SPARKodc will host a seminar later this month in its ongoing effort to seek greater community collaboration, strengthen families and stop child abuse, neglect and trauma.

The event takes place between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. March 27 at the auditorium in Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, 1201 Pleasant Valley Road.

SPARKodc, which stands for Social Partners Advocating for a Resilient Kentucky -- Owensboro-Daviess County, is a first-of-its-kind national pilot project that started last year. The community initiative has attracted local leaders involved in health, substance abuse, law enforcement, courts, government and other agencies and organizations. The group has reached out to encourage increased collaboration among agencies that serve families.

The seminar's keynote speaker will be Dominic Cappello, co-author of "Anna, Age Eight: The Data-Driven Prevention of Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment." Cappello lives in New Mexico and came to speak at a local forum in July 2018. He introduced local residents to the Resilience Project, which brings awareness to childhood trauma and its lifelong negative effects on health and well-being.

At the event, Lionel Phelps, clinical psychologist and vice president of research and development for RiverValley Consulting Services, will speak about the adverse childhood experiences questionnaire and how it can be used as a tool. Angela Woosley, Green River District Health Department public health services supervisor, will discuss circles of poverty and collaborative efforts to ignite change.

Representatives from Owensboro Public Schools and Daviess County Public Schools will talk about SPARKodc's 10 focus areas -- mental health care, medical and dental care, housing, food, transportation, parent supports, youth mentors, early childhood learning, family-centered schools and job training -- and how they impact students.

"Most importantly, we are going to talk about what we, as a community, can do," said Ashley Evans-Smith, SPARKodc project manager.

Evans-Smith will release data from the initiative's first community survey, which started in January and ended March 1. She and other SPARKodc leaders hope those survey results kick off a revolution across the county.

"For me, the time is now," Evans-Smith said. "The community is already moving to build a stronger community for families and children. Anyone who is interested in being part of that movement would benefit from (attending the summit) and engaging in the process."

The summit is free to the public; however, seats are limited. Lunch is provided, so registration by March 22 is required.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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