National Conference Draws Federal Officials, Youth Workers to Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona (November 10, 2014) - More than 650 youth service workers and numerous federal officials from across the country gathered in Phoenix for the Family and Youth Services Bureau's (FYSB) 2014 National Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Grantees Conference, which took place November 11-13 at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak. During the two-and-a-half-day event, participants celebrated the 40th anniversary of the RHY Act and attended several networking and educational sessions.

"We were very excited to be in Phoenix for the 2014 FYSB National RHY Grantees Conference to network with peers and learn about innovative and rising trends in the youth services field," said Laurie Jackson, President/CEO of National Safe Place Network (NSPN), the agency that administers the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC). "We were also honored to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the RHY Act, a historic piece of legislation that provides funding for programs working to address the needs of runaway and homeless youth."

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

40th Anniversary of RHY Act Celebration - Grantees reception honored the 40th anniversary of the signing of the RHY Act. This event included popular music from the past 40 years, a musical peformance by a youth from the Valley Youth House program and a candlelight vigil in honor of National Runaway Prevention Month.

Luncheon and Keynote Address - The National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth (NCFY) presented the winner of their mural contest. Matt D'Arrigo, Founder/CEO of A Reason to Survive (ARTS), delivered the keynote address along with Jessica Petrikowski, ARTS student and featured guest. ARTS is a nationally-recognized non-profit agency using arts and creativity to generate positive change and transformation in the lives of children and youth facing adversity.

Screening of The Homestretch - Grantees and conference participants viewed The Homestretch, a documentary film that follows three homeless teenagers as they brave Chicago winters, the pressures of high school and life alone on the streets to build a brighter future. Learn more about the film at: http://www.homestretchdoc.com/

Since 2012, NSPN has managed RHYTTAC, the training and technical assistance provider for more than 600 FYSB-funded RHY grantees across the country. RHYTTAC services are designed to supply grantee programs with tools and information which help lead to positive outcomes for children, youth and families in their communities. RHYTTAC is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services' FYSB.