The Positive Change Conference is Lancaster County’s community conference on addiction, serving helping professionals, college students, and anyone interested in addiction prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. Although it’s been an annual event in one form or another since 1991, Compass Mark ran the event from 2012 to 2018, when we began a partnership with Millersville University (MU) to provide wider access to the event. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we are holding the conference as usual this fall with one difference: it will be entirely virtual, allowing even more people to attend! Save the date, October 28, 2020, in your calendars.

MU conference coordinator Dr. Bertha Saldana DeJesus works with Compass Mark coordinator Deb McCoy this year and a planning committee made up of team members from their respective workplaces, as well as the Lancaster County Drug & Alcohol Commission. Committee members Zoom from their offices and living rooms to work together on a great lineup of speakers with the theme of Collective Restoration. The event will address the major changes to the ways that helping professionals work with their clients and students in light of COVID-19. We don’t know exactly what stressors will be present on event day. What we know for sure is that our conference audience members are working to minimize trauma and increase healthy functioning in everyone they encounter, and that they will need a day to pause, reflect, learn, and be nourished and revitalized in October. That is what the planning committee is striving to provide.

Keynote speakers for the conference include Dr. Susan Tarasevich of UPMC, a trauma expert, who will offer Creating a Healthier Normal in the Time of COVID-19, as well as Kristin Varner of the Dauphin County Drug & Alcohol Program, who’s closing keynote, Staying Connected Through Uncertain Times, will address the needs of persons in addiction recovery. Other topics in the three conference tracks; School/SAP, Treatment/Recovery, and Prevention; will include:

  • SAP & the Mind-Body Connection
  • Addiction Counseling Burnout & the Cost of Caring
  • Problem Gambling in an Aging Population
  • Building SAP Relationships Online
  • Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
  • Worship-Based Prevention Strategies
  • The Role of Stress in Human Relationships

This community event has the low fee of $25 for a virtual day of learning and healing; every attendee will receive a Conference Care Package in the mail as a way of feeling connected and cared for. Sponsors will offer information about their programs from virtual Zoom rooms, which attendees can pop in and out of to learn about these important services in education and addiction treatment. The planning committee is hoping that although we won’t be under one roof, the event will be a meaningful opportunity to recharge and reconnect.

Registration ends October 20, 2020, so sign up today!