All times shown are in the time zone of the event.
November 1, 2013, Foster Hope Forum. Presented by Arrow Child & Family Foundation. Registration at 8:00 a.m. Forum 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Rhonda’s Keynote Address at the Luncheon: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Location: Wayland Baptist University, Anchorage, Alaska.
COMMENTS ON PAST EVENTS IN 2013
October 17, 2013, Texas Child Care Administrators Conference: Together We Can: Our Children, Our Future. Rhonda’s Keynote Address: “Succeed Because of What You’ve Been Through.” Rhonda’s Workshop: “Managing the Risks and Realities of Caring for Kids.” Location: Westin Park Central Hotel, Dallas, Texas.
Comment: Rhonda was a keynote presenter at the annual conference for the Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services, of which I am the President. This conference is a convening of executives and administrators of programs working in various capacities with the 17,000 children caught up in the Texas child welfare system. One of the natural tendencies of administrators getting together to discuss challenges and strategies associated with our work is overemphasizing the business problems while ignoring the “Mission” of what really brings us all together.
Rhonda’s presentation reminded all of us why we got into this ‘business’ to begin with—that there is nothing neat and tidy about it, and if it were easy, there would be no need for us. Rhonda’s personal story is an illustration of the natural resilience of children—that given safety, a relationship with someone who cared, and opportunity, a child will exceed our expectations.
Rhonda is a positive, energetic force. Her life exemplifies an important American value of not taking on the role of victim, but excelling in spite of your unfortunate circumstances. I hope to get Rhonda up to Amarillo in front of all my youth and staff to share her message of hope.
–Dan Adams, President and CEO, Cal Farley’s
Comment: “It is great to know that Markel Insurance has such a terrific advocate, Rhonda Sciortino, on their consulting team. I thoroughly enjoyed her presentation and learned a great deal. Thanks to her for all she does.” –Renee E. Tanner, CEO, Lee & Belah Moor Children’s Home
Comment: “Rhonda did a great job of sharing the message of how we can make a difference in foster care; fantastic use of personal experience to inspire; a great practical application of her life experiences in a strength-focused way.” –Anonymous
Comment: Rhonda reminds us that foster care work is fulfilling; nice to hear these stories. She really knew how to relay her message; very impactful life story; captivating and dynamic presenter.–Anonymous
July 11, 2013, State of Nevada Foster Youth Conference. Keynote Address, Workshop #1: “Succeed Because of What You’ve Been Through”; Workshop #2: “From Foster Care to Anywhere.” Location: Sunset Station Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
June 20, 2013, The Purple Project for Foster Youth, 2013, Workshops: “Success after Foster Care” and “Protecting Foster Kids from Human Trafficking.” Cleveland State University, 1983 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115
Comment: “Rhonda spoke to us from the tone of “we” and not “you.” She did not remove herself from the ever-pressing fight simply because God had blessed her. Rhonda challenged the crowd to not only be prosperous, but to give back as well. We need more people like her to speak for the voices that have been silenced. There is no way anyone could have passively listened to the creativity, tenacity and perseverance communicated from her platform. To God be all the glory for what He has done!” –L. Sheree Graham, Author–Attendee at Purple Project for Foster Youth
June 13, 2013, Connecting the Dots from Foster Care to Employment and Independent Living. Workshop #1 at 11 am: “The ROI of Investing in Kids.” Keynote address at 12 pm: “Transitioning from Foster Care to the Workplace.” Workshop #2 at 1:15 pm for Foster Youth: “From Foster Care to Anywhere.” Sinclair Community College, 444 West Third St., Dayton, Ohio.
Comment: “Before listening to you today, Mrs. Sciortino, I felt worthless–feeling like I would never be able to accomplish anything in my life. Now I feel strong, empowered, and as though I am able to create a successful life.” –Foster Youth (Attendee at Connecting the Dots from Foster Care to Independent Living, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio)
Comment: “Mrs. Sciortino, I can’t tell you how uplifting your speech was today. I am a foster youth, and I just graduated from high school. I will be off to college soon. I will take our words with me as I begin my journey as a former foster youth working toward success.” –Foster Youth (Attendee at Connecting the Dots from Foster Care to Independent Living, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio)
June 8, 2013, National Foster Parent Association Conference, Closing Session beginning at 9:00 a.m. “Tips for Preventing Trafficking of Foster Kids.” Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, Long Beach, CA 90802
Comment: “Rhonda Sciortino was a great speaker and educator! Keep her at all state and national meetings and conferences! All those who deal with children need to receive the knowledge that she presented.”–Attendee at NFPA Conference 2013
June 7, 2013, National Foster Parent Association Conference, Workshop at 2:00 – 3:30. “Succeed Because of What You’ve Been Through.” Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, Long Beach, CA 90802
Comment: “Rhonda has a teaching story. It would be nice if she could come to Orlando in 2014. Everyone needs to hear her workshops. It was great!” –Attendee at NFPA Conference 2013
May 18, 2013, Orange County Foster Youth Leadership Summit, 8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. “Finding Your Voice: Developing Young Leaders.” 200 Kalmus, Bldg. D, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Comment: “Rhonda’s presentation was amazing! The youth and adults both shared how engaging, inspiring, and motivating her testimonial was during the Youth Leadership Summit. Some of the comments from the youth were: ‘Thank you, Rhonda—your speech touched me a lot!’ ‘Thanks to Rhonda I am taking a stand and becoming a more strong and confident person.’ ‘I am going to reach my dreams.’” –Betsy DeGarmoe, Manager, Foster Youth Services, OC Department of Education
May 14, 2013, Bridge Meadows Bridge Builders Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. “Build a Bridge, Change a Life.” Multnomah Athletic Club, 1849 SW Salmon St., Portland OR 97205.
March 22, 2013, Royal Family Kids Night 2 Remember, 6:30 – 8:30. Change Point Church, 6689 Change Point Drive, Anchorage, Alaska.
Comments from Attendees at Other Events
“In the 25 years I have worked with vulnerable children and youth, I can count on one hand those who have really succeeded like Rhonda Sciortino. Usually they just survive or remain victims; not Rhonda. She has chosen to trust God, forgive those who hurt her, and decided to leave the victim/martyr option alone. As a result, she has peace of mind, a clean heart, and is living the dream that God intended for her all along.” –Connie Clendenan, CEO Valley Teen Ranch
“You are a trophy of God’s Grace. Thanks for having the courage to share.” –Wayne Tesch, Founder and CEO Royal Family Kids
“You were the package that I needed… Pretty, smart, Christian, from a bad background, and successful with money–all in one vessel! I love your song and I needed to hear it! –Laurie Jackson, Diamond BeachBody Coach (Attendee of Royal Family Kids Night 2 Remember)
“Your encouraging words made us all feel as if there were no goals unachievable. I absolutely loved it!” –Becca Adkinson, Store Manager Nordstrom Fashion Island
“We had the pleasure of having Rhonda Sciortino speak at Olive Crest’s annual Power of One event. Our guests were captivated by her inspirational story and powerful testimony of overcoming the odds of growing up in the foster care system. Giving back through her life-changing work, Rhonda empowers and offers hope to those facing life’s obstacles, and she encourages others to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.” –Donald Verleur, CEO Olive Crest
“Rhonda Sciortino is a motivator who inspires her listeners to reach beyond themselves and make a difference. I am very pleased to recommend Ms. Sciortino to you as a compelling and articulate voice for those who have no voice.” –Sandra Morgan, Director Global Center for Women and Justice Vanguard University
“Ms. Sciortino was a delightful speaker, entertaining and moving to our audience. She has a true heart for the plight of foster children and abused children. Ms. Sciortino has reconciled her past experiences of abuse into a ministry of education and encouragement. I believe that God has called her to share her experience as a ministry of healing and hope, both for herself and others.” –Leah Emerson, Associate in Ministry, Mission Lutheran Church
“Rhonda Sciortino brings a powerful message of hope to those who are hurting and in despair and I have no doubt she has made a significant difference in the lives of our young moms at Fristers. It is my hope that her story and experiences will gain a greater audience to encourage the millions who are in need.” –Ali Woodard, Founder and President Fristers
“Rhonda, God’s love flowed through you today. Words can’t express my appreciation. May God richly bless you. I pray that you are willing to share your story with many others and touch their lives like you did today.” –Barbara Moyer, Event Chair, Glenkirk Church Women’s Ministries and life-long mentor to Rhonda and countless others
“Great!!! What a miracle your life is and your sharing with all of us. You kept everyone’s attention—I watched the faces of the people around me. Continue to share. God is using you to tell of His goodness.” –Tina Robinson, Founder & CEO, Teens Happy Home
“Rhonda, you were wonderful!! I am a crier, and my tears of joy would not stop flowing. God is so wonderful and your story is just a great testimony for everyone.” –Dr. CeCe Jefferson, Founder & CEO, Fred Jefferson Memorial Home
“Wonderful, inspiring, a friend to foster kids and the people who care for them.” –Patrick “Ozzie” Oswald, Chaplain, California Family Life Center, Hemet, CA
Quotes from Foster Youth and Foster Alumni:
“It was wonderful. I am SO glad she was able to come. It gave me a lot of insight, not only into my situation, but how to live my life.”
“I liked that Rhonda encouraged us – we need more of that”
“It was nice to be able to meet someone that was a foster child in the past, and that has a wonderful life.”
“This session was really helpful and inspirational to me cause it gave a lot more hope for my future and it showed me that you can do whatever you want, if you have the passion for it and put your mind into it.”
“Mrs. Sciortino taught me that no matter what anyone says to try and put me down and say that I can’t do it, that I’m the ONLY ONE who can change my life and succeed in my life.”
“Was really interested in what Rhonda was saying – it gave me hope that I could become something in life. LOVED IT”
PAST EVENTS IN FALL 2012
October 5, 2012, Free event at Bridge Meadows, Portland, Oregon, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. “Stacking the Deck in Favor of Kids.”
October 6, 2012, HOPE UNLIMITED Banquet, 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. Lloyd Center Doubletree Hotel, Portland, Oregon.
October 20, 2012, Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m at Angel Stadium, Anaheim, California.
November 8, 2012 , Christian Family Services Annual Dinner, Rite Charles, 9000 West 137th Street, Overland Park, Kansas.