Dan is a California kid who’s been called to a Kansas town. He married a Missouri girl named Elise and they have three brave daughters - Mia, Brianna, and Hadley, one of whom is adopted and none of which who think he’s still litcool. Dan has served as a leader and teacher at Heartland Community Church in Olathe since 2001. His life’s mission is “to call everyone toward the God-sized, redemptively absurd advance that makes you tremble.”He also insists that “SeriousWhimsy” is not only a real word but also a code to live by. His list of many vices include involuntarily answering his wife’s questions without actually listening. Dan also plays an ugly round of golf but a mean game of Wiffle.
DR. GREGORY E. EALEY, TH.M., DMIN.
Gregory is the Campus Pastor for Colonial Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, Mo., and the Executive Director of Elevate KC, a city-wide-collaboration bringing people together around the issues of education, human trafficking, fatherlessness and racial healing. He earned a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary and a D. Min from Wester Baptist Bible College. Greg and his wife have two children and had the privilege of serving as foster parents for two children who have been reunified with their family.
Jason Johnson is a foster and adoptive dad, former church planter and the Director of Church Ministry Initiatives with The Christian Alliance for Orphans. He is the author of "ReFraming Foster Care", "Everyone Can Do Something", "ALL IN Orphan Care" and blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com.
Andrew Stanley is an Atlanta-based stand-up comedian and homeschool survivor who isn’t afraid of bringing his deeply rooted insecurities to the stage. Okay, maybe he’s afraid, but he’s doing it anyway. His observational style and dry sense of humor have pleased audiences across the country. Andrew regularly performs at comedy clubs, churches, conferences, fundraisers, breweries, Uber pools...you get it. He was named the grand prize winner of The 2017 Search for the South’s Funniest Accountant. He was also selected to participate in the 2018 and 2019 Laughing Skull Comedy Festivals. Andrew’s parents are still alive so he works clean.
Peter was born and raised in a small village on the border of Uganda & Rwanda, in one of the poorest families in his village, with a very abusive father. Because of the committed love and support of another family, the trajectory of Peter’s life changed forever. Today, Peter is a foster & adoptive dad and has inspired thousands of people by sharing his amazing story of overcoming life’s challenges and responding to the call on his life in over 100 countries.
Paris Goodyear-Brown, LCSW, RPT-S.
Paris is the founder and director of Nurture House, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor with 20 years of experience in treating families in need. While she specializes in treating trauma (sexual abuse, physical abuse, maltreatment and neglect) and attachment disturbances, she often provides help for anxious, angry or depressed children and teens. A child development expert, she frequently provides parent consultation, dyadic assessment and parent coaching to help parents manage and resolve their children’s behavior problems. She is an Adjunct Instructor of Psychiatric Mental Health at Vanderbilt University, guest lecturer for several universities in middle Tennessee, and has an international reputation as a dynamic speaker and innovative clinician. She provides play therapy and licensure supervision and consults with various school districts, agencies and mental health organizations to help develop play therapy programs and create more developmentally sensitive programming. With trainings in Morocco, Australia, and Sweden, as well as frequent domestic presentations, she is best known for developing clinically sound, played-based interventions that are used to treat a variety of childhood problems. She has received the APT award for Play Therapy Promotion and Education. She is the author of multiple books, chapters and articles related to child therapy. Her newest books include Tackling Touchy Subjects, the Handbook of Child Sexual Abuse: Identification, Assessment, and Treatment, Play Therapy with Traumatized Children: A Prescriptive Approach and The Worry Wars: An Anxiety Workbook for Kids and their Helpful Adults. For the whole of her career, she has carried a vision of a place – a home – in which the space itself would help children and parents feel safe, nurtured and ready to do the deep work of healing. Although it looks like a playhouse – and her child clients call it “the kid’s palace” -the fun, highly playful environment helps the hard stuff go down easier.
Helen is an advocate for children in foster care. Having lost her parents at a young age and spending time in foster care herself, she knows first-hand the importance of being a voice for waiting kids. She is the manager of Foster Care & Adoption for Focus on the Family and their Wait No More (trademark) program. Helen earned her Masters Degree in Public Administration and Nonproift Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. She and her dog, Bernice Mattise, live in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Haven was born in Vietnam and is living an amazing story of survival and resilience. At 14 months, she became a double below-the-knee amputee after surviving a bomb blast which took both of her biological parents. She was adopted by the Shepherds when she was 20 months old. Now, 16, Haven is dedicates herself to pushing the limits and overcoming the odds. She is a world-class swimmer and a Paralympic hopeful for the 2020 games in Tokyo, Japan.
James is a single father of two who understands the challenges parents face when their children enter foster care, but also the joy of being reunified. He credits God’s unconditional love for him and for his children and other parents who have fallen. He now uses his story of both struggle and success as a Parent Advocate and leads support groups for parents whose children are currently in foster care.He is also a Retired United State Army Veteran, who served in both the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq Freedom War.
Raised in and out of foster care from birth until high school, Crabill bounced around enough to have attended 11 schools prior to graduation. He attended urban, suburban and rural schools; private, public, and parochial schools; lived with white families and families of color; lived in racist communities and inclusive communities; experienced loving homes and homelessness. Guided by the idea that student outcomes don’t change until adult behaviors change and drawing on his intimate familiarity with the triumphs and terrors of America's safety nets for children, he has devoted much of his adult life to advocating for the well-being of our nation’s most vulnerable youth.