Latino professionals to strengthen their roots

Tulare County presenters speak at Central Valley Latino Conference Sept. 20-21


VISALIA – The Valley’s only conference for Latinos by Latinos will be held this month in Visalia.

The 6th Annual Central Valley Latino Conference is a statewide gathering of fellow Latino professionals on Sept. 20 and 21 at the Visalia Convention Center. Titled “Strengthening Our Roots,” the 6th annual conference will bring therapists, treatment counselors, social workers, educators, administrators, and community workers in the Latino community together in one place to address cultural competency and evidence base practices in mental and behavioral health, substance abuse and recovery, violence and criminal justice, mindfulness, and indigenous teachings.

Representing Tulare County is a host of speakers talking on issues ranging from immigration to human trafficking and from mental health to holistic health. Martha Rodriguez, an investigator with the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office, will discuss human trafficking in the Central Valley. Dr. Roberto M. de la Rosa, with the Organization for Legal Advancement (OLA) Raza, in Porterville, will discuss immigration issues. Crisis counselor Alma Borja with Karen’s House Emergency Shelter in Visalia will present “Behind Closed Doors: The Face of Domestic Violence.” Liliana Quintero Robles and Liza Kirkland, with Salud y Wellness in Dinuba, will talk about holistic health for women. Social worker Luann Baldwin, a mental healthy family advocate in Three Rivers, will discuss LGBTQ persons growing up in Hispanic families.

In all there will be 25 workshops during the conference with speakers from Sacramento, San Mateo and Yuba Counties, including a keynote speaker for each day.

On Thursday, Sept. 20, Dr. Sal Nuñez, director of the Healthy Drumming Institute in San Francisco, has been investigating the curative properties of specific percussive patterns, songs, rhythms, and medicinal plants for the last 13 years. He is a licensed clinical psychologist, consultant, researcher, and professor with interest in cultural healing practices, health and wellness, recovery, neuropsychology, indigenous and behavioral medicine, and medicinal drumming as a healing methodology. In 2009, a review of the methodology (medicinal drumming) he developed was found to meet the standards of community defined evidence practices by the University of South Florida in a project funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

On Friday, Sept. 21, Vera Lopez, a professor of justice and social inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, has extensive research and clinical experience working in juvenile justice and residential treatment settings. Her research areas include adolescent delinquency, sexual risk taking, substance use, and prevention research with a major focus on Latina girls. Lopez’s work has been featured in a number of journals including the Journal of Adolescence, Youth & Society, Journal of Family Issues, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Feminist Criminology, Family Relations, and Criminal Justice & Behavior.

Tickets to the event are $135 for one day, $185 for a two-day admission or $210 with lunch both days. The workshops count for 10 hours of continuing education social workers, family therapists, school psychologists, and addiction counselors.

9/21 – 9/23 Consumer Show: 17th Annual Visalia Home Expo with show hours of Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The South Valley’s fall home show focuses on remodeling and decorating, expected attendance is 2,500 per day. For more info visit

9/26 Event: 27th Annual Tulare County Job Fair from 9 a.m – 12 p.m. Event opens at 9 a.m. for veterans, general public at 9:30 a.m.

9/30 Convention: KAR Dance Convention from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This fun, inspiring and educational event features dance ranging from jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop and musical theater. Expected attendance is approximately 600 attendees.

10/5 – 10/7 Convention: California Nursing Students’ Association (CNSA) Right Now! Innovate – Engage – Lead convention with approximately 650 attendees a day.

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