2019 Statewide THRIVE Conference

7th Annual Statewide Conference

“Social justice is concerned with breathing life into
the heart of what it means to be a community”
~ Shaun Griffin, Community Chest

The THRIVE Conference showcases the impressive humanitarian work happening in Nevada. Health and human services providers, teachers, community volunteers, public service employees, and many others come together for this event. The intent is to provide a forum for education and networking while unifying this diverse group under the context of social justice as too many fail to grasp the potentially transformative nature of their work.

THRIVE Statewide Conference @

8:30     Registration

9:00     Welcome by Michael-Ann Lazzarino,
            CCI’s Deputy Director

9:10     Winner of Student Poetry Contest to Read Poem

9:15     First Panel Discussion

What health and human service providers need to know about
emerging technological innovations and their implications.

Our first panel features Meg VanDeventer and Sena Loyd from Blockchains. For those of us not technologically inclined, Blockchains and the promise of its technology is a bit of an enigma. Ms. VanDeventer and Ms. Loyd will help to translate and share their enthusiasm for how Blockchains technology may change the ways in which we work with our clients. Both Ms. VanDeventer and Ms. Loyd have backgrounds in helping others through service in the Peace Corps or the Nevada State Library System, and they both see their work with Blockchains as an extension of their desire to be of service to their fellow humans. Be prepared to stretch your brain!

9:45     Second Panel Discussion

How to better integrate health and human services with
community partners and groups

Our second panel features Aria Overli from ACTIONN, Storey County Sheriff Deputy Schroeder, local business owner Eric Troska, and at least one teenager discussing how health and human service providers can better connect to and involve their respective constituents in the important work of building a community where everyone has the resources they need to not just survive, but (yes) THRIVE. 🙂 

10:15     Break

10:30     Informal Q & A sessions with Panelists

Meg and Sena from Blockchains will be in the Library; other panelists in large downstairs room.  

11:00   Break

11:15   Open Mic, with Adrienne Sutherland Renwick,
           CCI’s Clinical Dir.

Participants invited to share any “take-aways” from AM workshops.

A Love Letter to All of You…and a Challenge –

Those of you who attended last year’s THRIVE Conference will remember my love letter to you all in which I provided my answer to the question of “Why hold a statewide conference on helping people in rural Nevada?”

I argue that it is possible for a statewide conference on helping people to be held anywhere within the great state of Nevada. There is so much great work being done everywhere throughout this State. At the universities and community colleges in Reno and Las Vegas, this everybody knows. But also this: some of the most sophisticated community- and collaboration-building strategies being developed and used are those widely known to anyone who spends time in any of Nevada’s rural counties. One goal of this conference is for these best practices to be acknowledged and shared from rural to urban and back again, so that we can teach and learn from one another what is most effective.

This day is a celebration of all you do, those who choose to be of service to their fellow men, women, and children. It is such a powerful choice and an affirmation that love matters.

While all of the above is true, I realize it is still only a part of why we at Community Chest go through the work of hosting this labor of love. We also want to challenge you.

Too many of us over time find ourselves diminished by this work that we do. The work is hard, the hours long, the pay oftentimes meager, support lacking, and systems demoralizing. Over time, it is easy to just “phone it in” and become complacent – oftentimes without our recognizing it – and lose sight of the very important reasons we went into service helping others.

It is necessary in this work – and here is the challenge – to do everything in our power to nurture and sustain our vitality. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, and we truly can change the world.

In a nutshell, here is our challenge to you:

— Hold on to the “aspirational” ideas for the world in which you want to live
— Continue to evolve and stay open to new ideas (even those from left field)
— Be wary of those who tell you the changes you want can’t be done
— Be gracious to those doing similar work & support them when in need
— Regularly do things that help you to feel renewed, refreshed, & connected

Read about this year’s social
justice superheroes!

Justice of the Peace Eileen Herrington (Storey County)
Judge Herrington has been a quiet but determined force in advocating for victims rights, supporting those with substance use and mental health disorders to receive the treatment needed to reduce recidivism, and ensuring that all are treated fairly and with dignity in her court.

Erik Aalgaard (Douglas County)
The two nominations received for Erik highlighted the efforts of a one-man force of nature who is committed to making the widest and deepest possible impact for as many people as he can in his role as case manager at Douglas County Social Services.

David Frazier (Washoe County)
Despite or maybe because of his own struggles with finding affordable housing over the years, David has been fiercely dedicated to raising the alarm about the need for more affordable housing. He has done this through tireless advocacy at every level — personal, city, county, and state.