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BYU will host Families and Poverty Research Conference March 10-12

Presenters, attendees to combat poverty with projects during conference

PROVO, Utah (March 9, 2004)- Two humanitarian experiences will highlight the “Families and Poverty Research Conference” hosted by the Brigham Young University Family Studies Center Wednesday, March 10, through Friday, March 12, at the Conference Center on the BYU campus.

In addition to sharing research on family and poverty issues, faculty and presenters from around the world will lead participants in taking action to build understanding and help alleviate the negative effects of poverty.

Most attendees could leave the conference’s first luncheon hungry. The meal, taking place, Thursday, March 12 at 11:30 a.m. in 2260 Conference Center, gives individuals the opportunity to experience how poverty feels at mealtime.

People arriving at the luncheon will be given randomly one of three different colored stickers. Each color represents different meals -- 60 percent will be served rice and beans as if they lived in a third world country, 30 percent will be given one piece of pizza representing a second world country, and 10 percent will be served a full meal including salad and dessert, similar to a first world country.

“We hope many of us will leave hungry. This should really set the stage for the conference, where issues of real hunger will be discussed,” said Russ Crane, director of the Family Studies Center. “This conference is meant to share valuable information, but it is also an experience designed to motivate attendees to go out and make a difference.”

Friday, conference attendees will have the opportunity to help put together 1,000 school kits for underprivileged children. The kits will include a bag and school supplies such as pencils, sharpeners, notebooks and scissors. BYU sociology professor Tim Heaton, along with several BYU students, will take some of the bags to school children in Mexico this summer as part of the Mexico sociology program. The project will take place noon to 2 p.m. Friday, March 12 in 2265 Conference Center.

“Combating poverty takes work,” said Crane. “We can’t just sit back and talk about the problem; we have to do something more. I hope the school kits will encourage participants to find new ways to personally get involved in new ways to make a difference.”

The conference will cover a broad range of topics, including parenting, health care for poor families, how family processes influence families experiencing economic hardship, consequences of welfare reform in the United States and economic status of ethnically diverse elderly.

Registration is $150 for non-credit participants and $200 for participants wanting to receive credit.

Students interested in attending can receive a complimentary registration with meals and breaks available for an additional cost.

To see a full schedule of events, or to register for the conference, visit the Web at, or call (801) 422-4853.

For more information, contact Kim Bond at (801) 422-4452.

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