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YSS Pop-up Virtual Conference Tackles Challenges Facing At-risk Youth

Posted 04/09/20

For Immediate Release
April 9, 2020
Contact: Betsy Bethel-McFarland,


WHEELING, W.Va.  —  Prevention Services at Youth Services System Inc., a local nonprofit agency that serves vulnerable youth, will host a free virtual conference on Monday, April 13, for professionals and community members who have an interest in learning more about challenges facing youth today.

Amy GambleThe Issues for At-Risk Youth Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, via Zoom, and will feature keynote speaker Amy Gamble, pictured left, a nationally known mental health advocate and former Olympian who hails from Sherrard. Gamble will discuss growing trends and challenges in adolescent mental health.

Additional topics include: mandated reporting training, prevention tips and gaming addiction.

The pop-up conference was organized by Bethany Goddard, a project coordinator in YSS Prevention Services. She is working from home to follow the stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic, but conceived this conference last week to continue providing much-needed prevention education to the community. In addition, it gives others who are working from home or off work an opportunity to learn while practicing social distancing.

Demand for such opportunities is high. Goddard and the Prevention Services team were able to book speakers almost immediately and on Tuesday started taking online registrations through Eventbrite. Registration was capped at 80, and by Wednesday night, all spots were filled.

“The collaborations among the professionals and agencies involved was impressive and imperative for bridging the gap between prevention efforts, community coalitions and youth services. Overall, the goal is to educate those who serve at-risk youth and to strengthen the resiliency of our future — which, of course, is our youth,” Goddard said.

The conference is supported by a the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau of Behavioral Health.

For more information or resources for serving at-risk youth, email Goddard at

Issues for At Risk Youth: A Conference for Professionals & Community Members

  • 8:30-9:30 a.m. Let’s Talk Mental Health by Amy Gamble
  • 9:40-10:30 a.m.The Growing Trends & Challenges in Adolescent Mental Health by Amy Gamble
  • 10:45 a.m.-noonEveryone’s an Asset Builder Integrating Developmental Assets into Your Life by Melody Osborne, Region VI Specialist for the West Virginia Adolescent Health Initiative
  • Noon-1 p.m. Lunch break
  • 1-2:10 p.m. — Mandated Reporter Training by Susan J. Harrison, executive director, CASA for Children Inc.
  • 2:15-3 p.m. 7 Keys to Effective Prevention by Tammy L. Collins, Ph.D., lead evaluator & family scientist for WV Kids Count, Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery
  • 3:10-4 p.m.Youth Gaming & Gambling: Blurred Lines by Sheila Moran, internationally certified gambling counselor
  • 4:10-4:30 p.m.Questions & Answers 

About Youth Services System, Inc.

Youth Services System, Inc.’s mission is “to create better futures for children, families and our community.” YSS is committed to responding to the complex needs of youth at serious risk. For 45 years, Youth Services System, Inc. has reached thousands of youth and their families with our shelter, residential, community-based and professional services. Together with youth and their families, we work to improve their physical and emotional well-being, to address the debilitating effects of abuse, addiction, and trauma, and to build the skills and connections they need to be successful. Accredited by CARF International, YSS is supported by our volunteer Board of Directors, dedicated staff and faithful community, allowing us to make a measurable impact in the lives of youth. For more information, visit