9th annual Healthy Minds, Healthy Families Conference Guides Families and Educators Toward Healing

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October 26, 2023 by HCDE Communications

The metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly is a fitting symbol of change, resilience, and growth. On Oct. 20, these themes took flight as parents and early childhood educators gathered for the 9th annual Healthy Minds, Healthy Families conference at the Irvington conference center.

The daylong event, sponsored by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, provides early childhood educators, community partners, and parents with resources and professional development to support their mental health and that of Harris County’s youngest learners. This year’s theme, “The Butterfly Effect: Nurturing Resilience and Embracing Change,” focused on resilience, grit, perseverance, and promoting a growth mindset.

“We want this conference to serve as a reminder that the better we care for ourselves, the more we can give to our students,” said Head Start Senior Director Venetia Peacock.

Building on the theme of personal growth and its impact on the wider community, keynote speaker Assistant Superintendent for Academic Support Services Jonathan Parker spoke candidly about his youth during his presentation, “The Healing Power of People.” He recounted what it was like to be adopted from an orphanage in South Korea by an American family in Dallas. Parker highlighted key individuals who showed him unconditional love, mentorship, and kindness to underscore the importance of community and the profound influence individuals can have in shaping one’s journey.

“Sometimes you have to do the right thing and help people, even if you don’t know the outcome,” said Parker as he addressed the room. “When I think back on my life, the people who helped me didn’t know the outcome, but they knew it was the right thing to do.

The conference offered diverse sessions on topics such as resilience, childhood trauma, teacher burnout, and hands-on wellness activities.

To learn more about HCDE Head Start, visit hcde-texas.org/head-start.

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