2023 PAIU CONFERENCE: KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Wednesday Welcome Keynote: Hasan Davis
Thursday Lunch Keynote: Kristi Krings, Rachel's Challenge
Rachel's Challenge: Restoring Hope Through Connection
Rachel’s Challenge envisions schools full of hope, free from harassment, violence, and self-harm, where teachers are free to teach and students are inspired to learn.
Rachel’s Challenge brings people together. We help break down the walls that lead to harassment, isolation, teen suicide and gun violence. Our programs are a catalyst that stimulates connection and hope, invites personal reflection, and ignites change. When people feel that they are not alone, individuals – and communities – are transformed. We see it happening in culturally diverse schools around the world every day.
Our Story: Transforming a Tragedy
Rachel’s Challenge was created after the Columbine High School shooting, in honor of Rachel Scott and the other victims lost on that terrible day. As the first widely known mass school shooting, the Columbine tragedy was a catalyst for action for many people.
After Rachel’s death, her family discovered that she left behind a legacy of kindness and compassion – through her life, her writings, and the people she had reached out to. One after another, stories emerged about the profound impact of her simple acts of kindness.
Her family soon realized that Rachel’s story could help transform the way we relate to each other, and how we feel about ourselves. It provides an antidote: a path to ending school violence, bullying, self-harm and suicide. How? By creating positive connections that improve self-worth and mental health. Rachel’s dad, Darrell Scott, was asked to talk about Rachel so often that he and Rachel’s step-mom Sandy started a non-profit organization for school violence prevention that is Rachel’s Challenge today.
Autism Public Motivator
Autism Public Motivator
Ben Hartranft is excited to share his story of being non-verbal at the age of 2 to now achieving his dream of being a full-time speaker as President of Benergy1 Presentations. His mission is to promote kindness, inspiration and achievement through education and taking autism awareness to action. Ben has exceeded all expectations including working since the age of 16, learning to drive, winning homecoming king at his high school, appearing as a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres show and being asked to carry the Lombardi trophy at the ring ceremony for the Philadelphia Eagles. Ben’s story and “Benergy” will hopefully inspire those who hear him to “Never Let go of Their Dreams”.
Swinging from a Chandelier: Finding Joy in the Journey Through Autism
Ben and his brother, Dan, are excited to join us at the PAIU Annual Conference. They will also bring copies of Swinging from a Chandelier: Finding Joy in the Journey Through Autism. The book, written by their mother, Sandy Hartranft, chronicles Ben's story from diagnosis to today. It includes a section where Ben tells his story in his own words with pictures from his life.
Special Thanks to our 2023 Conference DIAMOND Sponsors:
Thank you to the following 2023 Conference GOLD Sponsors: