Youth Resilience Summit 2023

Join us in-person or virtually on Thursday, November 16 at the The McKimmon Conference and Training Center at NC State University from 8:30am-1:30pm for an exciting and informative day to discover how you can better minimize adverse childhood experiences and built resilience for our children. The youth Resilience Summit will feature breakout sessions with presentations by the best –in– class experts on how we can recommit ourselves to building more resilience and safer communities for the children across North Carolina. Tickets for the Youth Resilience Summit are $35 and will include breakfast and lunch for the day.

The 2023 Youth Resilience Summit will is hosted by Youth of North Carolina. The summit will feature breakout sessions covering a variety of topics that range from trauma-informed leadership, and staff wellness, to healing through art therapy, suicide prevention, and mental health awareness.

2023 YRS Co-chairs

Who is the Intended Audience for the Seminar?

  • Anyone who works with children

  • Licensed Counselors

  • Social Workers 

  • Attorneys

  • Law Enforcement Officers 

  • Educators 

  • Health Care Professionals

  • Youth Organization Volunteers

  • Even concerned parents

For more information contact James Allegretto at 336.338.8277

We are partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Wake County and the YMCA to offer a greater experience and the best programming available.

Boys & Girls Clubs The YMCA


2023 Youth Resilience Summit Sponsors

Lonnie & Carol Poole Foundation
Machine Specialties, Inc.
Focus CFO
Tannenbaum-Sternberger Foundation, Inc.


8:00 – 8:30 am

Registration & Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45 am

Welcoming Comments

8:45 – 9:45 am

Preventing Suicide Panel Discussion

Moderator:  Konisa Rhone – Recording artist / Public Speaker

Panelist 1:  Alex Espitia – Suicide Prevention specialist with Kellin Foundation

Panelist 2:  Heather Bonner - Founder of Mission 34 (501C3) Son died by suicide

A panel discussion hosted by Konisa Rhone, A board member for Youth of NC, Alex Espitia, a specialist with Kellin Foundation, and Heather Bonner with Mission 34 will lead us through difficult conversations about suicide and better prepare us to help youth as we discover what to look for and understand how to prevent suicide.

Alex is a Certified Health Education Specialist, a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, and a Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) instructor who will provide the best suicide education.

Heather is the founder of Mission 34, a nonprofit that advocates for youth to have a voice and not show weakness in asking for help. Heather is a mother who lost her son Sean to suicide and works to help other families not experience the same pain.

10 – 11:00 am

General Internet Safety and Trends

Emma Rush - South Carolina Office of the Attorney General, Internet Crimes Expert

Learn from internet crime expert Emma Rush the positives of social media and the internet by using proactive communication, setting guidelines, understanding private information, and the dos of online security. 

Experience an in-depth dive into cyberbullying, sexting/sextortion, and predator grooming to understand how media technology impacts an individual. Emma will discuss how the popular app Tik-Tok works, how inappropriate content affects our youth, and how to report internet crimes.

Connections Matter – 5 Protective Factors

LouMecia J. Staton, MSA - Community Relations Manager at Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

Participate in a group discussion on the valuable skills and safeguards to help prevent child abuse and neglect. Discover and implement the five protective factors, allowing your community to thrive. The protective factors are conditions in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families, and every community needs this.

Mental Health Awareness of Kids, Teens, and Young Adults

Terri Wilkerson, BSW – Nation Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Signature Programs facilitator

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) wants to ensure people get mental health care early. Mental health conditions typically begin during childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood, so learn about the essential information and resources to help young people get the mental health support they need now.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Leveraging Disability Education

Tara Muller - Disability Rights North Carolina Policy Attorney

Become familiar with leveraging disability education law and health programs. Understand Medicaid better to divert kids with trauma histories and other disabilities from the juvenile justice system and congregate living settings. Get an overview of Medicaid Managed Care's role in helping children with disabilities and a background about public education's role in the early identification of disabilities, including dyslexia screenings, behavior training for school staff (regular teachers, special education teachers, and principals), overall prevention and early identification of trauma through mental health in schools, and preventable environmental triggers for anxiety and other emotional disabilities.

Introduction to Supporting Q+ Youth

Austin Horne - LGBTQ+ Outreach Specialist with Family Service of the Piedmont

Join this educational discussion to learn how to engage the youth of all genders and sexualities through facilitated discussion. We'll cover the foundations of sex and gender, strategies to include all kids while learning from one another, and how to gather a community to provide a more comprehensive support network than we could on our own.

You are Key to Building a Prevention Ecosystem to Nurture Positive Childhoods  

Sharon Hirsch – President and CEO, Prevent Child Abuse, North Carolina

Each of us is responsible for ensuring all children can grow up in safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments with hope for the future. 

Often, when we gather to talk about resilience and ACES, the focus is on how we intervene and treat the effects of childhood adversity, but we should not wait for trouble to happen. 

Changing the narrative and strategies from a culture that responds after childhood adversity to building the support for families and children to thrive is possible if we use upstream thinking to create a prevention ecosystem. Learn about your role as service providers, community leaders, child-serving organizations, and advocates to make it possible for NC's children to grow up with support, economic stability, mental and physical health and well-being, and loving and secure family relationships. Together, we CAN nurture positive childhoods.

Youth Going Down the Troubled Path

Justin Bushey – Rock of Ages (speaks over 200 days a year about paths to redemption)

Learn from the amazing, life-changing, and uplifting story of Justin Bushey. Justin is biracial born, plagued by verbally and physically abusive step-dads, addicted to cocaine, dealing drugs from across state lines, built a rap sheet of assault charges, and was in a three-day coma from a lethal drug overdose. Hear how Justin turned his life around and is now living better than he could imagine. Learn how youth going down a troubled path can turn their lives around.

12:00 – 12:30 pm

Networking Lunch 

Enjoy lunch in the privacy of your own space as you meet and learn about other youth resilience services offered around North Carolina. Receive vital information that could help you connect and network with other agencies to make a better collaborative group later.

12:30 -1:30 pm

Keynote – Ben David

District Attorney and author of the book Crime and Community in the Cape Fear Ben David has developed a Starfish Model to give structure to the community he represents, which covers both metro and rural areas. The arms of outreach surround a center of health because a focus on physical, mental, and emotional well-being and healthy relationships make a community safer. Using the science of resilience and the evolving understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), David illustrates how direct service providers and courthouse professionals work together like never before to prevent crime and reduce recidivism. This talk will explore best practices developed in southeastern North Carolina and provide the tools for you to bring similar resources to your hometown.