Youth and Families Spread the Seeds of Change at the Connecting for Change Conference

NEW BEDFORD, MA – It’s not money that makes the world go ‘round, it’s the enthusiasm, aspirations and charismatic energy shown by today’s youth. Young people incite the creative, eager spark that produces innovative ideas and the energy which pushes them into motion. It is this type of energy that encourages life-changing environmental and social movements in our ever-changing world. Connecting for Change seeks to engage youth in issues that matter to the world at-large; to inspire groups of young people to formulate their own ideas and take the actions necessary to make them a positive reality—in hopes that they will someday create positive change, making the world a better place to live.

Youth will plant the seeds of change of tomorrow. For this inspiring movement gaining momentum around the world, we would like to present the Connecting for Change Youth Initiative and Connecting for Change Family Program.

The Connecting for Change Youth Initiative brings together groups of youth from schools and non-profits and gives them an opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone; to be reminded of their own power.

"I am extremely proud of the Connecting for Change Youth Committee, made up of mostly high school students, that work year round to plan the youth activities for the weekend. I am excited to see returning groups from New York City, Connecticut and Providence, but also to see lots of new faces." says Youth Coordinator Zoe Hansen-DiBello.

The Youth Initiative brings together hundreds of youth from cities and towns across the Northeast;
from New Hampshire to New York. They focus on the interconnectedness of social justice and
environmental sustainability, weaving in artistic elements, music and hands-on activities.
Listening and validating the voice of the youth is critical to solving some of our world’s most pressing
issues. The Connecting for Change conference is dedicated to creating a space for youth to step up as leaders and have their voice heard.

The Family Program is building on its success last year when over 300 parents and children took part in educational workshops and ongoing hands-on activities. This FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC program offers something for everyone in the family. We kick off on Saturday, October 22nd, with TOE JAM PUPPET BAND at 10AM. Families can come together and experience indigenous cultures, recycled art, wind turbines model making, family cooking, kids yoga, and a whole lot more.

Thousands of attendees are expected to gather at this year's Connecting for Change Conference – a conference aimed at developing deep, positive social and environmental change
within the world and its communities – to take part in this three-day event which features over fifty
workshops with topics ranging from health and healing, spirituality, and green business; to women empowerment, education, government policy and issues important to families.

Highlights from the conference include live keynote speakers such as Laurie David, producer of
An Inconvenient Truth and author of The Family Dinner; John Francis, known to the world as
the “Planetwalker”, and author of Planetwalker: 1-Years of Silence, 22-Years of Walking; and Mark Hyman, M.D., a four-time New York Times bestselling author, family physician, and international leader in the field of Functional Medicine – just to name a few. A film festival, farmers’ market, along with the Youth Initiative and Family Program, will also be essential features of the conference.

Youth Programming Highlights:

Learning to Lead Workshop

Feeling inspired and ready to hit the ground running? Excited to catalyze the story of your role in the movement? Anxious to learn the skills and judgment necessary to take your organizing work to the next level? We can help! Come to the Choose Your Own Ending Workshop being run by the Leadership Annex, where we will come together for a hands-on experiment in organizing decision making. Together we will take part in the telling of a story whose turns, pit falls, and victories will be determined by the choices participants make. By assuming the roles of different characters participants will be forced to overcome the turmoil of community organizing. Come share your perspective, learn strategic organizing lessons, and develop your knowledge from this training to use in journeys of your own. This workshop will be led by the Leadership Annex

Recycled Sea Art Activity

Using found material as well as materials that are often thrown out and end up in the ocean come create squids, fish, jelly fish and other marine creatures as a way of reminding ourselves where our garbage and debris can end up and who it impacts. This activity will be lead by New Bedford Artist Kat Cope.

The Urban Adventure Classroom: Technology, Teambuilding, and Place Based Experiential Education Workshop

Boston University has been fusing GPS technology and challenge course philosophy to build student relationships with each other and with their immediate environment. Since 2006, over 10,000 students have experienced these adventures from Albuquerque to Boston to Brussels. This interactive workshop throughout downtown New Bedford will demonstrate the BU Experiential Education (BUEE) method and help to spark ideas of how to connect people to place and each other. Get ready for walking, exploring and discovering throughout downtown New Bedford. This workshop will run twice, with the hope of allowing as many people to participate in it as possible.

Family Program Highlights:
Toe Jam Puppet Band's “Green Show”
Get your toes wigglin' with this beat boppin', sock hoppin', kid-friendly band. From creeping bugs to reaching trees; from running rivers to great big oceans; from mountains tall and clouds up high, 'Toe Jam' has fun with everything under the sun. All the critters that call Earth their home are invited to share in Toe Jam's interactive Songs, Puppets, and Activities.

Wampanoag Culture Workshop
Wampanoag Tribe member Kitty Hendricks-Miller presents the life ways and traditions that connect native people to the land, water and natural resources of the region both past and present. Investigate hand-made artifacts of stone, bone, shell and plant fiber and then participate in a traditional song and circle dance.

Family Cooking Activity

Chef Colin Bradley, from How On Earth in Mattapoisett, will be focusing on highlights from Laurie David's Book, "The Family Dinner". Ideas include: The importance of Meatless Mondays, local eating, fast recipes, simple salads, and vinaigrettes. Bring your own container if you would like to take home a sample salad!

All Keynote presentations will take place in the Zeiterion Theater in downtown New Bedford.
Workshops and other programs will take place at various locations throughout the downtown area, including the Youth Initiative in Wing’s Court and the Family Program in the exhibition tent on Purchase Street. Conference-goers will also have the opportunity to check out local sustainable businesses and
organizations in the exhibitor tent and a chance to connect with other individuals that aim to make
positive changes in their communities.

To register, volunteer, apply for a scholarship or for more information, visit or call the Marion Institute at (508) 748-0816.