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Archive for the ‘Shared Services Network’ Category

Lake County Shared Services Network is hosting the 9th Annual Child Protection Conference on Thursday, May 10, from 8 to 3:30 p.m. at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills.

This year’s conference will welcome 400 attendees representing social services, government, law enforcement, and school personnel from across the state. Keynote speakers include Erin Gruwell of the Freedom Writers Foundation and Tina Meier from the Megan Meier Foundation.

Attendees will receive current information and strategies to reach at-risk students and awareness of online bullying and its consequences to youth. They will also have the opportunity to meet the speakers and purchase their products. More than 20 social service agencies will also be on hand to share local resources.

ERIN GRUWELL — In January 2007, Paramount Pictures released “Freedom Writers,” starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Gruwell. The film is based on The Freedom Writers Diary, the New York Times bestseller that chronicled Gruwell’s extraordinary journey with 150 high school students who had been written off by the education system. By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity, she transformed her students’ lives. She encouraged them to re-think rigid beliefs about themselves and others, reconsider daily decisions, and ultimately re-chart their futures. With Erin’s support, they chose to forego teenage pregnancy, drugs, and violence to become aspiring college students, published writers, and citizens for change. They dubbed themselves the “Freedom Writers” — in homage to civil rights activists The Freedom Riders — and published a book. She decided to channel her classroom experiences toward a broader cause. Erin founded the Freedom Writers Foundation where she currently teaches teachers around the country how to implement her innovative lesson plans into their own classrooms. Recently, Erin’s teaching methods from her time in Room 203 have been published in the Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide. Proceeds from the sale of all books directly fund the Freedom Writers Foundation.

TINA MEIER — On Oct. 16, 2006, Meier’s life took a devastating turn when she found her 13-year-old daughter Megan Meier hanging from her bedroom closet. All attempts were made to save Megan, but unfortunately she passed away on Oct. 17, 2006, just weeks from her 14th birthday. Approximately five weeks prior to her passing, a 16-year-old boy by the name of Josh Evans, contacted Megan through her MySpace account and they began a friendship. Tina Meier, allowed Megan to have a MySpace account with many restrictions and under her watchful eye. Unfortunately, on that fateful day of October 16, 2006, Josh Evans and Megan began to have an argument over MySpace. A few others joined in and the horrible world of cyberbullying began with messages and bulletins going out to hundreds of kids. Six weeks after Megan’s suicide, Tina Meier, was informed that Josh Evans never existed. In fact, it was Lori Drew, an adult neighbor that lived down the street, her 13-year-old daughter, which was Megan’s former friend and an 18-year-old employee that worked out of Lori Drew’s home. In December 2007, Tina Meier, founded the non-profit Megan Meier Foundation. The foundation’s mission statement is to “Bring Awareness, Education and Promote Positive Change to Children, Parents and Educators in Response to the Ongoing Bullying and Cyberbullying in Our Children’s Daily Environment.”

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