RICHMOND – Two dynamic keynote speakers are on the agenda for the free regional summit, Building Blocks of an Empowered Community: Resilient, Responsive, Ready to Learn, scheduled for Aug. 16-17 at the Golden Leaf Commons.

Sponsored by a partnership between the Greensville Memorial Foundation and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, the summit will explore the profound impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on a child’s ability to be successful and ready to learn. Expert speakers and panelists will discuss a variety of topics to help individuals and local community systems cultivate an environment of resilience and responsiveness that will support families and children who have been exposed to trauma.

Jason Davis is the morning keynote speaker on Aug. 16 on the topic of Reimagining Justice. As a peace advocate, author, poet, gang specialist and mental health advocate, Davis travels the world to educate society about the experiences of gang members and the consequences of communities that suffer from social isolation. His influence as a high-ranking gang member has allowed him to assist communities in addressing gang-related violence. Currently, he is the Family Engagement Specialist/Crisis Intervention Specialist for Living Redemption Youth Opportunity Hub in Harlem, N.Y.

During the afternoon of Aug. 16, Isael Torres will share his thoughts on the topic of Culturally Relevant Teaching and the importance of offering educational justice for youth and the community. Torres holds a master’s degree from the University of Utah.

He centers his academic and professional focus on issues of social justice and equity within systems of education and community organization. The founder of Utah Latinx Youth Symposium, a statewide program that creates mentoring pathways between high school students and young Latinx professionals in Utah, he also serves as an advisor to the student government of the University of Utah.

Early childhood stakeholders in communities across the Commonwealth have embraced ACEs strategies in an effort to create a trauma-informed Virginia. The summit is open to parents and to any organization or individual working with young children and their families throughout Emporia, Brunswick County and Greensville County. Although the event is free, registration is required for planning purposes. To register for the summit or to get updates about the agenda, visit http://www.vecf.org/aces-summit/.

“We must support the development of strong, healthy children and families if we want our community to thrive,” said Dr. Kim Evans, superintendent of Greensville County Public Schools. “This free event offers a unique opportunity to hear from expert speakers about promoting community resilience to the potentially negative impacts of trauma in childhood. I encourage everyone involved in the lives of young children to register for the summit.”