Hope for Human Service Providers
More than 70 local human service providers, who dedicate their lives to the health and welfare of others, had the tables turned on them, Friday, May 16, when Bluefield College hosted the group on campus for a daylong conference designed to support and strengthen their efforts.

Hope for Human Service Providers

By Chris Shoemaker | May 22, 2014 | RSS

View more photos from the Human Services Conference


Kimberly Hall, program director at Pressley Ridge in Tazewell, Virginia, leads a workshop during Bluefield College’s daylong Human Services Conference, “A Path to Hope."


Local human service providers share ideas during a professional development discussion at Bluefield College.


View more photos from the Human Services Conference


Titled “A Path to Hope: A Conference Encouraging Current and Future Human Service Providers,” the forum featured eight professional development workshops and a keynote presentation led by leading local human service specialists, including Twyla Hersman, a nationally certified counselor with more than 25 years of experience, who served as keynote speaker.


“I will speak about, ‘Hope for the Helping Professional,’” said Hersman, a licensed professional counselor and supervisor who maintains a private practice in Princeton, West Virginia, “as I believe those in the human services field can always benefit from a reminder to take good care of themselves.”


In addition to hope and encouragement from Hersman, the human service advocates from group homes, halfway houses, health centers and service agencies, as well as students and teachers of the profession, found wisdom and inspiration in eight separate workshops on leadership, education, motivation, behavioral health in Appalachia, the mental health of children, addiction, suicide, and psychiatric illnesses.


“It was informative and nice to be with peers,” said Kimberly Hall, program director at Pressley Ridge in Tazewell, Virginia. “I appreciated the opportunity to lead a workshop on an area I am very passionate about, and the workshops I attended were wonderful.”


Leading the conference workshops were some of the region’s most notable human service professionals, including Hall; Connie Cochran, a licensed psychologist and director of business development for The Behavioral Health Pavilion of The Virginias; Dr. Jeffry Gee, psychiatrist and medical director for The Behavioral Health Pavilion of the Virginias; Dr. Bob Boozer, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Psychology at Bluefield College; Jamie Edwards, assistant professor of sociology and human services at Wytheville Community College; Kimberly Sobey Brintle, director of the Bland County Department of Social Services; and DeAnna Dick, a local provisionally licensed counselor.


“The workshop leaders provided quality information that human service providers can use every day,” said Brenda Workman, a BC admissions counselor who helped lead the workshop on education. “Our objective for this event was not only to provide beneficial information to human services providers and students, but also to encourage them as they continue to encourage others.”


Co-sponsored by the Southwest Virginia Workforce Investment Board, an affiliate of the Virginia Workforce Network, the daylong conference did just that. In between workshops, participants visited vendors on site for a Job and Agencies Fair.


“The conference was very well attended with approximately 80 participants on campus,” said Workman. “Students networked with agencies, agencies networked with educators, and agencies networked with other agencies. This is just what we hoped would happen.”




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Chris Shoemaker, Director of Marketing and Public Relations