Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative Poverty Summit set for April 6th

Wulf James-Roby
The Daily Ardmoreite

Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative will host a poverty summit on April 6th.  ABHC director Ellen Roberts said the program will be centered around a workshop led by Treasure McKenzie. McKenzie is the former Muskogee Chamber of Commerce President and current Muskogee Bridges of Poverty Director.  

This summit will be geared for community leaders and aimed at providing education about the complexities of poverty and help businesses and organizations understand why “middle class” solutions to poverty do not produce results, while providing information and generating discussion around what does.  

"I had the privilege of hearing her speak,” Roberts said. “I knew we needed to bring her to Ardmore. She talks about policy changes they made and some great examples of things they have done with their Bridges program. It has actually won national awards.”  

More:Beginner beekeeping class offered this month at OSU Extension office in Marshall County

More:Oklahoma groups SPARC-ing awareness for stalking, prevention services

Roberts said McKenzie’s message felt like a good way to relay important information to the greater Ardmore business community and beyond about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and brain science and why people do the things they do. “McKenzie took that down to a very practical level along with understanding poverty,” Roberts said, “and how that affects why people are doing things, not necessarily in terms of their brain, but in terms of the environment.”  

Usually, the target audience for these programs through ABHC are behavioral health and nonprofit leadership and staff, however for this event, Roberts said they also hope to appeal to the business community as well. “We hear people say people ‘just don’t want to work,’ but they’re battling a lot of things,” Roberts said. “This programming will help businesses and other leadership understand some of the challenges people are facing.”