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Eden Conference delivers the inspiration
to ‘Rise up and start the change’

May 16th, 2018

Six Eden mentors and educators from Points West Living attended the 9th Eden Alternative International Conference, held May 3-5 in Atlanta Georgia. The participants brought home heads and hearts filled with new experiences, knowledge and inspiration to share. 

"Change starts here"

Our six representatives, Sarah Walker (Eden Associate and GM of PWL Lloydminister), Georg Rath (Connecting Care COO), Elithea de Villiers (Director of Health Services), Mary Lou Duncan (Community Mentor), Karen Boyer (Manager of Recreation & Community Development), and Marlon Cruz (Corporate Educator), were among 441 attendees from 33 states and six countries. The theme of the conference was ‘Rise Up…Change starts here’.

Interactive imagination

“Our conference kicked off with a special presentation by a professor of Theatre at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee,” says Mary Lou Duncan. “In an interactive session, Anne Basting and her guests shared the story of what happens when people thought to be incapable of imagination take it up. We as audience members were able to join in and learn to be part of the creative process.”


“We attended many presentations and intensive sessions over the next three days, which we’ll share with our care partner communities over the course of the next few months,” says Mary Lou. “We were also very fortunate to be able to hear Jude Thomas and Dr. Bill Thomas (cofounders of The Eden Alternative) speak throughout the course of the conference. We were even able to have a conversation with both of them and get a photo (above), which was one of the many highlights for all of us in attendance.”

Embrace moments of risk, reward, and possibility

“We finished off the conference on day three with a two-part session of ‘Disrupt Dementia’ featuring humanitarian and refugee Samite Mulondo (founder of Musicians for Humanity, who is also featured in the Alive Inside documentary), and Dr. Bill Thomas with ‘Life’s Most Dangerous Game’ which challenged us as to reject stereotypes and embrace the moments of life that offer the greatest risk, reward, and possibility.”

Mary Lou says the group enjoyed networking and sharing copies of a book of Points West Living/Connecting Care Eden Moment stories. “Our inspirational stories are now being spread around the world!”

Photo: In this highlight photo from the 2018 Eden Alternative International Conference in Atlanta Georgia, Eden Alternative cofounder, Dr. Bill Thomas (center) is flanked by (from left) Sarah, Georg, Elithea, (Dr. Bill), Mary Lou, Karen, and Marlon.

More photos at Flickr: Eden Conference delivers the inspiration to ‘rise up and start the change’


-Some of the conference presentations are available online at the 2018 Eden Alternative International Conference YouTube Channel (15 hours of talks and educational sessions)
-Conference information page 
-Conference program (PDF)

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