Karen Gaffney is the President of a non-profit organization dedicated to
championing the journey to full inclusion in families, schools, the workplace and the community for people with developmental disabilities. She is doing this by creating awareness and calling attention to the tremendous capabilities of people with disabilities. Karen accomplishes this through presentations and workshops delivered to audiences all over the US and world wide. Karen has taken her message to audiences in Ireland, England, Norway, France, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and Belize.
Karen travels the world speaking to a wide range of audiences about overcoming limitations and about what can be accomplished with positive expectations. She advocates for inclusion in schools, for students with intellectual disabilities, sharing her own experiences. Karen also advocates for physical fitness and regular exercise and healthy nutrition as well. Karen presented to one of the largest TED talk venues in the world in Portland Oregon in 2015, TEDx Portland.
Damon Clarke Owens
Damon Owens, international speaker and evangelist, is the founder and executive director of Joy To Be (joyTOB.org) a new 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry of Stewardship: A Mission of Faith centered on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Following four-years as the first executive director of the Theology of the Body Institute, he served as Chairman of the 2016 International Theology of the Body Congress. He previously founded Joy-Filled Marriage New Jersey, and New Jersey Natural Family Planning Association, non-profit organizations dedicated to building a marriage culture through training, seminars, and conferences. Damon and his wife Melanie taught Natural Family Planning (NFP) for 14 years, and served as NFP Coordinators for the Archdiocese of Newark (NJ).
A Certified Speaker for the Theology of the Body Institute, National Trainer for Ascension Press, and presenter at the 2015 World Meeting of Families, Damon keeps a full international speaking schedule at conferences, marriage seminars, universities, high schools, seminaries, and parishes on the good news of marriage, sexuality, Theology of the Body, Theology of the Family, adoption, and NFP. Damon currently lives outside Philadelphia with his wife Melanie and their eight children.
With over one decade in front of the camera, Myrka Dellanos, is a two-time Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist who has gained credibility and the love of millions in the United States and Latin America.
A dedicated humanitarian, she founded a non-profit 501(c )3 organization MROC
(Missions Reaching Out Compassionately) whose mission is to help underprivileged women and children in South Florida and Latin-America. Dellanos has been the international spokesperson for various other non-profit organizations such as Save the Children, Partners of the Americas and World Vision among many others, and she has traveled to numerous countries to work with homeless children, orphans, displaced and abused women and former gang members. In 2008, Myrka was diagnosed with diabetes and she is active in educating her audience about how to live successfully with the disease.
Myrka is passionate about the world around her and travels worldwide as a motivational speaker sharing a message of hope, renewal and the importance of leadership within the corporate structure as well as on a personal level.
Bishop W.C. Martin
Bishop W. C. Martin earned a Bachelor of Theology and a Masters of Religious Education degree in 1986 and 1988 respectively from Union Baptist Bible College & Seminary. He has served as the Pastor of Bennett Chapel Missionary Baptist Church since 1985 while simultaneously pastoring Open Door Baptist Church from 1999 to 2001. He has served as a volunteer on the advisory committee on promoting adoption of minority children for Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Service since 2001. Bishop Martin has been promoting adoption as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at churches, conferences and special events around the nation.
Pastor Martin has been married to First Lady Donna Martin for over 30 years. Together they have six children (four adopted) and five grandchildren.
Jimmy is a survivor of labor trafficking. He was born in La Paz, Honduras. Jimmy really wanted to go to school but his family couldn’t afford it. He thought coming to the US would allow him to go to school and make enough money to help his family. He also feared that if he didn’t leave he would be forced to join the local gangs. At age 12, he left his home and started his journey toward the US. It took Jimmy over a year to reach the US/Mexican border. Through his journey, he lived on the streets and did odd construction jobs to support himself. He was not the only child on this journey and he met many like him. Some traveled alone and some with relatives.
At age 13, he finally crossed the border by himself. It only took a few hours for him to be approached by a coyote, who offered to help him and later kidnapped him and forced him to work in order to buy back his freedom. By the time Jimmy was referred to CAST, he had been trafficked several times, first by the coyote, who then sent him to work at a furniture store, and then by a restaurant owner who also forced him to conduct illegal activities which lead to his arrest. Luckily his defense attorney was able to identify Jimmy as a trafficking victim. With the help of CAST, Jimmy attended school, learned English, and accessed mental health and housing services. He was also able to reunify with his family.
Jimmy now works full time and is also working on getting his GED. Among others, he was selected to represent youth human trafficking victims at the first ever US Refugee Youth Consultation organized by UNHCR and USCRI. He travelled to DC and shared his experience with refuges and victims of trafficking as well as other stakeholders. Jimmy hopes to become a leader in his community. He hopes that through sharing his story he will prevent others from falling prey to trafficking. As a member of the Survivor Advisory Caucus, he has started to participate at speaking events, sharing his story and providing
recommendations on how to serve youth victims of human trafficking. His dream is to one day join the air force and be able to serve the country he now calls home.