AmeriCorps VISTA Chrissy Hicks Supports Forward March Conference in North Carolina December 14, 2012Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
The third annual Forward March Conference was held on October 18 and 19 in Fayetteville, N.C. Designed to empower the “helping professionals” that support military children and families, the Forward March Conference highlighted pressing topics like post-deployment difficulties, child and family issues and mental health treatments to alleviate these stresses.
Chrissy Hicks, an AmeriCorps VISTA member assigned to Give an Hour through the ALA Call to Service Corps, was closely involved in the conference. As a member of the Living in the New Normal (LINN) Committee – a group of Community Blueprint members, Blue Star Family representatives and local military spouses – Hicks played a key role in the planning, execution and overall success of the event. She also helped recruit speakers and tackle logistical challenges that arose during preparations for the conference.
“It was amazing,” said Hicks, who is a military spouse. “I really didn’t know how much [the Forward March Conference] would pertain to me.”
More than 250 people attended the event; the majority of whom were helping professionals – psychologists, social workers, substance abuse professionals, case managers, therapists, teachers, human service and behavioral health professionals and clergy.
Fifty-nine speakers were also in attendance, including Major General John Graham, who discussed overcoming behavioral health stigma; Dr. Harold Kudler, an Associate Clinical Professor at Duke University, who discussed the ways PTSD can impact the community; Give an Hour President and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year, Barbara van Dahlen, who spoke about the Community Blueprint; and many more. Breakout sessions were also held to facilitate discussion and networking among the attendees.
Nearly forty of the 250 attendees pledged their support to the Community Blueprint as a result of the Conference, and all left more knowledgeable, more engaged and more capable of supporting military families.