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RACA Spring Symposium - When Disaster Strikes
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RACA 2018 Spring Symposium: When Disaster Strikes

When: Friday, March 16, 2018
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Where: South University
2151 Old Brick Road
Glen Allen, Virginia  23060
United States
Contact: Mallory McMullin
VCA Office -; 800-225-8103

Online registration is closed.
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Richmond Area Counselors Association's

(A chapter of the Virginia Counselors Association)

3rd Annual Spring Symposium -  When Disaster Strikes

Attendees can earn up to 5 NBCC Contact Hours


RACA Spring Symposium Program (CLICK HERE)



$35 RACA Members/$45 Nonmembers/$15 Students

(Registration fee includes lunch)



Registration and Breakfast:  8:00-9:00 AM
Concurrent Session A:  9:00 - 10:30 AM (Karla Allen, Ram Bhagat and Karin Bhagat)
Concurrent Session B:  10:45-11:45 AM (Mike Olex, Santa Sorenson and Adria)
Lunch Panel Session:  12:00-1:30 PM

Concurrent C:  1:45-2:45 PM (Mitchel Reid & Benjamin Keyes)


Session 1: 9:00-10:30 AM

Mental Health Deployment in times of Crisis and Disaster: Standards, Ethics, and Intervention

Benjamin Keyes, PhD, EdD, NCC, CCMHC, LPC

Executive Director, Green Cross Academy of Traumatology

Director, Center of Trauma and Resilience Studies, Divine Mercy University

Green Cross Academy of Traumatology (GCAT) has had a busy season since the summer of 2017. GCAT provided compassion fatigue and field counseling services in time of crisis and trauma nationally and internationally, including Charlottesville’s Domestic Terrorism Event, Rockport, Texas and Hurricane Harvey, Immokalee, Florida with Hurricane Irma, and most recently to Puerto Rico with Hurricane Maria. This workshop will cover ethical standards of deployment, outreach and intervention along with Green Cross deployment facts.

At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:

§  Participants will be able to utilize Green Cross ethical standards when deployed in crisis or traumatic situations.

§  Participants will be able to identify and apply basic strategies for intervention in situations of crisis and disaster.

§  Participants will be able to apply and intervention with special populations in times of crisis, disaster and traumatic events.


Session 2A: 10:45-11:45 AM

Dealing with Trauma through Sports

Michael Olex, MS

Sportable Athlete

Mallory McMullin, M.Ed

High School Counselor, Caroline County Public Schools

Disability can be all encompassing. From aggressive therapies to physical therapy, you feel like all you are doing is visiting the doctor.  As someone who went from a professional athlete to a full –time wheelchair user, it can be traumatic.  An outlet where you can feel normal again is key; Sportable does that! While you’re competing in any one of their numerous activities, you’re not thinking about your problem(s).  Instead, you’re thinking about scoring the winning goal or winning the race. Through their programs, you can be intense, athletic, aggressive, and most importantly, safe.  

At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:

§  Appreciate how Sports can be transformative

§  Conceptualize the link between disability and self-image

§  Become familiar with the variety of programs available through Sportable 


Session 2B: 10:45-11:45 AM

Empowering and Supporting Communities to Heal Each Other

Santa Sorenson, RN

Conflict Resolution Coordinator, Richmond Peace Education Center

Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC) was founded in 2003 in Rwanda and Burundi and has since spread to other African countries, as well as the United States.  It brings “victims” and “perpetrators” together so the humanization of the “other” can lay the foundation for healing and connection.  There are six underlying philosophies for the program: In every person there is something good, All people and societies have the capacity to heal, Both the victim and perpetrator can experience trauma and its effects, Seeking and sharing each person’s inner good is essential, The individual and community are interconnected, Trauma healing and peace building must be done at the same time.

At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:

§  Comprehend the purpose of Healing and Rebuilding our Communities.

§  Learn the symptoms of trauma and how they impact individuals and communities.

§  Use the philosophies of HROC to build connections towards peace in their own work settings or communities. 


Lunch Panel Presentation: Noon-1:30 PM

When Disaster Strikes:

Richmond’s Experts weigh in on Disaster Response in our Own Backyard

Panel moderated by Richmond Area Counselors Association

Rebecca Kaderli, LPC, NCC

Krysta Johnson, MA

The Richmond Area Counselors Association brings you the best of Richmond’s Trauma Specialists and Community Partners to discuss how counselors can respond to tragedy in our own community. 

Join the conversation with:

Paul Hundley, Emergency Manager, Richmond Office of Emergency Management

Dr. Benjamin Keyes, Green Cross Academy of Traumatology

Jonathan McNamara, Red Cross Media Relations and Crisis Communications

Lt. C. A. Wood, Crisis Intervention Team and Services to Aid Recovery

Josh Burch, Marine, Sportable

Santa Sorenson, Conciliation Project, Richmond Peace Education Center

Karla Allen, MEd, Coordinator of School Counseling, Hanover County Public Schools  

Mitchell Reid, PhD, LCP, Child Psychologist, Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:

§  Develop an awareness of how disaster impacts a community on a macro scale

§  Foster an understanding of the various agencies involved in disaster response and their roles

§  Participate in a forum to create a plan for Richmond Area Counselors to be ready to respond when the time comes


Session 3A:1:45 - 2:45 PM

The New Normal: A Counselor's Journey from Columbine to Stoneman Douglas

Karla Allen, M.Ed.

Coordinator of Counseling Services, Hanover County Public Schools

School safety and how to protect yourself in a school shooting were not part of the training when I was in school.  However, we have all had to learn how to operate in "the new normal."  This session will give a brief history of how our school division has evolved over time, starting with the DC sniper and an earthquake, and the initiatives we have put in place to keep our students and community as safe as possible. 

At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to:

§  The learner will be able to evaluate a safety and crisis plan to determine if it can be effective when the need arises.

§  The learner will consider using an assessment tool with students to determine if they know how to respond in a crisis.

§  The learner will consider using an assessment tool with students to determine if they know how to respond in a crisis.


Session 3B: 1:45 - 2:45 PM

Possible Implications for Community Mental Health Providers Following Indirect Exposure to Trauma

Mitchell Reid, Ph.D, LCP

Richmond Behavioral Health Authority

Shelby Moody, BSW

Sarah Higgs, BA

Alyssa Shadbolt, BS

Jennifer Stifter, BA

Candice Roquemore, MS

Community health workers often experience emotional distress as they provide services to individuals who have experienced direct trauma. Their daily functioning is directly impacted by the constant absorption of emotional energy, ongoing stress and angst that is associated with providing sound therapeutic intervention. The current presentation aims to operationalize vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue and secondary trauma and identify related symptoms. Additionally, provide a working definition of the aforementioned and identify supportive resources for mental health providers to increase treatment efficacy, improve self-awareness and encourage self-care.

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will:

§  Define and operationalize vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma.

§  Delineate the symptoms associated with the above conditions.

§  Identify resources for preventing and managing the above conditions and the associated symptoms.


Cancellation Policy:

To receive a full refund, minus a $10 administrative fee, registrants must cancel at least 72 hours (3 days) prior to the start of the workshop.  Cancellations and/or no shows with less than a 72 hour (3 days) notice will be reviewed after all expenses have been paid, a determination will be made regarding the ability to honor the request minus cost of guaranteed meals/special events. An administrative fee of $10.00 will be assessed for any refund. Submit cancellations/refund requests to:


Complaint Policy:

If you have a complaint or dispute regarding this event, please write a letter and include the following:  Your  name, address, telephone number, email, name of event, date and location of the event, complaint and desired resolution to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Richmond Area Counselors Association, 8104 Barrowden Court, Mechanicsville, VA  23116 or send an email to  You will receive a reply in 30 days from the date you submitted the complaint/dispute.


NBCC Approved Provider:

Virginia Counselors Association has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 2047.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.  Virginia Counselors Association is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.



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