In its 9th year, Reach Out was proud to host the National Innovative Communities Conference at the Ontario Convention Center. The two-day conference, focused on the health and wellbeing of our communities, provided training, networking, and informative resources to hundreds of stakeholders across the region. What makes this conference so unique is its true reflection of the Inland Southern California landscape. County and city government representatives mingled and networked with educators, parents, law enforcement, business owners, non-profits, and faith-based organizations. In the spirit of collaboration, the Inland Empire Healthy Cities Summit was imbedded into the programming, providing leaders from both Riverside and San Bernardino counties the opportunity to convene and discuss ways to improve the region's health outcomes through policy initiatives.
This year was structured to provide something for the entire family with workshops for parents, a youth track for the teens, and day care services provided by Reach Out's Nurturing Parenting Program. There were over 50 unique sessions offered including several plenaries that addressed critical topics like domestic violence, teen drug use, immigration, coalition building, the future of technology, community health work, city planning, positive parenting, and much, much more. IHPC headed up the youth track with topics like mental health, suicide prevention, leadership, overcoming obstacles, social media awareness, and healthcare careers.
The entertainment was not to be missed this year with special live performance art by acclaimed artist Gregory Adamson who paints upside to music, often using his bare hands. The canvas is then turned right side up to reveal a finished painting. The conference ended with a young Aztec dance troupe whose rhythmic drums, intricate costumes and colorful head pieces mesmerized the crowd. It was a beautiful culmination to a conference that reflects the diversity of our region. The time we had together flew by way too fast and before we knew it we were headed home with new friends, a wealth of information, and a renewed commitment to the place we call home - Inland Empire.