Parent Symposium Breakout Speakers

During the day, you'll have the opportunity to attend two breakout sessions. Here's a list of our speakers:

Trying Softer with Ourselves + Our Kids

Speaker: Aundi Kolber MA, LPC

About Aundi: Aundi Kolber is a licensed professional counselor [MA, LPC] and author of the critically acclaimed Try Softer as well as her best-selling book, Strong like Water. She has received additional training in her specialization of trauma- and body-centered therapies and is passionate about the integration of faith and psychology. Aundi regularly speaks at local and national events, and she has appeared on Good Morning America as well as podcasts such as The Lazy Genius with Kendra Adachi, Typology, and The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman. As a survivor of trauma, Aundi brings hard-won knowledge about the work of change, the power of redemption, and the beauty of experiencing God with us in our pain.

Session Description: In a culture obsessed with a try harder gospel, it makes sense that not only does this affect our kids, it affects parents and caregivers, too. Many of us have learned that the only response to pain or hardship is to white-knuckle through it—and this influences everything we do, including how we care for our kids. But what if there’s a different way? Join therapist and author, Aundi Kolber, as we learn to compassionately care for kids, cultivate true resilience, and try softer.

Faith, Parenting, and the Apocalypse: Why talking to your kids about faith gets harder, why it freaks you out, and what you can do

Speaker: Steve Argue

About Steve: Steven Argue, PhD [Michigan State University], is Associate Professor of Youth, Family, and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Applied Research Strategist at the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI). He has authored "Young Adult Ministry Now", co-authored three more books, and was a contributor to several others. Steve lives in Southern California, eats vegetarian, and runs marathons. He’s @stevenargue on social media platforms.

Session Description: Some of you have tried to do it right, like getting your kids to Sunday School, doing baptism, driving them to youth group, and trying to pray together. Others of you feel guilty because you think you've dropped the spiritual ball somewhere along the way. Every parent panics at some point as their kids start thinking or living differently than their parents envisioned. Faith and doubt are real, super-charged, and disorienting even for parents. This seminar is for you if you're looking for a compassionate space to talk about your kid's faith and yours [no judgment], if you want new categories to help you understand what may be unfolding in your kid's faith journey [and yours], and if you seek renewed courage to grow with your kids based on research and theology [you've got this]. Believe that with young people and faith, it's not the end of the world but the beginning of a new chapter.

Engaged Enneagram Parenting

Speaker: Amy Venn Shepard

About Amy: As a Certified Enneagram Coach with a Marriage and Family Endorsement, Amy is committed to and experienced in bringing understanding and healing to struggling families. With decades of Enneagram application and training in business, church, volunteer and family settings, Amy has a broad and deep pool of knowledge and experience to serve her clients most effectively.

Session Description: The enneagram is a powerful tool to gain insight into your parenting strengths. Learn the gifts each enneagram type brings to parenting and get curious about your loved ones potential enneagram type.

Bringing Up Freedom Fighters

Speaker: Denise Kingdom

About Denise: Rev. Dr. Denise Kingdom is the Pastor of Mobilization and Renewal at Mars Hill. She is also a RCA Missionary to South Africa where she works with the local church and community to secure loving families for orphaned and vulnerable children in the village of Botshabelo. She is a pastor, theologian and community connector who lives in Holland with her two college aged children.

Session Description: We'll explore multiple approaches to prepare middle and high school students for a lifelong commitment to justice work. Attendees get to learn from grassroots efforts and materials created to help learners move from head knowledge to embodied participation as faithful Freedom Fighters for justice.

Empowering Parents: Navigating Neurodiversity + Behavior Solutions

Speaker: Cynthya [Thya] Littell

About Thya: With over 25 years of experience and a strong educational background, Thya, a Parent Coach with a BS in Child and Family Psychology from Northwestern University and a Masters from the Parent Coaching Institute at Seattle University, specializes in helping parents raise emotionally healthy and productive neurodivergent children. Her unique, personalized approach focuses on understanding your family's dynamics, strengths, and patterns to address and improve your child's behavior. Thya supports parents by enhancing their current skills and providing simple techniques for nurturing emotionally healthy and productive neurodivergent children.

Session Description: This session is all about what you need. What is that one behavior your neurodivergent child displays that drives you bananas; the one that you have tried everything under the sun to correct, yet it still persists? We will be talking about those behaviors during this breakout session. You will have the opportunity to share your story, and she will help you come up with solutions that will work especially for you.

Becoming The Best Version of Myself [RESET]

Speaker: Antwan Brown

About Antwan: As a dedicated Father, Husband, Mentor, and Business Professional, he's been blessed to use his own lived experiences to help others by sharing knowledge, practices, and stories helping to create healthy pathways to better life outcomes.

Session Description: In this session parents will identify "what the best version of themselves" would be like, and their HOPE for how it will impact those closest to them. They will accomplish this by visioning/documenting the character traits, habits, social/economical goals, and behaviors needed for personal growth and development. They learn to use the RESET method developed by Antwan J. Brown.

Parenting with Purpose: It Begins with Why

Speaker: Melanie Zwyghuizen

About Melanie: Melanie is a professional educator [M.Ed + Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator] who has over 30 years of experience working with kids and families of all kinds. She is also a mother of 3 grown adults. Helping families is her passion and life’s work. Her mission is to support families through all ages and stages. Her curriculum is full of practical advice and encouragement that leads families toward increased connection and a more rewarding family life.

Session Description: Do you feel like most days you’re just living the “let’s just make it through the day,” mantra like so many? Understandable! With the many challenges of parenting and demands for our family’s time, it can be all too easy to get caught up in this day to day survival mode. Yet God promises life…to the fullest! This session is for you if you’d like to lean into what that might look like for you and your family and move the needle from just surviving toward thriving.

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