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Valorie Coleman
Public Relations Director
College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, MO 65726
Office: (417) 690-2212
Email: pr@cofo.edu

February 25, 2020

College of the Ozarks hosts 2020 S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit Friday, Feb. 21

Area educators, business leaders, community members, and students listen to various speakers at the 2020 Poverty Summit.Area educators, business leaders, community members, and students listen to various speakers at the 2020 Poverty Summit.

College of the Ozarks hosts their annual Poverty Summit at The Keeter Center.College of the Ozarks hosts their annual Poverty Summit at The Keeter Center.

John Baltes, SDC Foundation president, shares on the panel of champions.John Baltes, SDC Foundation president, shares on the panel of champions.

Dr. Sue Head, vice president for cultural affairs and dean of character education, shares information from the Stone and Taney Counties Poverty Initiative.Dr. Sue Head, vice president for cultural affairs and dean of character education, shares information from the Stone and Taney Counties Poverty Initiative.

Susan McLarty presents as the keynote speaker for the 2020 Poverty Summit.Susan McLarty presents as the keynote speaker for the 2020 Poverty Summit.

The Roadmap for action on poverty

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks hosted the 2020 S. Truett Cathy Poverty Summit on Friday, Feb. 21. Nationally known speakers provided inspiration and the backdrop for area educators, business leaders, community members, and students to learn and share concerns and experiences.

A panel of area practitioners presented the current state of poverty initiatives in Stone and Taney counties. Over the past 20 months, the steering committee of the Stone and Taney Counties Poverty Initiative gathered input from a wide cross section of stakeholders in a guided “community conversation.” This community feedback provided a report called the Roadmap, which introduces action steps for reducing the rate of poverty in the region. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to change the trajectory of individuals and families in poverty. The panel presented a new framework for collectively moving forward to help neighbors in need.

Speakers for the summit

Susan McLarty, coordinator for the Greenville Homeless Alliance (GHA), was a featured speaker for the Poverty Summit. McLarty works with a broad public and private partnership to propel collective action to address homelessness in Greenville, South Carolina. GHA’s common agenda is to make homelessness brief and rare by increasing housing options for individuals and families experiencing homelessness and strengthening support services which will ensure stability and prevent future homelessness.

“Know that if you wait for someone else to solve those problems in your community, they won’t get solved,” McLarty said.  

David Moore, founder of Moore Strategic, was also a featured speaker. Moore is an accomplished facilitator and strategic consultant with more than 20 years of experience in the private and non-profit sectors. With extensive experience in a variety of facilitation approaches, styles and methods, he guides teams and organizations to produce results. Moore Strategic is committed to building high-performing impact organizations that are working to improve opportunities for others. Their role is primarily to serve as an organizational and community change catalyst.

There were 475 attendees at the Summit, including 196 education, family studies, and nursing students. Forty-three of these students were participating in a Big Questions in Society class designed uniquely for the Poverty Summit. Kortney Cambers, senior public relations major and student worker at The Keeter Center for Character Education, reflected on her experience assisting with the Summit.

“The Poverty Summit inspires students, first, by raising awareness of the need within the community. A general awareness of the poverty within the community equips students to become active citizens and agents of change,” Cambers said. “My preparation for the 2020 Poverty Summit enlightened me to the caring hearts within the Branson community. Countless citizens and organizational leaders present an eager determination to ignite positive change in Stone and Taney counties. I am thankful to play a small role in mobilizing this caring community to show those in need Christ’s love.”

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