Partners in Outreach is an annual conference that brings together people who are called to serve communities in need. Each year, it connects them to social service experts who share industry best practices and shed light on the societal complexities reflected throughout our region.
Through information sharing, both academic and cultural, Partners in Outreach provides a holistic approach to service, activates impact, and encourages each guest to better define a sense of community.
This year’s conference focuses on the many barriers people face on the road to stability, wellness, and independence – mirroring the programs of Episcopal Community Services. After Morning Prayer and opening remarks from our executive director, guests will hear the personal journey of this year’s keynote speaker, The Rev. Domenic Rossi, O. Praem, founder of Bethesda Project, who answered his call to serve Philadelphians in need. Next, a brief lecture will expose the misconceptions of today’s most vulnerable populations. Following lunch, attendees will participate in a workshop of their choice, led by industry experts and people who have personally persevered through distressing times.
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
23 South 38th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(copy to your calendar)
Saturday, March 19, 2016
8:30am – 3:00pm
17 South 39th Street (39th and Market Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(entrance on the east side of 39th)
Welcome and Opening Remarks
David E. Griffith
Executive Director, Episcopal Community Services
Keynote Address: To Be Family With Those Who Have None
The Rev. Domenic Rossi, O. Praem
Founder, Bethesda Project
Poverty, Opportunity, and Rethinking the American Dream
Mary Alice Duff, MSS, MLSP
Chief of Staff, Episcopal Community Services
Interactive Break-Out Sessions:
- Homelessness: Avoiding the Crisis
For individuals and families suffering the loss of a job, spouse, or the aftermath of a natural disaster, avoiding financial distress is crucial and can help prevent compounded trauma or even homelessness. In this breakout session, we discuss meaningful and cost effectiveness ways to provide services that help people teetering on the edge of crisis. Attendees will hear first-hand an account of what can happen when resources are applied to help avoid homelessness.
- Healthy Choices, Healthy Spaces
Just as many social factors can compromise ones security and wellbeing, health issues, too, can evolve into a financial crisis. When health takes a turn for the worse, even the hardest of workers can have their employment and stability threatened. This breakout session uncovers the barriers that emerge during a health crisis and the legal rights in place to help people protect themselves.
- Learning for Everyone, Communities in Schools
After- and during-school programs serve as a resource not only to students, but also their families and communities. At a time when many parents are still at work, after-school programming provides students with structure and a sense of belonging. In this breakout session, we consider the transformation that can take place when schools operate as something beyond classrooms.
Being the Change
Victoria Bennett, MHS
Chief Inclusion and Advocacy Officer, Episcopal Community Services
Jane J. O’Neill Award Presentation for Outstanding Service
Meet the Keynote
Fr. Domenic Rossi was ordained a Catholic priest in 1974 and is a member of Daylesford Abbey of the Norbertine Order. In 1979, with the help of a prayer group that he led at the Abbey, he founded Bethesda Project – a ministry to the homeless of Philadelphia. Starting with one residence for homeless women suffering from mental illness, Bethesda Project has grown into a premiere provider of compassionate service to the homeless operating out of 12 facilities ranging from shelters through permanent supportive residences serving over 2,500 different individuals per year.
In 1991 with his assignment to a parish in Albuquerque, Fr. Domenic left direct ministry to the homeless but felt God’s inspiration to reach out to the large Hispanic immigrant population there. In 1997 Fr. Rossi was called back by his community to become pastor of St. Norbert Parish in Paoli where he gave special attention to youth and adult evangelization and renewal. In 2010 he was asked by the Board of Directors to return to Bethesda Project as Executive Director. In 2013 he received the St. Norbert College Alma Mater Award – “for a lifetime of service to those in need.”
In 2014 he was made Pastor of Saint Gabriel Church in the Grays Ferry section of Philadelphia. Although he retired from his full-time responsibilities at Bethesda Project in April 2015, Father Domenic continues to assist in that ministry and serves on its Board of Directors. He has written a book, “Listening to God’s Whispers,” describing his personal spiritual journey.