Convention wraps up three-day state at Natchez center

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; After three days of workshops and parking virtually impossible to find at or near the Natchez Convention Center, Nancy Hungerford, director of the Natchez Children’s home, asked all participants at the Lookin’ to Future Conference to turn off all their small children &045;

actually meaning cell phones or pagers &045; as she began the closing brunch.

More than 300 people attended the conference, held at the Natchez Convention Center. City tourism leaders, citing the economic impact , have said the event is the kind they want to continue to attract to the year-old center.

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At Friday’s

brunch, which ended the three-day event, Mary Murphy, one of several independent living specialists, presented awards to several teenagers involved in the Mississippi foster care system for outstanding leadership abilities.

During the brunch, Murphy recognized the idea that children have their own dreams and their own goals. Through the workshops, the students were able to ameliorate their leadership skills and fortify their character.

The students also performed a praise dance learned at the workshops.

&uot;The students here were nominated because they were outstanding students with plans of attending college. Some of them are already in college,&uot; said Mario Johnson, an independent living specialist. &uot;We decided to reward them by treating them to this conference. Hopefully they will pursue higher education.&uot;

The ultimate challenge came from Victor Veith, director of the National Center and for the Prosecution of Child Abuse and the keynote speaker for the second year. His campaign, Unto The Third Generation: A call to end child abuse in America, kicked off with the history of the fight against child abuse.

Sue Cherney, director of the conference, was pleased with the conference.

&uot;It went great. The convention center staff was fabulous. The conference went beautifully,&uot; she said. &uot;We enjoyed the hospitality here in Natchez.&uot;