Aaron Shavey, Ph.D.

The success of the 1996 Welfare Reform, and the opportunity to an education are just some of the proven successful pathways out of poverty. And on Oct. 2-3, Bethel College, with help from the Heritage Foundation, a research and educational think tank, will explore other proven measures to overcome the issues of poverty in the South Bend/Mishawaka community during the Seek the Welfare of the City conference.

The over-arching goal of the conference, which is free and open to the public, is to give audience members a better understanding of the root causes of poverty, says Aaron Schavey, assistant professor of economics at Bethel, and coordinator of the event. “To effectively meet these needs, it is necessary to understand the problems those stricken by poverty in our area face and how best to address them,” he says.

The Heritage Foundation sponsors these conferences at colleges across the nation as an outgrowth of its study titled Seek Social Justice.  The conference explores the origins of poverty in particular areas and equips participants to respond effectively by offering opportunities for work, education, relationship restoration, among many other services.

“Good intentions aren’t enough,” according to the Heritage Foundation, “Solutions that work flow from an informed vision of social justice, responsibility and human nature.”

The speakers and panelists will help to educate participants on public policies that are reducing poverty along with how churches, non-profits, and businesses can effectively contribute to alleviating poverty in the community.

Speakers and panelists include Michael Matheson Miller, Research Fellow and Director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute and  a University of Notre Dame graduate; Robert L. Woodson, Sr., Founder and President of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise; James Sullivan, a University of Notre Dame economics professor; Leroy King III, Director of Monroe Circle Community Center in South Bend; Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute and a native Hoosier; John Schoenig, Assistant Professional Specialist and the inaugural Director of Notre Dame’s Program for K-12 Educational Access and a University of Notre Dame graduate; and Nancy King, a South Bend native who has more than 35 years experience serving personal and business clients in the banking, trust and investment areas.

“I am hoping that [the event] will excite the audience members and spur them on to seek new opportunities that will effectively help people in our community,” says Schavey. “I think it will be a great opportunity for Bethel students and the community to learn more about what the root causes of poverty are and what can be done about it.”

The event will be held from 7-9 p.m. Oct.2-3 in Bethel’s Everest-Rohrer Chapel/Fine Arts Center — Auditorium.