News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 25, 2012

Child advocate headlines Because Kids Count Conference

News Release

---- — One of Indiana’s most important advocates for children will be the keynote speaker at the Indiana Youth Institute’s Because Kids Count Conference Dec. 4 and 5.

Willis K. Bright, Jr. will give the keynote address on Dec. 5. Bright is the former director of youth program of Lilly Endowment Inc., where he worked to build opportunities for children. He will look at the current state of youth development and outline the prospects for youth-serving professionals in the future.

In addition to Bright’s keynote address, highlights of the conference include:

• An opening session presented by Afterburner, Air Force fighter pilots who will share their techniques on flawless mission execution so attendees can better accomplish their objectives in helping Indiana children.

• The Leadership Institute option, focused on igniting innovation within organizations.

• An award-winning documentary on the difficulties of getting into college experienced by children who are the first in their families to pursue education after high school, and featuring a discussion session with the film’s producers.

• Dozens of workshops presented by state and national experts on topics such as working with children, fundraising, getting parents engaged in their children’s lives, bullying, child development and nonprofit management.

• The Vectren Resource Center featuring 75 exhibitors.

The Because Kids Count Conference is intended for anyone who works with children, including community leaders, youth ministers, educators, counselors and those who impact the well-being of Hoosier children.

The conference opens Dec. 4 with Afterburner. These Air Force fighter pilots will show attendees how to start with an objective, identify threats, find available resources, evaluate lessons learned, determine a course of action and plan for contingencies.

Several workshops about how to prevent and address bullying will be featured. There will also be a discussion of teen suicide.

New this year, the conference will highlight the documentary First Generation, a film about the struggles five high school students face in becoming the first in their families to pursue a college education.

The Leadership Institute will offer an intensive professional development experience designed to help executive directors, board members and senior staff become better leaders and innovate more ideas. This year’s Leadership Institute speaker, David A. Owens, Ph.D., will explain the art and science of generating better ideas, assessing them and making sure they get a chance to impact an organization.

New roundtable stations will engage participants in in-depth conversation on topics including bullying and volunteer recruitment. Conference attendees can also kick off this year’s event with the Because Kids Count Talent Show and Conference Mixer from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at the JW Marriott.       

Register online at

For more information, contact Niccole Caan of the Indiana Youth Institute at 317- 396-2737 or