Portage la Prairie will host a multi-day conference on poverty at Canad Inns on May 6 and 7 of this year, which is being organized by several non-profit groups.
“The conference grew out of a shared recognition by many in the helping community that poverty impacts many of our clients disproportionality,” says Barry Rud, conference chair. “Poverty is a contributing factor for many of our client’s other issues but poverty is also a result of the impact of some of those same other issues.”
It is these complicated interrelationships that led the organizers to launch the upcoming conference dubbed Perspectives on Poverty: A Collaborative Approach.
The May 6 focus is on poverty and the community and tends to be more adult focussed. The agenda for May 7 is more youth and school focused.
Day one’s keynote speaker is Mitch Bourbonniere – an educator at the Universities of Manitoba, Winnipeg and St. Boniface. He works with Winnipeg’s most vulnerable people who suffer with homelessness, post-traumatic stress, addiction, mental health issues, domestic violence, gang involvement, and sexual exploitation.
“A just and fair society can only be judged on how it treats its most vulnerable members,” Bourbonniere says. “What are we doing in Manitoba to help alleviate poverty and homelessness? I look forward to meeting with stakeholders at this conference to talk about how we can bring even more compassion and care to the people of Manitoba who most need it.”
On day two Dr. Shauna MacKinnon will be the keynote speaker – MacKinnon is an associate professor and chair of the department of urban and inner-city studies at the University of Winnipeg. Situated in Winnipeg’s north end, the department aims to make postsecondary education more accessible to residents of a misunderstood and stigmatized low-income neighbourhood.
MacKinnon has written extensively on poverty related issues and is actively engaged in research supporting grassroots initiatives advocating for comprehensive policy changes to better address poverty.
“Children who live in poverty are at a disadvantage well before they begin school. Many fall further and further behind, continuing the cycle of poverty as adults,” MacKinnon says. “Breaking that cycle begins with education and hope for something better. Sustaining hope and significantly improving education and economic outcomes for youth living in poverty requires educators to better understand poverty and its damaging effects.”
“This conference will be of interest to anyone working in the human services field including teachers, administrators, trustees, elected and unelected government officials at all levels, counsellors, social workers, students, and the general public,” says Rud. “Any proceeds from this conference will be shared by the organizing non-profits to further their work with folks impacted by poverty.”
There are discounts available for groups and early bookings. Those looking for more information or to register can visit https://2020povertyconfere.wixsite.com/website.