Introducing the TEHCY Program Summit Speakers


TNOYS is excited to partner with Texas Education Agency (TEA) for this year’s virtual Texas Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program Summit, coming up Tuesday, September 15 and Thursday, September 17. 

We invite you to join us for two days of sessions, speakers, and activities that will explore the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and strategies to support Texas’ students experiencing homelessness. Led by this year’s theme, Spotlight on Resilience, attendees will build concrete skills, earn CEUs, and learn how they can tap into their own resilience and that of the children and youth they serve.

This year, we’re pleased to welcome keynote speakers Liz Murray and Dr. Victor Rios: two dynamic advocates for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Learn more about the speakers below, and register for the summit here.


Liz Murray, Keynote Speaker

From homeless to Harvard…it is an unlikely turn of events. Liz Murray’s life is a triumph over adversity and a stunning example of the importance of dreaming big. Murray was raised in the Bronx by two loving but drug-addicted parents. She grew up in poverty, often without enough food, chronically absent from school and most of all, struggling to connect her education to a viable future.

By age 15, Murray’s mom had died and she was homeless—living on the streets, riding the subway all night, and eating from dumpsters. Amidst this pain, Murray always imagined her life could be much better than it was. “I started to grasp the value of the lessons learned while living on the streets. I knew after overcoming those daily obstacles that next to nothing could hold me down.” Determined to take charge of her life, and with the support of an upstairs neighbor and trusted family friend named Arthur, Murray finished high school in just two years and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University, all while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations.

Today, Murray is a passionate advocate for underserved youth. As Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Arthur Project, a mentoring program that works intensively with at-risk youth through the duration of middle school, Murray is working to end generational poverty through relationship-based learning. She believes that when it comes to a child facing even the most extreme adversity, it is having a relationship with at least one caring, dedicated adult that can make all the difference.

Murray graduated from Harvard in 2009 and received her Masters degree in the Psychology of Education at Columbia University. She is passionate about speaking on the importance of personal motivation, transforming problems into opportunities, and what it takes to make a difference in people’s lives.


Victor Rios, Keynote Speaker

Dr. Victor Rios is Associate Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California Berkeley in 2005.

Professor Rios has worked with local school districts to develop programs and curricula aimed at improving the quality of interactions between authority figures and youths. Using his personal experience of living on the streets, dropping out of school, and being incarcerated as a juvenile–along with his research findings–he has developed interventions for marginalized students aimed at promoting personal transformation and civic engagement. These programs have been implemented in Los Angeles, California (Watts), juvenile detention facilities, and alternative high schools.

He is the author of six books including My Teacher Believes in Me: The Educator’s Guide to At-Promise Students (2019), Street Life: Poverty, Gangs, and a Ph.D. (2011), Buscando Vida, Encontrando Exito: La Fuerza de La Cultura Latina en la Educacion (2016), and Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth (2017).

Dr. Rios has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ted Talks, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Primer Impacto, and National Public Radio. He has had the honor of meeting President Obama and advising his administration on gun violence and policing. His Ted Talk “Help for kids the education system ignores” has garnered over 1.4 Million views. He is the subject of the documentary film, The Pushout.

Registration for the TEHCY Program Summit ends September 7th. Learn more and register on the summit web page.

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