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Georgia Southern University hosts 34th annual National Youth Advocacy and Resilience Conference March 5-8

NYAR National Youth Advocacy and Resilience

Georgia Southern University’s College of Education (COE) will host the 34th annual National Youth Advocacy and Resilience Conference (NYAR) at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Savannah  March 5-8.

The conference brings together more than 1,200 professionals in education, social work, law enforcement, counseling and other child and family advocacy entities from around the country for quality, relevant training to better serve youth.

“This year’s NYAR conference is sure to be inspiring, rejuvenating and full of practical strategies to support youth and the adults who serve them,” said Alisa Leckie, Ph.D., Georgia Southern associate professor of English Learner Education and NYAR co-chair. “With nearly 100 sessions across the five strands — home, health, heart, head and hand — educators, counselors, social workers, school safety officers and law enforcement will be able to learn from and connect with colleagues from across the country.”

NYAR continues to provide quality training for all professionals interested in the well-being of youth, including but not limited to: teachers at all levels, principals and assistant principals, school counselors and psychologists, health and human service counselors and personnel, criminal justice professionals, business and community leaders, volunteer service providers, marriage and family therapists, and social workers.

Attendees will hear from three keynote speakers and benefit from their choice of more than 120 training sessions during the event. The conference aims to help professionals create safe, healthy, caring and intellectually empowering educational environments for children and adolescents. 

The keynote speakers at the 2023 NYAR Conference include Joe Johnson, Ph.D., Joelle Hood, Ed.D., and Sam Stecher.

Johnson is a former standout college athlete who understands the importance of education and developing individuals and organizations in as many ways as possible. As a licensed school counselor, he has worked in a variety of K-12 school settings. In addition, he has done extensive work with undergraduate and graduate populations, corporate organizations and entrepreneurs. Serving as an educator, mentor, trainer, peak performance coach and entrepreneur leader across the country, Johnson continues to transform the lives of individuals and organizations by shifting mindsets, which translates into purposeful thinking, acting and living.

As a former Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year, Hood brings passion, energy and expertise to empower others to thrive. As co-founder and chief empowerment officer at Thriving YOUniversity, she uses her knowledge and expertise in organizational change and leadership, along with her experience as a mindfulness instructor and life coach, to provide researched-based keynotes, coaching and experiential learning workshops to individuals and organizations throughout the nation. Her areas of passion and expertise include: social, emotional and academic learning, leadership, applied educational neuroscience, mindfulness, the science of belonging and human connection, mindset, restorative practices, employee engagement, trust and team-building, trauma-responsive practices, and resilience.

Stecher is an educator, author and entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience. He has provided instruction, training and leadership at every level, from elementary schools to university institutions. Through his platform,, and opportunities to speak at conferences, schools and businesses, Stecher has connected with thousands of people from Hawaii to Georgia. 

For more information on the 2023 NYAR Conference, visit or contact Akilah King at 912-478-5555 or


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