With a 2020 flair to our annual A View from All Sides conference, we welcomed over 500 attendees to our first ever virtual conference. Going virtual allowed our partners to send more of their staff than in past years and made it accessible to our partners further away from Boston, all while ensuring attendees’ health and safety.
“I am thrilled that the Children's Trust jumped right in months ago to determine whether there would be any interest in a virtual Conference,” said one attendee. “It turned out to be so great in so many ways! It felt professional, energizing, inviting in spite of the fact that it was online.”
Our keynote speaker, Robert Brooks, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Faculty Member of Harvard Medical School, was engaging and thoughtful, interacting with the virtual audience and helping attendees feel connected to the day. He spoke about overcoming compassion fatigue and strategies for self-care and wellbeing for those who care for others. Following Dr. Brooks remarks, we held 8 virtual sessions focusing on topics that are relevant to today’s environment, from building resiliency to adapting program services during COVID-19 to confronting racism and unconscious bias. Many of the workshops focused on the growing stress and anxiety felt by both caregivers and families in the midst of the pandemic.
With more speakers lined up than was possible in a virtual environment, we have also launched Family Support Fridays, a monthly online training opportunity, to keep the momentum and virtual collaboration going. While initially intending to hold 4 webinars following the conference, we are continuing to host them into the spring due to high demand and excitement. Webinars have covered topics such as nurturing children who have experienced traumatic stress to dealing with prolonged pandemic anxiety. Each webinar has attracted close to 200 attendees and we continue to receive positive feedback from participants.
While we are all anxiously awaiting a return to normalcy, the use of virtual technology has opened new doors for our training work, expanding access to even more family support professionals across the state.