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Click HERE to see Last Year’s Schedule!
Click HERE to view Last Year’s Presentation Descriptions

NAREN 10th Annual Conference

THEME: Successful Programs & Practices for Quality Alternative Education Programs:

Affirming Diversity

Held on February 19th–21st, 2013 in Panama City, FL

The National At-Risk Education Network (NAREN) is pleased to announce that our 10th Annual National Conference was held February 19-21, 2013, in Panama City, Florida, at the beautiful Edgewater Beach Resort on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

NAREN is a non-profit professional membership organization that, among other things, sponsors working conferences with experts AND active practitioners in the field of At-Risk Education. Our goal is to provide you and your staff with valuable information and tools to use and share with your colleagues back home. The knowledge you gain by attending one of NAREN’s working conferences will enhance your ability to make positive and substantial differences in the lives of at-risk youth.

Our conference theme was Successful Programs & Practices for Quality Alternative Education Programs. Presentations are offered that apply to both teaching and administration/counseling, and all attendees are welcome to attend any of the sessions.



Harvey Alston truly motivated as Keynote Speaker for the 10th Annual Conference!

Considered one of the most dynamic, “high octane” speakers in America, Harvey Alston has been a full-time speaker since 1989. He has spoken to millions of people throughout the United States who have benefited not only from his knowledge, but also from the wisdom that Harvey Alston brings to the finish line.

Harvey Alston’s unforgettable words of individual responsibility for achievement have improved spirits, spurred growth, and changed lives. His powerful and soul-searchingpresentations uplift audiences to a higher standard, and to a level where they strive only for the best. Harvey Alston believes in solitary achievement, shared accomplishment and the dignity of human beings.

As one of the most in-demand speakers in America, Harvey Alston’s career has spanned positions from head football coach of Columbus East High School in Ohio in 1968, to assistant director of student financial aid at the university level. As an educator he’s taught English, biology, health, life sciences and math curricula. Over the years, Harvey Alston has received recognition and awards from such diverse groups and organizations as the Ohio House of Representatives as one of Ohio’s Finest Citizens, the City of Columbus declared a Harvey Alston Day, and he was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel, and has received numerous national recognitions and awards. However, none has more impact than the response from those individuals whose lives have been dramatically changed. People walk away from Harvey Alston’s presentations knowing they have just heard someone who “has been around the track a few times” and one who shares it in a way that people do not forget. He has the courage it takes to remind people that life is only what they make it, that self-respect does not come with the job, but is brought to the job by people who do the best they can do, with whatever work is available to them.

Harvey Alston’s enterprise is called Best Inc., based on his philosophy and his book titled Be the Best. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and serves on the advisory board to the Olentangy School District, the Upper Valley Joint Vocational School,and many civic boards, panels, and commissions.

“I’ve seen Harvey not just excite,
but ignite, those who have long cashed it in.”
— Todd Alles

For more information go to


A small group of youths from North Carolina took to the stage to perform in original song and verse telling their personal stories in a way that emotionally moved, motivated and inspire our attendees.

These young people described their experiences in school with uncaring teachers, on the streets, at home with addicted parents, abusive boyfriends, heart-breaking losses… yet through it all, the pervading theme remained HOPE and FAITH.

Authoring Action’s nontraditional approaches to creative writing and the spoken word (public speaking) succeed in moving young people beyond limiting beliefs about their own abilities to achievements they never dreamed possible. Participants are encouraged to discover their voices, define their dreams and become the change they want to see in the world.

Learn more about their organization on their website at



The Australian organization of Drumbeat, led by Simon Faulkner, was on hand to lead our group through drumming sessions which inspired and uplifted those in attendance!

Simon Faulkner is the developer of the DRUMBEAT early intervention program and an addictions counselor specializing in group work. He is currently manager of DRUMBEAT for Holyoake, The Australian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Addiction Resolutions. For 12 years he practiced in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia working predominantly with young Aboriginal men.

In 2005 Simon was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study rhythm based interventions with ‘at risk’ youth across North America. During this study tour Simon worked in Native American communities, Juvenile detention facilities, drug & alcohol facilities and schools. Simon is the author of the resource – The DRUM as a Healing Tool in Therapeutic Practice.

Simon facilitates drumming for the Hills Community Drum Circle every Wednesday evening in Darlington and regularly facilitates community groups across the Perth metropolitan region in rhythm based fun.

Simon is a father of three young men and a passionate advocate for the rights of young people.

For more information on the Drumbeat organization, please visit their website at


ALSO – Some favorite keynote speakers returned for our 10th anniversary!  We welcomed back the following speakers at the 2013 conference:

Angela Engel, Marcus Gentry, Frank Kros,

Steve Parese, and Stephen Sroka

Stay tuned for information and details about next year’s conference which will be held in its new location at The Children’s Guild Conference Center in Baltimore, MD!