The orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) program is having its 3rd CARE conference,
on Feb. 27–28, 2020.
With hopes to encourage and equip people, the CARE conference will allow students and experts to learn along side of each other and teach each other about the topic of vulnerable children and viable communities.
Scott Moeschberger is the director of initiatives for the OVC program.
“(The purpose is to) bring students together to share with each other, to encourage each other, to build each other up as we move toward this movement to strengthen families and help alleviate vulnerability in children,” Moeschberger said of the conference.
Taylor has hosted two prior CARE conferences. This year students will have a space to present their own research, making this year's conference the first academic CARE conference.
Targeted at undergraduates, the conference desires to attract students from different majors as well as different schools. The event is also open to members of the community who are interested in these topics.
One of the biggest ways to help the conference succeed is to spread the word. Moeschberger wants this conference to welcome people who possess a variety of passions; whether that be public health, psychology or education. This conference intentionally does not include the word “orphans” in the name so that it attracts a broader audience.
Research submissions can vary. They are accepting poster designs or research projects or papers focused on a variety of areas relating to the overall topic of vulnerable children and viable communities. Some topic ideas include violence against children, orphan care, foster care, refugees, health/sustainability and trafficking.
Submissions are open until Jan. 8 and submissions that are accepted will be notified by Jan. 20.
“I love seeing students connect passion, faith, and intellect and their academic capacity,” Moeschberger said.
Not only are these presentations beneficial to resumes and grad school applications, but it gives students the chance to present what they have been working on and get feedback. There will also be $800 in prizes for student presentation winners.
In addition to the student presentations, Josh Garrels will be performing on Thursday, Jan. 27. As an Indiana native, he brings a unique local connection. Moeshberger discussed how Garrels and his wife are passionate about creating viable communities. Garrels’ music focuses on hope and freedom.
Bekah Moser has also played a part in planning and coordinating of this conference.
“I’m looking forward to hearing ways people are doing good work in the world and are caring and investing, just thinking outside of themselves here and now, Moser said. “It’s really hopeful. I’m excited for some hopeful conversation.”
Continuing with this idea of hope, there will be conversation leaders who will bring their unique stories. They have diverse missions all with the overarching theme of vulnerable children and viable communities.
Michael Gerson will be speaking in chapel on Feb. 28. He is an op-ed columnist for The Washington Post, and works with the ONE Campaign.
Shannan Martin will also be speaking at the conference. She is the author of “The Ministry of Ordinary Places: Waking Up to God’s Goodness Around You” and “Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted.”
Another conversation leader is Fazineh Keita, a former child soldier in Sierra Leone who managed to escape. He went on to write music that led political change in the government and became an advocate for transforming violence into shared love and beauty.
The final speaker the conference is bringing in is Sarah Quezada, author of “Love Undocumented: Risking Trust in a Fearful World.” She oversees the online community Welcome, which fosters conversation among Christian women seeking to live out Biblical hospitality.
Junior Maddie Schwarz, student director of the conference, is looking forward to hearing these leaders share their stories and experiences.
“One of them was a child soldier in Sierra Leone and he is going to be talking about his experience, and I’m really excited to hear his story,” Schwarz said.
The conference is designed to help attendees learn more about the sufferings of other people, understand how individuals are helping these under-resourced people, and turn that knowledge into hope.