During the 3rd week of September, TNOYS partnered with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to host the Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth (TEHCY) Program Summit, convening more than 1,200 youth-serving professionals from across Texas. Over two days, attendees gained valuable training on the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and opportunities to learn alongside youth with lived experience.
Led by the theme Spotlight on Resilience, attendees enjoyed engaging and interactive sessions, workshops, and activities that encouraged them to tap into their own resilience and that of the children and youth they serve.
Pre-Summit and Day 1
The event started on Friday, September 11th with pre-summit programming specifically for ESC and TEHCY Subgrantees.
On Tuesday, September 15th, Liz Murray opened up the summit with an amazing keynote address that detailed her story, and connected to broader themes of resilience and support. Professionals then attended various workshops and webinars, where attendees explored topics such as McKinney-Vento fundamentals, working with a Continuum of Care, creating a trauma-informed school community, and much more.
During a mid-day break, Austin-based musician MALIXIMUS delivered an amazing performance on guitar, singing on themes of community and equity! And to further embody this year’s theme, Spotlight on Resilience, we also welcomed Lyric Wardlow from TNOYS, Yvette Cambell from The Cove, and Cal Lopez from the Texas Education Agency for an insightful panel discussion on lessons learned from youth homelessness.
Program Summit Day 2
On the second full day of the program summit, attendees got started with a block of workshops across six topic tracks.
Topics included college resources for foster care alumni, the experiences of youth experiencing homelessness while participating in english learner programs, as well as understanding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The full group came together again for a fantastic performance by Kelley MCrae, an incredible guitarist and vocalist. For the day’s keynote, attendees heard from Dr. Victor Rios. Dr. Rios gave an excellent talk on his personal experience and emphasized the importance of focusing on both resilience and prosperity for the youth we serve.
After lunch, the day continued with additional afternoon workshops, featuring an overview of how to provide services to LGBTQ+ students by Alex Polk as well as a panel discussion of young people from the Austin Youth Collective.
This all led into a special closing led by the TEHCY State Program Coordinator, featuring a video of youth sharing their stories on what they would have told their past selves.
While this year’s conference took place virtually, TEA & TNOYS was thrilled to see such fantastic participation from so many professionals across the state. It was exciting to see attendees from different backgrounds come together to build skills and explore important topics that were central to this year’s theme. We hope that each and every attendee left feeling empowered and encouraged to tap into their own resilience and that of the children and youth they serve.