Annually the Momentous Institute holds the Changing The Odds conference for more than a thousand mental health and education professionals from around the country to learn about advances from some of the world’s top experts regarding social emotion health. The night before this year’s two-day conference, the Institute held a dinner on Wednesday, September 26, at the Omni Dallas Hotel with Los Angeles Fr. Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries as the keynote speaker. Here’s a report from the field:
More than 350 supporters attended Salesmanship Club of Dallas and Momentous Institute’s annual Changing the Odds Dinner at the Omni Dallas Hotel on Wednesday, September 26. The dinner preceded Momentous Institute’s annual Changing the Odds Conference, which brings together over 1,500 mental health and education professionals for two days to learn best practices in social emotional health from thought leaders around the world.
The evening’s special guest, the Rev. Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles shared powerful stories from his Homeboys that highlighted the power of inclusiveness. “Separation is an illusion. Go to the margins and cultivate Kinship [and] ask people to show up, not measure up. Help people see their truth,” said Boyle. Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention program in the world and employs and trains former gang members in a range of social enterprises, as well as provides critical services to 15,000 men and women who walk through its doors every year seeking a better life.
Momentous Institute Executive Director Michelle Kinder illustrated the power of social emotional health with stories from former Momentous Institute students and clients, while also highlighting the need for Dallas to become more inclusive. She stressed the need to show up in a way that supports a transformation of pain and unease into something productive, positive and, ultimately, unifying for children and families experiencing life struggles.
“Every child should be having daily interactions with adults that fuel that unmistakable feeling that, I belong and my community is counting on and investing in me—not to feel good themselves and not because they feel sorry for me, but because they see my promise and they expect a return on their investment,” Kinder said.
The crowd included Event Co-Chairs Connie O’ Neill and Dick Skorburg, Momentous Institute Chair Jeff Barnes, Salesmanship Club of Dallas President Patton Chapman, Comerica’s Ralph Babb, Salesmanship Club of Dallas Executive Director Teri Isaacs, Teach for America’s Cary Wright, Heather and Billy Esping, Lydia and Dan Novakov, Rich and Tucker Enthoven, Amy and Michael Meadows, Judy and Jim Gibbs, as well as local officials Judge Clay Jenkins, Councilman Tennell Atkins, Councilwoman Jennifer Gates.
* Photo provided by Momentous Institute