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Exploring Poverty

On January 20, 2022, The Sharing Center will host a vital summit to explore the critical issues affecting our neighbors experiencing poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity. Community members will come together to discuss topics such as affordable housing, mental health, job access, and education in Seminole County. Every person in the community plays a critical role, from the teacher to the firefighter, to the local hospital nurse to the CEO.

We all shape this community. Exploring Poverty will both inform and educate attendees on the experience of poverty. The summit will include keynote experts, panelists, and an experiential walk through the lens of someone facing the burdens of poverty.


Welcome: 8:00 a.m.
Keynote Speaker: 8:45 a.m.
Featured Speaker: 9:30 a.m.
Break: 10:15 a.m.
Panel: 10:30 a.m.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.
Cost of Poverty Experience: 12:15 p.m.

Dr. Amy Donley, Director of the Institute for Social & Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Amy Donley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at UCF and Director of the UCF Institute for Social and Behavioral Science. Her research focuses on poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness and work has appeared in journals including Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, Journal of Black Studies, and Society. She has co-authored two relevant books entitled Hunger in the Land of Plenty: A Critical Look at Food Insecurity and The Poor and Homeless in the Sunshine State: Down and Out in Theme Park Nation. Dr. Donley actively works in the community tackling poverty, food insecurity and homelessness and serves on the Board of Directors at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Homeless Services Network. Her current research focuses on the impact of the pandemic on Central Florida hospitality workers and the experience of food insecurity and homelessness among UCF students.

Superintendent Serita D. Beamon, Seminole County Public School Board

During Ms. Beamon’s tenure with SCPS, she has championed the development, expansion and evaluation of programs that provide opportunities for all students. As a member of the district’s leadership team for the past 16 years, Ms. Beamon was directly involved in the planning and implementation of all aspects of the district’s operations and the relentless pursuit of instructional excellence and equity. SCPS has been nationally recognized for its innovative approaches to instruction, programs, opportunities for students, and partnerships with business and community—Ms. Beamon has collaborated in all these efforts to improve outcomes for students while also maintaining the stellar reputation of SCPS for regulatory compliance and strong stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

Venise White

Community Programs Manager

The Florida Department of Health in Seminole County

Shannon Young

Executive Director

Seminole County Housing

Lynette Fields

Executive Director

Poverty Solutions Group