CornerStone Initiative to go ‘Beyond Barriers’

Participants at a CornerStone Initiative conference share a laugh. CONTRIBUTED
Participants at a CornerStone Initiative conference share a laugh. CONTRIBUTED
HUNTSVILLE – The CornerStone Initiative has opened registration for a local community conference to cross any barriers.
“This year’s conference, ‘Beyond Barriers,’ will continue the conversations that have been ongoing since we began in 2013,” publicist Robin Arnold said. “However, we hope to dig in a bit deeper this year as we seek to move beyond simply identifying the problem but toward providing tangible solutions.”
Individuals with CornerStone Initiative “want to tackle the fact that individuals, groups and churches encounter multiple barriers when it comes to engaging in the long process of walking with someone from ‘poverty to plenty,'” Arnold said.
Their 2013 conference, “Beyond Relief,” “looked at differences between relief efforts (emergency support of a specific need) and long-term development (seeking ways to avoid repeated emergencies),” CornerStone Initiative Executive Director Debbie Akers said. “Our search eventually led us … to joblessness in our city and the need for sustainable, solid employment for those living at or below the poverty level.”
Conferences in 2014 and 2015 led to “Jobs for Life” classes “across the city and continued conversations with churches and non-profit organizations to benefit those who are in need,” Akers said.
The conference will target two specific questions:
* “How do we move our volunteers beyond the ‘necessary and immediate relief’ toward diagnosing and solving the problem?”
* “What are the barriers that keep us from forming relationships in many of the vulnerable communities right here in Madison County?”
This year’s speakers are Tom Bassford, Founder and Executive Director of Significant Matters, which tackles complex societal issues in sustainable ways, and Rev. Gregory E. Eale with Paseo Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, who has worked with The Urban Alternative.
The Beyond Barriers conference will convene on Feb. 21, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Jackson Center, 6001 Moquin Drive NW in Huntsville. Early Bird Registration is open now at $79. After Dec. 31, 2016, registration will cost $99.
For tickets, visit cornerstone-al.org and scroll to click the “Register Now” button. Also, individuals can mail payment to CornerStone Initiative, P.O. Box 18697, Huntsville, AL 35804 and state name, address, business/church affiliation, phone, email and number in the party.

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