The myth of the “normal” family will be the topic of a keynote address given Saturday at Crowder College’s inaugural Family Conference.

The myth of the “normal” family will be the topic of a keynote address given Saturday at Crowder College’s inaugural Family Conference.

Dr. Renee White, program manager for Mental Health Supports with Joplin Schools, will deliver the speech over lunch, sandwiched between a selection of morning and afternoon classes relating to several aspects of family life.

The conference, sponsored by the TRIO program and the Crowder Social Sciences division, kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday, and wraps up at 3:30 p.m. Registration is $25 per person, and may be paid that morning. Those registering the day of the event may do so beginning at 8:30 a.m. The event will be held in Crowder’s Farber Building.

Joan Wilson, Social Sciences Division Chair, said the event could be helpful for professionals working with children or families, as well as for the general public who hope to learn more about interacting with their own children and families.

“I think they’d walk away with more tools in their toolbox in dealing with family challenges,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the mass media has created a myth of the perfect family and organizers hope to address that myth in White’s presentation.

“We really wanted to have her address that, many, if not most families face challenges,” Wilson said.

She said the event will also showcase the several social programs of study offered at Crowder College, such as social work, autism, psychology and education.

Tiffany Slinkard, one of the organizers of the event, said 100 participants have signed up so far for Saturday’s conference. She said organizers are trying to keep the courses to classroom size and the sections are beginning to fill up.

The different sections participants can choose from include: Effective Strategies that Work!, Parenting with Love & Logic, Divorce & Families, Sexuality and the Media, Help! It’s Homework Time, Navigating the School System, The Internet and Family, Time Management and The Gifted Child, Improving Communication through Play, 40 Building Blocks, The Dangers of Self-Diagnosing, Teaching Friendship Skills to Children with Autism, Videogames: Effects on Development and Behavior, and Self-Concept During Adolescence.

Participants will be able to choose four sections to participate in.

“We decided that one of the things our community and Crowder seem to be interested in is strengthening families,” Slinkard said. “We felt like it would just be a good opportunity to bring everyone together.”

The Family Conference will also include a Resource Fair, made up of area agencies that provide family services, such as CareNet Pregnancy Resource Center, Children’s Haven, local health departments, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and United Way.

Wilson said organizers hope to make the conference an annual event.