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Conference in Roanoke looks to overcome trauma, build partnerships

Oxycodone pills are displayed, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan/AP
Oxycodone pills are displayed, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A weekend conference in Roanoke looks to start a dialogue around a theme of resiliency to overcome trauma. It’s coordinated by faith leaders and mental professionals, but anyone is welcome.

Panelists will include Antonio Stovall, a teacher at the city’s William Fleming High School.

“A lot of the guys that are perpetuating the crimes that we see – and the gun violence- are guys that have an identity that’s based around (it) whether it be gangs or drug dealers," he said. "So I think we one of the things we have to start doing, is giving our youth another outlet of how they see themselves.”

The Roanoke Prevention Alliance got a state grant to launch the Healing Centered Community NW and NE Church Conference.

RPV Director Christine Gist says due to the pandemic, it took while to get the faith community involved, and bring in the right people to deal with trauma and adverse experiences.

“We’re teaching things like self-regulation, conflict resolution, expressing your emotion, so that you don’t blow up," she explains. "What we’re doing here – we’re connecting a lot of dots, we’re putting people together, we’re building a brighter, better picture.”

Discussions will include opioid overdose intervention, and overcoming childhood trauma.

Gist says the conference will also provide a few simple lessons on how to help those who are struggling.

“To do a wellness check on somebody when they’re not themselves. To smile at somebody. To encourage people to give those positive experiences into people’s daily lives.”

The conference is Friday evening and Saturday morning at Hill Street Baptist Church in Roanoke.

There’s no registration required, but those wishing to attend are encouraged to RSVP for meal planning purposes.

Jeff Bossert is Radio IQ's Morning Edition host.