8th Annual Community Training: “Balance: Striving for Progress for Families & Communities”

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8th Annual Community Training: “Balance: Striving for Progress for Families & Communities”

March 13 @ 8:30 am - 12:30 pm


Please join Bester Community of Hope for the 8th Annual Community Training titled “Balance: Striving for Progress for Families & Communities” at the Maryland Theatre on March 13, 2024. The last several trainings have sold out prior to event day, so don’t wait to get your tickets! Register HERE.


Dave Pelzer has experienced a truly extraordinary life. At age 12 Dave was rescued and placed in a series of foster homes until he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18. Even with all that was against him, Dave was determined to better himself – no matter what the odds. Dave shared his experiences with the world as an author and his first book, A Child Called “It” was on the New York Times Best Sellers List for a record setting six years. Dave was the first author to have four # 1 International Best Sellers and to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Dave is a living testament of a self-made man who has dedicated his life to helping others, to help themselves, and his books have been a catalyst for social change.

Dr. Amelia Franck Meyer, a 34-year veteran of child welfare, is the Founder and CEO of the national non-profit, Alia. Her organization supports innovative systems leaders to work alongside impacted parents, communities, and partners to build new ways to keep children safely with, not from their families. Amelia has been recognized as an author, speaker, and changemaker including being named as one of People Magazine’s “25 Women Changing the World” in 2018. Amelia has a widely viewed TEDx Talk on the Human Need for Belonging. Amelia is also the recipient of two prestigious fellowships: a Bush Fellowship and an Ashoka Fellowship.

Dr. William C. Bell became President and Chief Executive Officer of Casey Family Programs in January 2006. He chairs the Executive Team and is ultimately responsible for the vision, mission, strategies, and objectives of the foundation. Bell has more than 40 years of experience in the human services field. Bell earned his Ph.D. in social welfare from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, his Master of Social Work degree from Hunter College School of Social Work, and his bachelor’s in biology and behavioral science degree from Delta State University.

Rebecca Jones Gaston is the commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, at the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to her confirmation by the U.S. Senate in December 2022, Jones Gaston was the child welfare director for the state of Oregon’s Department of Human Services, and prior to that as the Executive Director of the Maryland Department of Social Services.

Heather Forbes is the owner of the Beyond Consequences Institute (BCI) and author of Classroom 180. She has worked in the field of trauma and healing since 1999. Heather is an internationally published author on the topics of raising children with difficult and severe behaviors, the impact of trauma on the developing child, adoptive motherhood, and self-development. Much of her experience and insight on understanding trauma, disruptive behaviors, and adoption-related issues comes from her direct mothering experience of her two adopted children and mentoring a severely trauma-impacted young adult. Click Here to learn more about “The Language of Trauma” from Heather Forbes.

Learn more about the important work happening everyday for families and communities at Bester Community of Hope through our website


March 13
8:30 am - 12:30 pm


The Maryland Theatre
27 S. Potomac St
Hagerstown, MD 21740 United States
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