Youth service workers from around the country gathered in Louisville for National Safe Place Network’s (NSPN) FOCUS 2014 Conference – “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” October 1 – 3, at The Brown Hotel. Attendees networked with their peers and discussed ideas of significance related to strengthening youth and family services.

“This conference provided a great opportunity for youth service providers to learn about emerging and best practices in their field,” said Laurie Jackson, President/CEO of NSPN. “As this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, we celebrated the tremendous work that has taken place to provide critical services while continuing to address the evolving needs of young people in this country.”

For over 30 years, NSPN has provided training and technical support for youth and family service organizations. The Focus 2014 conference combines the past efforts of National Safe Place and Youth and Family Services Network – now NSPN.

In addition to conference workshops and seminars, major events included:

Wednesday, October 1, 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.: Opening Session and Keynote

  • Keynote delivered by Justin Reed Early, author of STREET CHILD: A Memoir and public speaker who was homeless for much of his adolescent and teenage years. Mr. Early also appeared in the 1984 Academy Award-nominated documentary, Streetwise.

Wednesday, October 1, Noon – 1:30 p.m.: Awards Ceremony and Luncheon

Several awards were distributed to individuals, companies and organizations, including:

  • Model Program Award – Clark County Youth Shelter and Family Services; Jeffersonville, Indiana.
  • HEROES for Youth Award – Pamela A. Johnson (1953-2014). This annual award celebrates individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the services provided to at-risk youth.

Thursday, October 2, 9:00 – 10:15 a.m.: General Session and Keynote

  • Keynote delivered by Dr. Christian Conte, licensed professional counselor, nationally-certified psychologist and Level V anger management specialist. Dr. Conte has over 16,000 hours of clinical counseling experience and is the founder of Yield Theory. His books and videos are used to train and educate people from universities to state prison institutions. He travels throughout the country to bring a message of compassion, peace and acceptance.

FOCUS 2014 was made possible with the support of NSPN’s Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and member agencies. For more information, visit

About National Safe Place Network

National Safe Place Network (NSPN) provides quality training and technical support for youth and family service organizations across the country. Along with being a leading membership organization offering tailored organizational development, training, and professional development packages, NSPN also operates the nationally recognized programs Safe Place, Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC), and HTR3. To learn more, please visit