Woodward, Okla. —
The Northwest Oklahoma Counseling Association will be holding its Annual Counselor's Christmas seminar on Dec. 3 at the High Plains Technology Center.
The seminar is geared towards the professional development of area counselors.
"The whole purpose of the event is to bring something in for area people that maybe they couldn't get somewhere else or they'd have to travel to in order to get this same professional development," said Melinda Stump, president of the Northwest Oklahoma Counseling Association.
This year's seminar will feature guest speakers Mark Elam, director of Oklahomans Against the Trafficking of Humans (OATH) and the Angel Eyes organization, and local student Alex Smith, current Miss Mooreland.
Stump said her organization is looking forward to hearing from both speakers.
"Our past president Amber Riley attended an event last year at which Elam was a speaker, and he did a fabulous job, so we approached him about being a guest speaker at our event," Stump said.
Elam works with OATH to promote awareness of human trafficking and assist in improving networking between law enforcement, service providers, business leaders, and the religious communities to provide care for trafficking victims.
In regards to the connection between human trafficking and counseling, Stump said, "In a school district you see a wide range of issues, so the more training and skills we have the more we can assist local law enforcement, community counselors, or even students trying to get out of situations they may find themselves in."
Smith will be speaking on the topic of bullying in schools, an issue heavily connected with counseling.
"Anti-bullying was Smith's platform for Miss Cinderella, even after the contest was over she continued to be involved with it because she was passionate about the subject," Stump said. "She approached me with her platform and asked for ways she could get more involved with anti-bullying efforts, so we thought this would be a great opportunity for both her as well as those attending the event."
While the Annual Counselor's Christmas is targeted toward professional counselors, the event is open to the public.
The seminar will last from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 3 and will include a catered lunch from Big Dan's Steak House.
Those interested in attending should contact Melinda Stump at 994-5426.