On Saturday, May 5th, 100 parents, caregivers and child care providers gathered at Western Oregon University with one purpose: to increase their knowledge around dealing with and caring for children. The first-ever "Learn, Grow, Thrive: Children, Families & Community" conference was a partnership between by Polk County Reading for All, the Parent Resource and Education Program (both programs of the Polk County Commission for Children and Families), and Western Oregon University Teaching Research Institute's Child Development Center. All workshops and activities were provided free of charge, with lunch and child care available at no additional cost. Below is a list of a few of the workshops offered during the morning session:
National speaker and trainer, Kim Ratz, was the featured keynote speaker at the conference. He spoke on "The Pits and Pleasures of Parenting & Providing", "The Fun and Frenzy of Fatherhood", and "Playing Nice in the Sandbox" (learning to work well with others in professional settings).
Local children's author and founder of SmallTalk Learning, Dawn Babb Prochovnic, was the event's featured author! Dawn led two sessions, Infant/Toddler Sign Language and Read to Me: Hands-On Tips for Enriching Your Story Time.
In the afternoon, local community organizations provided activities and resources for kids and families: