Chicago Reload’ Urban Youth Worker Conference at North Park April 6

Chicago Reload

Speakers, workshops highlight event; early registration through April 2

CHICAGO (March 19, 2013) — A youth advocate, author, and corporate vice president, plus a Chicago gang intervention specialist, are keynote speakers at this year’s Chicago Reload, April 6, at North Park University, with the theme “Kingdom-Minded Ministry.” Reload is a daylong continuing education event for urban youth workers, pastors, parents, teenagers, volunteers, and more. It is expected to attract as many as 500 attendees from the Chicago area and Midwest region.

“Chicago Reload is a one-stop shop for people to gather for training and engage in networking that is urban-specific and youth-specific,” said Dr. Daniel White Hodge, director of the University’s Center for Youth Ministry Studies (CYMS), and assistant professor of youth ministry. Participants will learn and discuss a wide-range of topics from both academic and experiential points of view, he emphasized. The event also offers participants a chance to be refreshed, hear stories of hope, and meet people engaged in urban and youth ministry, said Alison Burkhardt, CYMS associate director.

Early registration for individuals and groups ends April 2. Walk-inregistration is available April 6 at the North Park Gymnasium.

Chicago Reload keynote speakers are Steve Pemberton and Amy Williams. Pemberton is a child advocate, motivational speaker, and author of A Chance in the World, a personal memoir published in 2012. He is chief diversity officer and divisional vice president for Walgreens, Deerfield, Ill. Pemberton has become recognized as one of the nation’s leaders on matters of diversity and inclusion, and their importance to the growth of the American industrial complex. Forbes named Pemberton one of the top 20 chief diversity officers in corporate America in 2006.

Williams is an 18-year youth ministry veteran, working with teens involved in gangs, youth on probation and parole, and teens in thejuvenile justice system. She is a certified gang intervention specialist who moved into a Latino gang neighborhood in Chicago’s Humboldt Park community to be a “hope dealer” where she does street outreach. Williams has pursued her callings as a youth pastor, reentry coordinator for paroled youth, and mentor trainer and coordinator.

More than 20 workshops are planned throughout the day, including early-morning and concurrent sessions, plus lunchtime forums, said Burkhardt. New workshop offerings focus on veteran workers in urban and youth ministry, “living in Spanish and English,” a workshop that addresses cultural identity for Latino youth, and best practices for working with undocumented youth. There is also a teen leadership track to teach storytelling, communication, and leadership skills.

A Chicago Reload team planned the event. Reload is sponsored by North Park University’s Center for Youth Ministry Studies, in partnership with Urban Youth Workers Institute.

For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522

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