Helping Utah's most vulnerable

Our speakers and panels will discuss the latest issues and trends, identify resources available for homeless youth in Utah, and share possible solutions to help them succeed.


KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Angel VanStark

40 of the Forty, True Fellows, & True Colors FunD

"I wake up and I'm grateful for the sky above me and the ground below me. If the sun can do it, I can, too!"

In America, up to 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The True Colors Fund works to end homelessness by creating a world in which young people can be their true selves.

As stated by the San Francisco Chronicle: "It's hard to believe that Angel VanStark was a homeless teen three years ago. VanStark, who identified as queer, prefers they/their pronouns and is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. When they arrived in San Francisco at age 19, they had no more than small change, a backpack, and a zest for life. With the help of organizations such as Larkin Street Youth Services and the LGBT Community Center, among others, VanStark found employment in the tech field, housing, and a new calling. VanStark now spends their life giving back. A member of the LGBT Center's Board of Directors, they helped the center organize a youth drop-in space. As the city's former youth commissioner, appointed to that post by District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, VanStark organized the first District 8 Youth Town Hall. The state director of California for the Campaign for the Presidential Youth Council, VanStark continues to advocate for queer/LGBT youth, for the transgender community, and for people of color."


PRESENTATION: LEGAL BARRIERS FACING YOUTH EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS

Nicole Lowe, Assistant Attorney General, State of Utah

PANEL DISCUSSION: LEGAL BARRIERS STOPING YOUTH FROM MOVING OFF THE STREET

What legal barriers do homeless youth face? How do they overcome the challenges to becoming independent, such as gaining employment, education, housing, access to addiction and mental health counseling, and government assistance? Unresolved legal issues can make these challenges even more difficult to overcome. Many homeless youth don't know where to go for legal services and for some there is nothing available. Furthermore, being homeless makes fulfilling court obligations nearly impossible and leads to the criminal justice system becoming a revolving door. Our panel will discuss the barriers homeless youth face, what services are available, and how we can help these youth overcome the legal barriers that stand in the way to self-sufficiency


PRESENTation: CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND ITS LASTING IMPACT ON LIVES

Rob Wesemann, Division Director of Homeless Services, Volunteers of America, Utah

PANEL DISCUSSION: Impact of Childhood Trauma and How to Heal the Individual

Childhood trauma isn't something you grow out of. The repeated stress of mental and verbal abuse, neglect, traumatic events, and parents who struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues impact individuals for a lifetime. Studies have proven there are real and lasting effects on brain development. In this panel discussion, we will discuss the types of trauma that have long-term effects, the impact of that trauma on individuals, and how Trauma Informed Care is being used to help clients begin the healing process that allows for trusting relationships to begin forming again.


EXHIBITS

Throughout the morning, representatives from the agencies that serve at-risk and homeless youth in Utah will be available to answer questions and exchange contact information.