FSC women’s conference to focus on overcoming challenges
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Hmong-American writer Kao Kalia Yang will be the keynote speaker at the Franciscan Spirituality Center’s second annual women’s conference celebrating resiliency and faith from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16.
Of course, the format of the conference, “Overcoming Challenges With Grit and Grace,” will be markedly different from the inaugural event, as it will be via Zoom videoconferencing because of COVID-19 precautions.
Yang, who lives in Minnesota, was born in the refugee camps of Thailand to a family who escaped the genocide of the Secret War in Laos and came to America at the age of 6.
She is the award-winning author of “The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir” and “The Song Poet,” which the Minnesota Opera has adapted into an opera. She also has written several children’s books, a collective memoir about refugee lives titled “Somewhere in the Unknown World” and a co-edited collection titled “What God Is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color.”
She will reflect on her spiritual journey into writing and what it means to reclaim something that is no more, in an entirely new language, in a new land.
The virtual retreat day also will include presentations by Lisa McCormick of Tomah, Wis.; of La Crosse, and Sarah Johnson of Winona, Minn.
As the parent of a sex-trafficking victim, McCormick has made it her life’s purpose to share her family’s story so others understand the dangers of trafficking and how easily vulnerable children can get caught up in it.
Her son, Jeffrey, was recruited into a sex-trafficking ring out of Madison and exploited until his death, at age 17, in September 2016.
McCormick is a member of the Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Advisory Council and is featured in the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families documentary about youth sex trafficking in Wisconsin.
Bostrack describes herself as a “fierce” mother of three, corporate leader, author, motivational speaker and life and business strategist. Her story is one of personal and professional transformation.
She tells her life’s story, from standing in a food line at The Salvation Army to earning her doctorate, to instill hope and inspire people.
Johnson, mental health director at the La Crosse Area Family YMCA, will focus on what prompted her to integrate mindfulness into her professional and personal life and the impact it has had on her quality of life.
Gundersen Health System and the Rotary Works Foundation are co-sponsors of the event with the FSC.
Cost is $50. Register at the FSC website or call (608) 791-5295.
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