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Conference to focus on orphan care

By: 1 February 2011 4 Comments

ROGERS–When most people hear the word “orphan,” they think of a child whose both parents have died and they assume the best option is adoption.

Neither is necessarily true. An orphan is any child who has been removed from his or her family (including foster care). While adoption is a solution in some cases, there are ways to help those who are already removed from their parents, and to prevent that removal in the first place.

A conference coming Feb. 25-26 to Rogers will break the usual stereotypes surrounding the idea of orphans and their care.

Idea Camp: Orphan Care will include information and sessions with orphan care experts from all over Northwest Arkansas, the nation and the world.

The real work will come when participants and those leaders come together to discuss practical ideas and solutions to very real problems. A focus will be the entire church community’s role in orphan care.

“The main session speakers will be available for questions and answers,” said Mike Rusch, co-coordinator for Idea Camp: Orphan Care. “We want many dialogues to happen where people discuss where things are falling through the cracks and then collaborate on how to fill that space.

“By that collaboration, we can come up with answers.”

The format for the event will be to have a main session where all the main speakers will take turns sharing their respective stories. Then there will be workshops where various issues will be discussed. Much of the event will be telecast live and taped for future online viewing.

Rusch said the concepts being discussed will include:

* the global state of the orphan;
* what happens when orphans are not cared for;
* adoption and the foster care system; and
* what can be done in means of pre-emptive orphan care—in other words, what can be done to prevent children from being forced to leave their parents’ care?

“We will facilitate fresh, honest and transformative conversations with leading thinkers on topics including adoption, foster care, child sponsorship, community development, U.S. and international care, trafficking and orphan care, special needs, cross-cultural and religious boundaries, and many more,” according to the event synopsis.

Amber Haines of therunamuck.com, is coordinating bloggers who have been writing about this issue and the conference.

“My role as a blogger is to coordinate a team of bloggers with social media presence to become a unified voice for the orphan, to spread the word about Idea Camp Orphan Care Conference, where advocates will join in one great collaborative effort to lessen the number of orphans on a global and local scale,” she said.

Using blogs as a tool in marketing is important in business, but also the non-profit world.

“The voices of bloggers have become valuable from everything to marketing toilet paper to encouarging women to be more creative with their cooking. When a blogger has consistent high traffic, that means she has earned trust with her readers. People take time out of their day to take in the words offered. When bloggers join for one cause, especially one as important as orphan care, we can potentially reach tens of thousands of people even in one day,” Haines said. “If a business expects a 3-percent return on investment when using bloggers for advertisement, then bloggers should at least expect the same when using their influence to better this world. Only we aren’t talking dollars here. We’re talking changed lives, and not only the life of a child.”

Haines hopes people from all over will come join the discussion in February.

“One hundred sixty-three million (orphans worldwide) is a large number, and I believe that Idea Camp: Orphan Care will help us see past the number and into the actual lives of the fatherless,” she said. “We’ll become acquainted with organizations who are doing tangible things to address the poverty and vulnerability of children here in our own county and of children across the globe, even ones trapped in lives of trafficking. This is an opportunity to share your ideas and address your concerns with those who have lived to see children restored to health in a holistic way.”

For more information about Idea Camp: Orphan Care or to register, visit www.theideacamp.com, or these social networking sites:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/theideacamp
Twitter: @theideacamp, #ICOrphan
Ning: http://theideacamp.ning.com

Disclaimer: The writer of this article is sponsoring this event through her company, Jamie’s Notebook. Some of the information for this article is from the press release she produced.
About: Jamie Smith:
Experienced reporter who is now an entrepreneur. Jamie's Notebook offers writing services including press releases, corporate blogging and feature writing.

4 Comments »

  • Dana Bertrand said:

    My husband and I have purchased an old hotel in central Arkansas. We have planned to renovate it into condos or apts. But I mentioned to him one day that the EASIEST thing to make it into would be an orphanage…after reading an article about all the homeless children in our county alone. We have backgrounds in education and own our own insurance agency…we really don’t want to “operate” an orphanage…but if there is a need…we might make our building one…but we have no idea of where to start looking into the restrictions or support for such an endeavor. Your conference might be a place for us to come for information…or not. Your response would be appreciated. Dana and Bob

  • Jamie (author) said:

    Dana,
    I’m the author of this story. The conference happened earlier this year but I let me suggest that you contact the folks at The CALL http://www.thecallinarkansas.org/ and Cobblestone Project http://www.cobblestoneproject.org/ might be places to start to get info on ICOrphan (the conference).

    Hope this helps.

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