Spark Aevidum Conference

The Pine Grove Area High School Aevidum Advocates pose for a picture at the Spark Aevidum Conference at Kutztown University.

Alexis Butler, Staffer

Wednesday March 16th, 6 Aevidum Advocates, including myself, and our two advisors attended the Spark Aevidum Conference at Kutztown University. We arrived at the university around 8:50 am and the conference started at 9:00 am. We were escorted into a large room where 36 other schools with Aevidum groups were gathered. The conference was started with three different speakers, Michael Schlossberg, a Pennsylvania State Representative, and Elaine Ficcara, the 2022 Miss. Philadelphia.

After the 3 keynote speakers, everyone divided across the building to their assigned workshops. There were 6 different workshops and all of us Pine Grove Area Advocates were assigned the same first workshop, spark connection. Amanda Grace Kreider was our speaker and she was also named Miss Mountain Laurel this year. She explained that her year of service is focusing on her impact of #NoShameinBrainPain which focuses on youth mental health awareness. She began the innitiative after losing her cousin to suicide in 2017. She focused on sharing with us the differences between empathy and sympathy and taught us how we can be empathetic to those around us. 

After our first workshop, we were then dismissed to our second workshop. The other advocates were assigned different workshops, but I was joined by Savannah Collazo, a senior advocate, in Spark Hope. Our speaker was Patti Dille, and she shared that she had a son who committed suicide and it caused her to be apart of the Peyton Heart Project. The Peyton Heart project was inspired by several different stories including that of Peyton James who died of suicide in 2014. The project consists of delicate hearts made by hand and each has an inspiring quote attached to it. The hearts are placed in public areas around the world for people to find. We were given some of these hearts to construct and to take with us so we can spread them around our own towns and schools. 

After the workshops concluded, we had time to go to lunch, do raffle competitions, and explore the rest of the conference. After we finished, we then had to go back to the original conference room for the ending remarks. They went through the raffle winners, gave awards to Aevidum clubs who were excelling, and gave a few closing words. When the conference ended we all went back to the van and made our trip back to the school. On the way home we discussed what we did in our workshops and ideas we had for our own schools’ Aevidum movement.