importance of self-acceptance and neurodivergent pride.

Danny Kochanowski will offer a valuable discussion on creating more room for extreme emotions and experiences in clinical settings.

Angela Y. Law will talk about cultural barriers and mental health.

Kimberly Marquez-Cortes will share a story of being a second-generation trauma survivor who by chance found herself in a WRAP group run by someone who, like Kimberly, was both young and Latina.

Ryan Tempesco will talk about being an openly transgender young male who also is confronted with mental health challenges.

Jonathan Gibbs will talk about his experiences dealing with bipolar disorder and recovery from drug and alcohol abuse as a teenager.

Monday Morning >> 8-9:30 am

Lynnae Brown: The Role of Forensic Peer Workers in Recovery-Oriented Services – This keynote will discuss racial identity and intentional disclosure in forensic peer support, using personal narrative in powerful ways with clear goals in mind such as: 1) Working with the criminal justice system to introduce trauma-informed ideas; 2) Reframing the incarceration experience as an asset; 3) Inspiring folks in jail/prison that life recovery is possible to reduce recidivism.

Shain Neumeier: LGBTQIA, Autism and Intersectionality – The histories and experiences of the neurodiversity and LGBTQIAP+ communities are intertwined for a number of reasons ranging from gender and sexual identities to the ongoing experiences of trauma. Respect for the identities and recognition of the unique support needs of neurodivergent LGBTQIAP+ people has only recently come into focus. This presentation will discuss both these developments as well as the ongoing challenges facing people belonging to both communities.

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