The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 12, 2012

Your View: HOPE for Joplin

By Kari Clements
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — After a truly difficult and trying year, the Joplin community needs nothing more than to continue to have “hope” for the future.

With this in mind, The Alliance of Southwest Missouri has planned its fourth annual Community HOPE (Healing Opportunities for the Pursuit of Empowerment) Conference, featuring renowned author, screenwriter, and producer Antwone Fisher.

The daytime portion of the conference will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, at the Joplin Holiday Inn and will offer 14 educational workshops in a variety of areas such as child sexual abuse prevention training, play therapy services for children, healthy parenting skills, and more.

For the evening portion of the event, Antwone Fisher will present at 6:30 p.m. at College Heights Christian Church.  A reception will also be offered following the presentation, during which guests will have the opportunity to meet Fisher, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, and receive a signed copy of Fisher’s autobiography, “Finding Fish.”  Fisher’s most widely recognized accomplishment is undoubtedly the 2002 film “Antwone Fisher,” co-produced by Fisher and co-starring and directed by Denzel Washington.  As a foster child who suffered years of abuse at the hands of his foster family, Fisher’s life story offers a remarkable tale of survival and triumph over adversity.

Unfortunately, the Joplin community has observed a marked increase in instances of child abuse/neglect following the devastating May 22 tornado.  Therefore, this is an especially critical time to reach out to those in our community.

The Alliance of Southwest Missouri is a nonprofit community partnership serving Jasper and Newton Counties. The Alliance leads, sponsors and participates in a number of initiatives and programs designed to ensure the health and safety of children and families in Southwest Missouri. Tickets for the fourth annual Community HOPE Conference may be purchased online at www.theallianceofswmo.org or at our Joplin office at 2914 E. 32nd Street, Suite 102 (417-782-9899).  

Kari Clements

Executive director

The Alliance of Southwest Missouri