2019 Rural Summit for Childhood Success 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

7:30 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
One Partnership Circle, Abingdon, VA 24210


The Rural Summit for Childhood Success will convene leaders from across the Commonwealth of Virginia to learn 1) how systems to lead to childhood success have been adversely impacted by substance abuse and 2) best practices for professionals in rural settings to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), trauma, resiliency in children, families and child-serving systems.


Substance abuse in rural Virginia has a disproportionate impact on systems that serve children and their families, particularly the early childhood system, which also includes health care, social services, educational settings, employers, law enforcement, the court system, and policy makers.  There is also need for workforce in rural communities to be provided with services to enable them to gain and keep employment while in recovery to include wrap around services to ensure worker success, which include a case worker, drug-free housing, as well as safe, quality early childcare for their children.


The event will build a common agenda and align partners to address childhood success by aligning resources that will allow children and families to build resiliency in rural areas in Virginia.

Who should attend

School superintendents, health districts, community action agencies, community services boards, departments of social services, local government leaders, non-profit organizations, health care systems, human resources professionals, and executive leadership should plan to attend.



Dr. Daniel Carey
Dr. Daniel CareySecretary of Health and Human Resources
Daniel Carey, M.D. was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Resources by Governor Ralph Northam in January 2018. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Carey worked for over 20 years as a cardiologist in Lynchburg and served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Centra, where his responsibilities included information technology services, patient quality and safety efforts, performance improvement initiatives, and functions of the medical staff at Centra’s 3 acute care facilities.


Jeannette Walls
Jeannette WallsBest-Selling Author of The Glass Castle
From the pages of her #1 New York Times best-selling book and the critically-acclaimed film, Jeannette Walls moves you to realize the power of the human spirit as she inspires courage in the face of new and longstanding fears, and reveals how our weaknesses can be our greatest strengths.

A celebrated author, Jeannette is best known for her best-selling memoir, The Glass Castle, which details her life growing up in extreme poverty and the tale of her emergence from it. Named by Amazon as one of the top 10
books of the decade, her inspiring story was brought to the big screen in one of the most highly- anticipated major motion pictures of the year starring Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts and Brie Larson as Jeannette.

On stage, Jeannette takes audiences inside her resilient journey in pursuit of authenticity, revealing the power of courage and determination in overcoming unimaginable obstacles.

Audiences are captivated as she reveals bittersweet anecdotes from her past that often exemplify grander truths about courage and the positive rewards that come from confronting challenges. With an unforgettable story of triumph over unrelenting adversity, Jeannette inspires the realization that we’re all stronger than we think, leaving listeners emboldened to face the “demons” in their lives.


Jim Sporleder
Jim SporlederRetired Principal of Lincoln High School featured in the Documentary Paper Tigers
Jim Sporleder retired in 2014 as Principal of Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA. Under Jim’s leadership, Lincoln High School became a “Trauma Informed” school, gaining national attention due to a dramatic drop in out of school suspensions, increased graduation rates and the number of students going on to post-secondary education. These dramatic changes at Lincoln caught the attention of Jamie Redford, who spent a year filming the documentary, Paper Tigers, which tells the Lincoln story. Thedocumentary was released at the May 2015 Seattle International Film Festival and received positive reviews.

Jim is currently working as a trauma-informed coach / consultant as well as a trainer with the Children’s Resilience Initiative, based in Walla Walla. His travels as a consultant, keynote speaker, presenter and trainer have taken him all over the United States.


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Start End Programming Time
7:30 a.m. 8:30 a.m. Registration/Light Breakfast/Networking 1:00
8:30 a.m. 8:45 a.m. Welcome :15
First Lady Northam and Secretary Carey
9:25 a.m. 9:35 a.m. Break :10
9:35 a.m. 10:45 a.m. Workshop 1 1:10
10:45 a.m. 10:55 a.m. Break :10
10:55 a.m. 12:05 p.m. Workshop 2 1:10
12:05 p.m. 12:25 p.m. Grab Lunch
12:25 p.m. 1:15 p.m. LUNCH KEYNOTE – Jeannette Walls
1:15 p.m. 1:30 p.m. Break :15
1:30 p.m. 2:40 p.m. Workshop 3 1:10
2:40 p.m. 2:50 p.m. Break :10
2:50 p.m. 4:00 p.m. Workshop 4 1:10
4:00 p.m. 4:10 p.m. Break
4:10 p.m. 4:45 p.m. CLOSING KEYNOTE – Jim Sporleder :35



Building Resilience – John Richardson Lauve – ChildSavers
Resilience is the antidote for trauma, yet is a universal medicine that we can prescribe for everyone. Come and learn the fundamentals of building resilient individuals to help them overcome past trauma and fortify them to deal with future adversity.

Collective Impact 101: A Blueprint for Action – Hayling Price – FSG
Our understanding of what it takes to put the collective impact approach into practice continues to evolve through the contributions of many who are undertaking the deep work of collaborative social change.  Their successes build on decades of work around effective cross-sector collaboration. This workshop will provide a comprehensive overview of the collective impact framework and provide attendees with a practical guide for planning and implementing this work in their respective communities. Attendees will learn about the progress collective impact initiatives have had over the past decade, as thousands of practitioners, funders, and policymakers around the world employ the approach to help solve complex social problems at a large scale.

A Community’s Collective Response to Trauma – Jim Sporleder – Paper Tigers
Jim Sporleder retired in 2014 as Principal of Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA. Under Jim’s leadership and collaborating with community partners, Lincoln High School became a “Trauma Informed” school, gaining national attention due to a dramatic drop in out of school suspensions, increased graduation rates, and the number of students going on to post-secondary education. In this presentation, participants will learn that a community’s collective trauma responsive approach benefits all students and develops positive adult relationships that can change the life path of students who have lost hope. The participants will learn how we can accomplish a lot as a team and will do much less if we stay in our silos.

Generational Trauma – Allison Sampson-Jackson – Integration Solutions
In this presentation, Dr. Sampson-Jackson will discuss her journey and experiences with complex trauma as a child and caregiver. She will discuss ways in which different systems and people within systems hurt her recovery as well as helped her recovery. Given the growing understanding of cross-generational trauma, Dr. Sampson-Jackson will also review the impact of trauma on caregivers and differentiate treatment approaches that support rather than impede successful engagement of caregivers in mental health treatment and the child welfare system.

Impact of Trauma on Workforce and Relational Problems – Dr. Jodi Helbert – King University
While ACEs occur in childhood, they are certainly not limited to childhood. Trauma is often the culprit behind societal stagnation, mental health issues, homelessness, health concerns, criminality, violence, impulsivity, and other behavioral issues that can lead to unemployment and frequent job changes creating an unstable workforce and relational problems. Individuals are the smallest units of societies, but what happens to an individual impacts society. When societies become trauma-informed, these negative impacts are greatly reduced.

Leveraging Strengths & Assets to Improve Rural Health & Well-Being – Michael Meit – Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis
During this session the presenter will share information about how rural communities leverage assets to improve health and equity, asset-mapping techniques to promote a positive narrative around community health, and resources to identify best practices for addressing community health issues in rural areas.

Once Upon a Time: Yearning for a Fairytale Ending – Brandy Maltsburger – Frontier Health
Your collective community can aid trauma survivors who yearn for a fairy tale ending. Participants will learn about resilience, including: Who is resilient? What is resilience? Why resilience? Where is resilience? Participants will learn specific supports and interventions to improve outcomes for trauma survivors.

Trauma Informed Care 101 – Becky Haas – Ballad Health
Participants in this workshop will learn about the significance of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as they relate to drug addiction and other life and health disparities. Participants will learn how to identify trauma, how it affects brain development, and steps to take in creating healing & resiliency within  programming for children and families.

A Look at How Opioids Have Crashed the Foster Care System Wendy Welch – SWVA GMEC
Think of a sweater knit for a human, stretched to encompass an elephant. That’s what’s happening to foster care in the opioid crisis. Appalachia’s most valuable asset becoming tertiary damage control was never part of anyone’s policy plan, yet here we are. How can educators, advocates, academics, and community members help children thrive, and the system reinvent itself in an era of funding cuts and divisive politics? Come prepared to ask questions.


Engaging Experts on Adverse Childhood Experiences in Appalachia: Key Findings & Best PracticesJennifer Reynolds – Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Between July and December 2017, ORAU health researchers engaged 45 experts in childhood trauma and substance/opioid use disorders in a series of virtual meetings about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Appalachia. In this workshop, the presenter will share key findings from these meetings including:

  •         how children in Appalachia may experience ACEs differently than other parts of the nation,
  •         socioeconomic, cultural, and other factors that contribute to ACEs,
  •         gender differences in the likelihood of experiencing ACEs, and
  •         factors that mitigate the impact of ACEs and enhance resiliency.

Brain Architecture – John Richardson Lauve – ChildSavers
Brains are built through experiences in early childhood. Relationships are key to this. Understanding how brains are built will help us make a difference in these critical moments of the lives of our community’s children. Through this hands-on activity, we will build brains together and see the demonstrated impact of experiences in those moments of childhood.

Breaking down silos: The state government role in creating a trauma-informed system of care – Gena Berger & Jodi Manz – Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
A review of state policies, practices, and programs that collaboratively address trauma across traditional government silos. This workshop will explore the ways in which state government is currently developing and integrating trauma-informed care into policy and outcome measures.

Building Minds Playfully: A Trauma Informed Lens – Cheryl Wolfe – Gessell Institute of Child Development
In this workshop we will unpack the latest research on the relationship between play and brain growth in early childhood. Participants will investigate the impact of trauma on the young developing brain, and discover how play can build secure attachments and function as a buffer for toxic stress. The learning outcomes for this session include: a review of the current literature on brain development in the earliest years of life, and overview of the interplay of play and brain growth and why guided play builds brains, and, an awareness of trauma and its impact on the developing brain in the early years, and how guided play can build secure attachments and be a buffer for toxic stress consequently supporting healthy brain development.

It Takes a Trauma Informed Village to Raise a Child – Allison Sampson-Jackson – Integration Solutions
When you board an airplane and the attendants teach you how to respond if the cabin loses air pressure, you are taught to first apply the oxygen mask first to yourself and then help others. Yet, sometimes, we are less than willing as human service workers, human service agencies, and human service systems to look at our own system’s role in re-traumatizing families and our own need for healing and self-care, which must come even prior to helping others. Participants in this workshop will learn resources for exploring how trauma informed an agency is, domains the National Council of Behavioral Healthcare sees as critical to the creation of a trauma informed organization, and learn about “trauma informed community networks”, with updates on the current work being done to create Trauma Informed Community Networks (TICNs) in the State of Virginia.

Multisector Approaches to Child Maltreatment Prevention – Dr. Derek Ford – Centers for Disease Control & Prevention 
Ensuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children is fundamental to the prevention child maltreatment and other childhood adversities.  This workshop will include a brief review of the impact of childhood adversity on subsequent well-being and life opportunities in adulthood, as well as an introduction to CDC’s child abuse and neglect prevention framework, Essentials for Childhood: Steps to Create Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments.  Within this framework, evidence-informed strategies that promote healthy relationships and environments for children and families will be examined.  Further, participants will learn how all individuals, across a variety of sectors (e.g., business, social services, education), have roles to play within a community to successfully combat the important public health issue of child maltreatment and other childhood adversities.

Promoting Equitable Systems Change through Collective Impact: A Practical Guide – Hayling Price – FSG
Over the past few years, social sector leaders have raised critical questions about systems change as we seek to make sense of what can often seem like an abstract, theoretical notion. This session will draw from recently-developed resources based on FSG’s work in the field, which offer a new way for collective impact practitioners to think in a disciplined and holistic manner about what’s required to change their systems. This workshop experience is designed to help individuals think systematically about social change, explore what is happening below the surface on issues we care about, and determine how we and our organizations can pursue large-scale change.

Trauma Informed Courts – Dr. Mimi Graham – Florida State University
Dr. Graham will address the root cause of families entering the court system to help improve family functioning and lessen the likelihood of families coming back to court.


Building Community Partnerships – Becky Haas – Ballad Health
Learn how to more successfully engage community partners around meeting the needs of children and families. This workshop will help attendees think outside the box & recognize existing additional resources that are available to enable us to build capacity in our community of care.

Educating the Mind & the Heart: Building Trauma Sensitive Schools Using the Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports Framework – Sophia Farmer – Virginia Department of Education (VDOE)
The Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports (VTSS) framework is a data informed decision-making framework that when implemented with fidelity improves academic, behavior, and social-emotional outcomes for all students. This session will describe the VDOE efforts to align the data, systems, and practices necessary to develop trauma sensitive schools within the VTSS framework.

The Five Critical Steps to Becoming A Trauma Responsive School – Jim Sporleder – Paper Tigers
This session will teach the participants the “how to” in becoming a Trauma Responsive School. Participants will learn the basic concepts to implementing a trauma-responsive school culture that will provide the significant changes we want for every student: improved behavior,improved student attendance, higher academic achievement, and, for high schools, higher graduation rates. Participants will walk away from this session with the knowledge to become trauma responsive, and to begin experiencing the significant outcomes that naturally come with this new mindset.

  • Participants will look at what the current research is telling us about the current impact of traditional disciplinary practices on our students.
  • The session will cover the current research that defines the difference between “doing trauma informed practices,” versus “embracing trauma responsive practices as who we are as a person, as a school, and how we interact with those we come into contact.”
  • Participants will learn in this session that a trauma-responsive approach is the umbrella that becomes school culture and strengthens everything under it.
  • This session will introduce the Student of Concerns model that is a powerful system for tracking a system’s most struggling students with intentional positive adult interventions and action plans.

Regulating as a Tool for Resilience – John Richardson Lauve – ChildSavers 
Poor regulation is often a consequence of exposure to trauma and chronic toxic stress. Regulation is a skill that must be taught and practiced. It is more than yoga and meditation. Come and learn the power of regulation skills and walk away with concrete skills for yourself and others.

Strengthening Resiliency to Buffer Life’s Adversities – Dr. Mimi Graham – Florida State University
This session will provide promising approaches in the resiliency science for buffering the effects of trauma through strengthening social connections, positive coping strategies, problem solving skills, sense of humor, life purpose, and other resilience strategies.

Trauma Informed Practices – Cheryl Wolfe – Gessell Institute of Child Development
When children experience trauma during the early years, it can change the trajectory of development, impact normative behaviors, and present an additional layer of complexity to individualizing practices and methods. In this workshop we will unpack how trauma impacts brain development to help us understand the meaning behind behaviors and develop strategies and practices that grow resiliency and mitigate the impact of toxic stress. Specifically, strategies such as building protective factors, strong relationships, social and emotional skills, and implementing whole school supports will be reviewed as a way to help children with a trauma history best learn and grow, as well as to support the healthy development of all children.

Using the Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool and Other Federal Resources – Michael Meit – Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis
In October 2018, the non-partisan and objective research organization NORC at the University of Chicago Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis, in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), released the Opioid Misuse Community Assessment Tool. NORC also maintains an Appalachian version of the tool, developed in collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission. Both tools integrate county-level drug overdose mortality data with data on unemployment, poverty, and disability, among others. Users can compare county data to the rest of the Appalachian region, their state and to the nation and assess changes over time. The tool provides fact sheets designed to create community dialogue and support planning and response. The presentation will include an overview and demonstration of the mapping tool and its functionalities, with a focus on data specific to the Southwest Virginia region. Discussion will include strategies for using the tool to support community planning and response, and for engaging stakeholders and policymakers.

Trauma Informed Community Networks in Virginia – Chloe Edwards – Voices for Virginia’s Children
Attendees at this workshop will learn about Voices for Virginia’s Children policy solutions for children in the Commonwealth. Voices for Virginia’s Children is the commonwealth’s only independent, multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization and is home to the KIDS COUNT data center for Virginia, which includes more than 200 state- and locality-level indicators on child well-being over time. Attendees will also learn about the Trauma Informed Community Networks in Virginia, which help to connect practice across disciplines and help to identify gaps and how policies can be implemented. Virginia’s community networks play a key role in advancing trauma-informed policy and promoting a statewide policy agenda.

Advocacy 101 – Beth O’Connor, M. Ed – Virginia Rural Health Association
The “What”, “Where”, “Why”, and “How” of advocacy so you can make a difference by engaging your elected officials.  Learn which communication methods are most effective, the difference between education, advocacy, and lobbying, and how to track down contact information for Congressional staff.


(for check-in on May 22, 2019)
Block Name: United Way Rural Summit

Hotel Property Cost Per Room Government Rate Per Room Number of
Rooms Blocked
Reserve by Date Extend Rate Call Phone Number
to Book Rooms*
Comfort Inn $80 + taxes N/A 70 8 week roll off 1 night prior & post 276-676-2222
Comfort Suites $95 + taxes Same 65 8 week roll off 4 night prior & 1 after 276-698-3040
Country Inn & Suites
$90 + taxes $95 + taxes 25 21 days prior 2 night prior & 1 post 276-676-2829 or
Use code UWRS online
Fairfield Marriott
$95 + taxes Same 20 2 weeks prior 276-619-5501
Hampton $125 + taxes Same 30 4/22/19 1 night prior & post 276-619-4600 or
Use code UWS online
Martha Washington
$210/$190 ++ 20 30 days prior 276-628-3161
Quality Inn
$88 + taxes $95 + taxes 50 5/8/19 Same Rate 276-676-9090

*Rooms must be booked by phone at number listed above unless otherwise noted.
All hotels have cancellation policies, restrictions and combination of room types (king, queen, double)
All hotels may add rooms to block if needed.
Special pricing will only be available thru hotel ‘reserve by’ date.


Gena Boyle Berger

Gena Boyle Berger serves as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources for Governor Ralph Northam. Prior to this appointment, she served as Assistant Director for Board Relations at United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). In that role, she advised the Board of Directors on national organ allocation policies and served as the lead liaison for major revisions to the national kidney allocation system.

Before joining UNOS, she served as a health and environmental policy advisor under Governor Tim Kaine from 2006-2010, and the state domestic violence policy manager for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance from 2010 to 2012. Originally from Kentucky, Gena graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in government from Morehead State University and a Master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Polytechnic University.

Chloe Edwards

Chloe Edwards is Voices for Virginia’s Children’s Outreach Coordinator- Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice, responsible for connecting local and regional partners with Voices’ policy team. With the Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia, Chloe works with Trauma-Informed Community Networks and coalitions across the state of Virginia. Her goal is to jumpstart strategic conversations and mobilize advocates in implementation of trauma-informed policy and practice at the state level through Voices’ unified policy agenda. Her work is informed by her personal connection to foster care (she entered kinship foster care at age 14) and by her previous job as director of Connecting Hearts, a nonprofit that strives to find permanent, loving homes for every child living in foster care.

Read More

Chloe completed the Minority Research and Law Institute Program at Southern University Law Center and graduated from Hollins University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Radio One recognized her as one of the top “30 Under 30” trailblazers initiating change in Richmond in 2017, and Connecting Hearts awarded her its Outstanding Service Award in 2018. In her free time, Chloe volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), spokesperson on the Adopt US Kids Speakers Bureau, and board member of the Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes youth health and wellness.

Ashley Everette

Ashley Everette is Voices’ Policy Analyst for children’s mental health and health and is the coordinator of the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health. Ashley comes to Voices with many years of nonprofit, early childhood development, children’s mental health, and research experience. Most recently, she worked for ChildSavers a nonprofit organization in Richmond, where she developed and implemented a community-based, early childhood mental health consultation program. She has also played an integral role in the Virginia Association for Infant Mental Health and is one of the first infant mental health professionals to be endorsed in the state of Virginia.

Ashley is a graduate of Randolph-Macon College and earned her master’s degree in child development from Tufts University.

Sophia Farmer

Sophia Farmer, is the Virginia Tiered Systems of Supports (VTSS) Implementation Specialist and Acting Director of the VTSS Research and Implementation Center within the Center for School Community Collaboration at Virginia Commonwealth University. Mrs. Farmer works collaboratively with VTSS Systems Coaches and local school divisions across the commonwealth to build a tiered systems framework that utilizes data informed decision making to implement high-quality instruction and interventions so that students can thrive academically, behaviorally, socially, and emotionally. She commits daily to building capacity within communities, schools, and teachers to create fully inclusive environments where ALL students can be their best selves. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree from the University of Virginia. Prior to leading VTSS efforts in Virginia, Mrs. Farmer was a special educator of students with a wide range of disabilities as well as a behavior specialist.

Read More

She is currently a proud Army mom who resides in Roanoke, Virginia, with her husband, two teenage children, two cats, and a very energetic dog that reminds her every day to wag more, bark less, and give in to joy.

Dr. Derek Ford

Derek Ford is a fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Violence Prevention (DVP). Much of his work is focused on examining risk and protective factors for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their impact on subsequent mental and physical health outcomes across the lifespan. Dr. Ford is also involved in several cross-cutting projects and partnerships related to his work on the ACEs Study in DVP.

Dr. Mimi Graham

Dr. Mimi Graham has been the Director of the Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy since 1993, specializing in policy, training, and special projects for vulnerable infants and toddlers including the Early Childhood Coordinating Systems (ECCS) project on Trauma & Toxic Stress and the Harris Infant Mental Health Training Institute. She is active in the statewide Trauma Informed Care Workgroup and is spearheading statewide “baby” court teams to address the trauma of young children. She is the past president and co-founder of the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health and a fellow with the Zero to Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. Dr. Graham co-founded the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health in 2002 and built a professional development network in Florida and integrated infant mental health across systems.  As a member of the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Children, she created partnerships to create Florida’s Early Childhood Court Initiative, an innovative approach to break the multigenerational cycle of abuse which she taught as a visiting professor to the China University Political Science & Law in 2018.

Read More

Dr. Graham provides leadership to tackle policy solutions to important social problems during the critical period from pregnancy to age 3 known as The First 1000 Days of Life. She oversees a multidisciplinary team with a national reputation as a center of excellence in trauma, maternal health, state policy on best practices for court involved and human trafficked pregnant and parenting teens, recently published new tool:10 Components of Quality Infant & Toddler Child Care, and home visiting including the widely-used FSU Partners for A Healthy Baby Home Visiting curricular series translating research into practical use with vulnerable families.

She spearheaded a think tank of state and community leaders toward creating a trauma informed state resulting in a compilation of a Showcase of Florida’s Cutting-Edge Trauma Initiatives. She is a Fellow of Zero to Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers & Families and recipient of the 2019 Voice for Children Award, 2017 Florida Tax Watch Productivity Award for Early Childhood Court, and the Children’s Advocate Award, Legal Services of North Florida.

Becky Haas

Becky Haas is currently the Trauma Informed Administrator for Ballad Health. In this role, she is developing and implementing Trauma Informed Care programming throughout the 21 counties of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia served by Ballad Health. This programming is aimed at reducing the effects of adverse childhood experiences which can be a significant risk factor for drug addiction, and other life and health disparities.

Prior to working at Ballad Health, Becky was employed by the Johnson City Police Department initially as the Director of an $800,000 grant funded Targeted Community Crime Prevention Program (TCCRP) which later expanded to overseeing Crime Prevention Programs in 2016. During her tenure at the police department, Becky first heard about Trauma-Informed Care and ACEs Science. Living amidst rural Appalachia which has seen the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic, Becky felt this message urgently needed to be shared within her community.  Partnering with faculty from the East Tennessee State University Psychology Department in 2015, and receiving technical assistance from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funded, National Center for Trauma Informed Care, Becky and the team trained over 4,000 professionals in less than 3 years and created a growing Trauma Informed System of Care which has over 40 affiliated organizations.  In September of 2018, SAMHSA officials recognized their work as a community model for other cities to follow.

Read More

These efforts included the creation of the Day Reporting Center which was the first probation program of its kind in the state of Tennessee. In 2014 the TCCRP won national recognition by receiving the “Outstanding Criminal Justice Program of the Year Award” for the southern region from the National Criminal Justice Association. The TCCRP is also referenced by the U.S. Department of Justice as a grant funded “Success Story” and in 2016 was awarded the Met Life Foundation Community Police Partnership Award for Excellence in Community Engagement.

At the end of the successful TCCRP grant, the Tennessee Department of Corrections acquired the Day Reporting Center and since have replicated this model in several other cities across Tennessee in efforts to reduce recidivism rates which statewide are 48-50 percent while for those attending the Day Reporting Center the rate decreases to 16-22 percent.

She is a seasoned public speaker addressing both professional and faith based audiences. In August of 2017 she published her first book, Your City is Waiting on You, based on her experiences working at the police department and how she invited the local faith community to hear the conversation of city-wide needs and how they responded to become a greater resource in meeting these needs.

Becky has been married to Jonathan for 34 years and their greatest joys in life are their two sons, David and Christopher, along with their wives, Katie and Stacy, and two grandchildren, Paisley and Cayden.

Dr. Jodi Helbert

Dr. Helbert is the founding director of the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program at King University. She is a Board Certified Diplomat (BCD) in Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) and certified through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a trained trainer in TIC. She is a member of the American Academy of Christian Counselors (AACC), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), as well as North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW), the International Consortium of Social Developers (ICSD), International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), and Phi Alpha, the national Social Work Honor Society. In 2013, she received the honor of being named Social Work Today magazine’s Top Ten Deserving and Dedicated Social Workers. In 2008, Dr. Helbert received the Public Service Award for Distinguished Citizenship, and in 2013, she received the honored appointment of Kentucky Colonel based on her years of outstanding community service. On the King University campus, she serves as the chair of the Social Work Advisory Board, Faculty sponsor for the Social Work Action Group, and the King University chapter of the national Social Work Honor Society, Chi Omega. Additionally, Dr. Helbert is an ordained reverend.

Read More

Dr. Helbert serves on the Committee for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), the Green committee, and she is the faculty representative for the Acrobatics and Tumbling team at King.

Dr. Helbert has varied research interests, including social justice issues, relationship dynamics, trauma and treatments of trauma, pathophysiology and the neuroscience of behaviors.

Dr. Helbert has two daughters, Brandi and Kassi, two sons-in-law, Rigo and Jordan, and three grandsons, Rio, Sage, and Nico.

Dr. Allison Sampson-Jackson

Allison Sampson-Jackson, Ph.D., is Chief Executive Officer of Integration Solutions, Inc., where she provides trauma and resilience-informed care consultation to human service and healthcare organizations invested in the lives of ‘at-promise’ children, families, and adults impacted by emotional trauma. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Certified Sex Offender Practitioner in the State of Virginia, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in the District of Columbia, and a Certified Facilitator for Dr. Brené Brown’s Daring WayTM and Dare To LeadTM  Curriculums.

Dr. Jackson is a person of lived experience as well as a professional who has provided leadership development services via Behavioral Health, Education, Child Welfare, and Criminal Justice systems for over 25 years. In addition, she has provided outpatient therapeutic services for military service men and women and their families. Her clinical practice and research have focused on advancing effective trauma-informed treatment practices for persons who experience significant conduct related behavior problems.

Dr. Jackson previously worked for an international healthcare organization where she was National Vice President of Clinical Operations and National Trauma-Informed Service Line Leader. Partnering with the National Council of Behavioral HealthCare, she co-led 17 National Teams through the Council’s Trauma-Informed Learning Collaborative.

Read More

In 2018, Dr. Jackson conducted international work in Guatemala where she taught more than 160 parents and professionals how to enhance their trauma-informed practices to meet the needs of youth they serve.

Dr. Jackson’s TEDx-RVA Talk, A Call to Connection: Making Childhood Trauma Personal, has received nearly 120,000 views worldwide.

She lives in Chesterfield Virginia and is a single mother of three girls ages 23, 17, and 12. Dr. Jackson is dedicated to creating resilience in her own life, and her children’s lives, as well as in the lives of all children in the Greater Richmond area, United States, and beyond. Her hope is that her work, in collaboration with so many others’, will increase empathy and self-compassion for those impacted by trauma and thereby influence the next generation’s health.

Dr. Jackson received her Doctoral, Master’s, and Bachelor’s degrees in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University.


Dr. Jackson grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and through her lived experience and expertise has been elevated to the international spotlight as a sought-after speaker, presenter, and expert in trauma-informed care.

Brandy Maltsburger

Brandy Maltsburger, LBSW, M.Ed. is a Behavioral Health Educator for Frontier Health, Inc. She coordinates the Tennessee Building Strong Brains Adverse Childhood Experiences grant, as well as the Appalachian Angel Aid grant with Frontier Health. She graduated from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) with a Bachelor Degree in Social Work and a Master’s in Early Childhood Education. She has 20 years of experience working with at-risk children and families.

Brandy served on the regional and state board for Tennessee Alliance for Children and Families from 2008-2016. Brandy is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Tennessee Association of Infant Mental Health. She facilitates ACEs trainings, and also is a Mom Power Child Team leader, a QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention (Question, Persuade, and Refer) trainer, a Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor, and a Nurturing Parenting Facilitator. Brandy is a trauma survivor that has a passion for following the Golden Rule.

Read More

Brandy lives in Chuckey, Tennessee with her son, Ethan and nephew, Hunter. She is a Sunday school nursery teacher and choir director at Bethany Free Will Baptist Church.

Jodi Manz

Jodi Manz, MSW, serves as the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Resources in the Office of Governor Ralph Northam. Previously, she served as Policy Advisor and Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services under former Governor Terry McAuliffe. She serves as the Staff Director to the Governor’s Executive Leadership Team on Opioids and Addiction, and coordinates the opioid crisis response among Virginia’s state agencies. She spent several years working in Jewish education and youth programming in Chicago before coming to Richmond to complete the graduate program in Social Work Administration, Planning, and Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Michael Meit, M.A., M.P.H.

Michael Meit serves as co-director of the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis and as a Senior Fellow in NORC’s Public Health Research Department. Michael currently leads program evaluation and research studies focused on rural and tribal health programs, rural health equity, and the national public health agency accreditation program, among others. Recently, he has led development of an Appalachian Regional Commission study, exploring Diseases of Despair in Appalachia, and a companion tool, the Appalachian Overdose Mapping Tool. Michael has also recently conducted formative research for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to explore community assets to improve health and equity in rural communities, and completed a body of research exploring the impacts of health reform on state and local health departments. Michael has experience working at both the state and national levels, first with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and then with the National Association of County and City Health Officials. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Rural Health Association and on the American Public Health Association’s Committee for Health Equity.

Read More

He served as founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Rural Health Practice and recently finished a term on the Board of Directors of the National Rural Health Association.

Beth O’Connor, M.Ed.

Beth O’Connor has had the privilege of living and working in rural areas almost her entire life.  Raised in Minnesota, she received her bachelor’s degree at a small liberal arts college. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Health Promotion and Education from the University of Cincinnati – the only two years she has lived in a major city.

Ms. O’Connor has had the opportunity to work at a camp for persons with disabilities, a county health department, and a small town transit service. Since 2005 she has served as the Executive Director of the Virginia Rural Health Association. A dedicated advocate, she is a past chair of the National Rural Health Association’s Government Affairs Committee and has served on the NRHA Board of Directors.

Hayling Price

Hayling Price is a Senior Consultant at FSG, where he supports clients across sectors seeking to advance equity through systems change. His work is primarily focused on addressing youth development and K-12 education through collective impact. For example, in partnership with the Kellogg and Kresge Foundations, he helped plan and facilitate a citywide process to set a shared vision for Detroit’s early childhood system. He has also supported FSG’s work in strategic learning and evaluation, which included an assessment of Raising Blended Learners, a statewide personalized learning initiative piloted in schools across Texas. As FSG’s Equity Partnerships Lead, Hayling also supports the firm’s strategic priorities on social equity related to business development, capacity building for consulting staff, and partnerships with field actors in the advocacy community.

Read More

Prior to his work at FSG, Hayling served as Policy Director for the National Human Services Assembly, where he developed an integrated legislative agenda and led advocacy campaigns on Capitol Hill. In addition to promoting federal policy impacting youth and families, he has served as a community organizer and advised civic leaders on approaches to place-based youth development. Hayling received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania. He also received his MBA from Harvard Business School and Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Jennifer Reynolds

Ms. Reynolds is Section Manager of Health Communication, Research, and Evaluation at Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). She brings 12 years of experience managing formative research, health education, and social marketing projects for federal government and non-profit agencies. Current and former clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and Village Partners International.

Jennifer served as research lead for an ARC and CDC Injury Center project to address opioid communication gaps in local communities across the thirteen Appalachian states. Her resulting report, Communicating about Opioids in Appalachia, has become a valuable resource for community anti-drug coalitions and partners throughout Appalachia. As both an Appalachian native (Johnson City, Tennessee) and family member of one lost to opioid abuse, Jennifer has participated in media interviews and presentations emphasizing the harmful effects of stigma on prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts and the need for local storytelling that provides hope for communities devastated by the opioid crisis. Jennifer also co-led an ARC and CDC project to explore Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Appalachia.

John Richardson-Lauve

John Richardson-Lauve is a licensed clinical social worker with 25 years of experience working in community mental health. He is committed to strengthening individuals and communities that struggle with adversity. He is the Mental Health Director at ChildSavers, an outpatient mental health clinic serving children and families in the Richmond community, and travels the country training in the area of trauma-informed care.

Wendy Welch

Wendy Welch is the author of four books, including Public Health in Appalachia and Fall or Fly, narrative journalism on foster care in Coalfields Appalachia. Her memoir The Little Bookstore of Big Stone was translated into six languages. Welch directs the Graduate Medical Education Consortium and is interim director of AHEC21, serving the 21 counties of Southwest Virginia. A past board member of the National Storytelling Association, she teaches cultural competency and the uses of story in clinical and administrative policy interaction.

In her spare time she likes to crochet and sing (at the same time) and rescue abandoned animals from the back highways so often traveled for her work.

Cheryl Wolfe

Having observed over 1500 children and trained over 500 professionals/parents through her work with Gesell Institute, Cheryl knows the importance of rich, high-quality environments on the developing brain and the potential for negative impact when early environments are lacking or toxic. Since 2005 Cheryl has worked as a presenter/trainer with Gesell Institute of Child Development. Cheryl delights in seeking to understand the messages children communicate through their behavior. While her work began with her own children, it has since taken her across the U.S., as well as into the countries of Costa Rica, Chile and South Africa. Cheryl’s background is diverse. For over 30 years her roles have included home educator, Director of Admission, Board Chair for an education organization, creative movement/dance class teacher, momma of four, and now, “Grams.” She holds a BS in Psychology and is currently seeking her Masters, each with a concentration in early childhood/human development.

Find your way to play in Abingdon, VA

With world-class theatre and out-of-this-world mountain vistas, dozens of quaint eateries, and a vibrant historic district, it’s always play time in Abingdon. Plan your trip and learn why it was voted one of the Coolest Small Towns in America.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Unwind with a night of fun, free entertainment at Thursday Jams, Abingdon’s popular summer music series.  The Thursday Jams series showcases a wide range of nationally recognized bands at the Abingdon Market Pavilion each Thursday evening of the summer. The concerts are free and open to the public, with food trucks and a beer garden on site.  Grab a bite at the show, or visit one of Abingdon’s great locally owned restaurants within walking distance of the Market Pavilion. Local favorites include Bonefire Smokehouse, Mamma Mia (Italian), and Greeko’s.

Read more about Thursday Jams at AbingdonMusicExperience.com.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Treat yourself to dinner at the iconic Martha Washington Inn & Spa. Built in 1862 as a private home, The Martha has served as a finishing school, a Civil War hospital and a women’s college. Sister’s at The Martha offers an upscale casual dining experience in a cozy, club-like atmosphere.

Walk across the street to take in a show at the historic Barter Theatre. Originally built as a church in 1829, Robert Porterfield opened it up as a theatre during the Great Depression for patrons to “barter” for tickets with produce and food goods. Now with a resident company of professional actors, the theatre delights 160,000 patrons a year between their two stages.

Alternately, music lovers won’t want to miss The Richard Leigh Songwriters Festival, May 24 and 25.  The festival honors the work of Richard Leigh, a 1973 graduate of Virginia Highlands Community College who earned a Grammy Award for Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue, a No. 1 hit recorded by country superstar Crystal Gayle.  Leigh will be joined by four of Nashville’s leading songwriters, plus up-and-coming talents from our region, for a celebration of song.

For more events, check out Visit Abingdon’s event calendar.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Start the day off with a trip to the Abingdon Farmer’s Market, where you can sample the freshest local produce and the best handmade goods the area has to offer. After spending the morning at the market, take time to stroll the beautiful downtown to visit the many unique specialty and antique shops and grab lunch at one of our distinctive farm-to-table restaurants. There’s a good possibility you saw chefs from local restaurants shopping at the market for the freshest ingredients.

Live like a local and enjoy one of Abingdon’s most popular community events, Plumb Alley Day. Part festival, part yard-sale, and 100% authentic, this fun event stretches the entire length of Plumb Alley, right through the heart of Abingdon’s historic district.

Get a taste of the vibrant Abingdon art scene with a stroll down Main Street towards the Abingdon Arts Depot – an historic railroad depot that houses working artisan studios. Next, visit the William King Museum of Art for rotating exhibits of traditional and contemporary Appalachian art and artifacts. Housed in a former 1913 school, this museum is the only nationally accredited museum west of Roanoke.

While you’re in town, find the perfect gift at one of Abingdon’s shops. From souvenirs to tasty treats and fine antiques, you’ll have plenty to choose from.

Abingdon is home to The Abingdon Muster Grounds, the location where a volunteer militia mustered September 24, 1780, before joining the Revolutionary War. A magnificent exhibit will show you what life was like in those days for the troops and their families, and marks the start of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.

Continue your history immersion with an unforgettable dinner at The Tavern. Located in the oldest building in town, this upscale dining experience comes complete with hand-crafted cocktails and moss on the roof.  Or try one of Abingdon’s other unique eateries, ranging from BBQ to baklava.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Enjoy brunch at White Birch Food and Juice, a farm to table restaurant recently profiled in Vogue as one of the restaurants putting SWVA on the culinary map. The menu features all local meats, eggs, and goat cheese, plus an extensive list of raw, fresh pressed juices. White Birch also features a creative cocktail menu: take your brunch mimosa to the next level with house-made grenadine and hibiscus.

No visit to Abingdon is complete without experiencing the Virginia Creeper Trail.  Visitors come from all over the world to ride this recreation trail that winds 34 miles from Abingdon through beautiful mountain scenery, ending in Jefferson National Forest.  Whether you take a short stroll on the trail in Abingdon, or enjoy a full bike and shuttle package (all downhill!), the trail is truly a bucket list experience.

Experience the unique terroir of Southwest Virginia at Abingdon Vineyards, located along The Virginia Creeper Trail. This farm winery offers scenic views of the South Holston River from the tasting room. With easy access from the trail and its own boat launch, this winery sees as many visitors by bike and boat as it does by car! Contact The Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop for bike rental packages with winery shuttle service, or click here for driving directions from Abingdon.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Before leaving Abingdon, be sure to make one last stop at Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace. This regional center features spectacular mountain views and unique Appalachian food products, plus locally roasted coffee and a regional wine and beer menu. Check out the wide variety of artisan products, and learn more about the heritage music of the Blue Ridge Mountains; Heartwood is the headquarters of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.

Summit Planning Committee


Honorary Chair – Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam

Co-Chair – Hon. Florence A. Powell, Chief Judge, 28th Judicial District’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Virginia

Co-Chair – Dennis Carter, Superintendent, Smyth County Public Schools

Co-Chair – Heather Anderson, Director, Division of Primary Care and Rural Health, Virginia Department of Health

United Way Staff

Travis Staton – President and CEO

Leann Vernon – Director of Accountability and Strategic Impact

Mary Anne Holbrook – Director of Community Relations

Robyn Raines – Director of Childhood and Youth Success

Kristy Worley – Childhood Success Coordinator

State and Federal Representatives

Hon. Dr. Daniel Carey – Secretary of Health and Human Resources

Hon. Atif Qarni – Secretary of Education

Hon. Dr. Megan Healy – Chief Workforce Development Advisor

Jenna Conway – Chief School Readiness Officer

Marty Kilgore – Executive Director, Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth

Hon. Todd Pillion – Virginia House of Delegates 4th District

Kathy Glazer – President and CEO, Virginia Early Childhood Foundation

Dr. Norm Oliver – State Commissioner, Virginia Department of Health

Hon. Israel O’Quinn – Virginia House of Delegates 5th District

Duke Storen – State Commissioner, Virginia Department of Social Services

Erik Johnston – Director, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development

Kristie Proctor – Executive Director, Center for Rural Virginia and the Council for Rural Virginia

Eric Stockton – Health Program Manager, Division of Community Investment, Appalachian Regional Commission

Dr. Hughes Melton – State Commissioner, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Development Services

Dr. James Lane – Virginia State Superintendent, Virginia Department of Education

Maribel Saimre – Director, Office of Student Services, Virginia Department of Education

Beth Cochran – Director of Elementary Instruction, Wythe County Public Schools

Tony Keck – Executive Vice President for System Innovation and Chief Population Health Officer, Ballad Health

Mary Begley – Manager External Affairs, Appalachian Power

Todd Norris – Senior Vice President Community Health & System Advancement, President, Ballad Health Foundation

Becky Coleman – Commissioner, Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization

Beth Rhinehart – President and CEO, Bristol Chamber of Commerce

Shannon Blevins – Associate Vice Chancellor, Office of Economic Development, UVA Wise

Dr. Julie Brown – Director of Advanced Learning, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research


The Rural Summit for Childhood Success partners help make this event possible.
If you are interested in partnership, email Mary Anne at mholbrook@unitedwayswva.org to receive more information.


To register to attend the Rural Summit for Childhood Success, please click here.