Join us for one day of heart-probing, thought-provoking, engaging, interactive, entertainment and learning.

On October 15th, 2016, Cage Free Voices will host its first annual conference: Mirror Images at the R.I.S.E Demonstration Center in Washington, D.C.

The Mirror Images Conference brings educator, parent, and student alike all underneath one umbrella to address one of the major issues plaguing our communities: illiteracy.

The theme this year is Culturally Misdiagnosed. Come out and hear from student speakers and some of the biggest names in education—Dr. John Hodge, Dr. Trenace Richardson, Ray Nelson, Bathsheba Smithen, and Bridget Robinson Adams. Music and spoken word performances by youth and young adults.

Through activities, panel discussions, entertainment, and break-out sessions, community members are able to have open dialogue with educators concerning perceived challenges, cultural norms and practices that directly impact the learning process. The Mirror Images Conference provides: professional development for educators and administrators who are tasked with ensuring increased student outcomes; a training ground for parents who serve as determining factors in student performance; and a platform for students who are the recipients of the educational services provided.



–Bathsheba Smithen, CEO & Founder



Marc Carr- Facilitator

MarcMarc’s passion for social justice and entrepreneurship has led him to work on civil rights campaigns in the deep south and organize community forums in the U.S. and West Africa. Marc’s professional experience includes heading the sales division of a major international corporation in West Africa, consulting for the United Nations Foundation, and working as a Social Media Analyst for McKinsey & Co.

Marc is the founder of Social Solutions, an organization devoted to crowdsourcing tech solutions to solve intractable social problems. Social Solutions produces a monthly event series, the Capitol Innovation Forum, and the yearly Social Innovation Festival, and a podcast series- the Capitol Justice Podcast. Social Solutions also spearheads the Capitol Justice Lab, an initiative to reduce the incarceration rate in the nation’s capital by half in five years.

Rev. Dr. Trenace Richardson- Session Presenter and Panelist

RevTrenance Dr. Trenace Nicole Richardson is a passionate and energetic preacher, teacher, and psalmist. She has been nicknamed “The Fireball” because of her incredible delivery of the Word of God. Her ability to make the Scriptures come alive in a powerful, yet applicable way is unparalleled.

Dr. Richardson recognized her call to the music ministry at a very early age and has since recorded with several local recording artists. She acknowledged the call to preach the gospel while in college and was ordained in 2012. A lover of learning and all things academic, Dr. Richardson earned a Master of Divinity degree from Howard University and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University. Her dissertation focused on the impact of spirituality on the leadership practices of African American women college presidents. As a result of her education and experience, Dr. Richardson is a sought after speaker and leader in educational and religious settings. She has spoken to audiences across the country, helping churches, organizations, and individuals excel in the areas of spiritual empowerment, servant leadership, and leadership development. Trenace is an award-winning professor and Director of Teaching and Learning at Strayer University.

Dr. Richardson served faithfully in executive church leadership for several years before deciding to go back into higher education leadership full-time, while at the same time, building her God-given vision of creating REAL Women, an intimate, safe place for women to do real work on themselves. Trenace’s ministry experiences have included overseeing Christian Education, leading praise and worship, conducting ministers’ trainings, and teaching Bible studies for all age groups. She is currently a worship leader at LifePoint Church in Waldorf, MD. Trenace is blessed to be the wife of Gregory Richardson and they have two beautiful children, Nhi’ya and Nigel.

Raimon (Ray) Nelson, Sr. - Session Presenter and Panelist

raimonRaimon Nelson is an effective modern day youth communicator. “Ray”, as he is affectionately known, speaks to hundreds of diverse youth groups each year across the United States including events such as, revivals, school assemblies, camps, banquets, and workshops. A gifted communicator and facilitator, he has a unique ability to translate positive messages to young people. His speaking style is very relational and relevant for today’s youth culture.

Ray’s heart was touched and his purpose turned in a different direction. After the murder of two of his childhood friends, his heart to see young people live a life of purpose became a major priority. In 2002 he began speaking to at-risk youth in the Park View and Petworth communities of Washington, DC. In 2003, Ray was licensed as a Christian preacher by Rev. Dr. Frank D. Tucker, Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Washington, DC and joined the staff with a concentration on youth and community outreach.

For 12 years Ray Nelson diligently served as a Youth Development Specialist with World Vision US Programs. World Vision is one of the largest humanitarian organizations in the world. He trained youth service providers and helped build the capacity of their organizations to more effectively serve kids for positive youth development. Ray also was a trainer for World Vision’s national signature youth advocacy program entitled the “Youth Empowerment Program.” The Youth Empowerment Program trained youth as positive agents of change to become civically engaged in their community, establish the power of their voice, and advocate against injustice. Mr. Nelson currently serves as the Youth and Urban Care Pastor at Little Lights Urban Ministries in Southeast, DC and the Assistant Pastor at Landmark Church in Alexandria, VA. He is the Founder and President of The Fourth Quarter LLC., which focuses on mentoring and leadership development. Ray is a motivated and very inspirational person.

Ray is a native Washingtonian who was raised in a Northwest DC community riddled with drugs, violence, generational poverty and despair. After high school Ray matriculated to Montgomery College in Takoma Park, Maryland. He will continue his education pursuing a degree in Counseling and Life Coaching from Liberty University in the spring.

Ray is happily married to his wife Kimberly of 11 years and they have four beautiful children.

Dr. John Hodge- Keynote Speaker

JohnDr. John W. Hodge is president and co-founder of Urban Learning and Leadership Center (ULLC), an organization focused on student achievement and reduction of the achievement gap. He has served as a reading teacher, English teacher, AVID teacher, Assistant Principal and Associate Director of AVID Center Eastern Division. He served as Director of An Achievable Dream Academy, an inner city school that piloted many of the interventions used by Urban Learning and Leadership Center. An Achievable Dream Academy is a high performing, high poverty school that has received numerous national awards. John received his Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University where he graduated with honors. He later received his Master of Arts degree from Chapman University. John completed his academic and professional preparation by earning a Doctor of Education degree from Virginia Tech where he conducted extensive research on factors that contribute to the academic success and/or failure of impoverished children. What sets Dr. John W. Hodge apart in the field of education is his well-documented ability to put research and theory into everyday practice in rural, urban and suburban schools. Dr. Hodge has helped educators in elementary, middle and high schools make the necessary changes to help all children meet and exceed rigorous academic standards. He is truly one of America’s most respected new voices in education. Prior to starting his career in education, Dr. Hodge distinguished himself in the service of our country with the 7th Infantry Division of the United States Army. He is known as a master teacher and staff developer.

Dr. Hodge’s career has been defined by assisting students and teachers overcome obstacles and achieve goals. He has served as an inspirational speaker across the United States and has been a guest lecturer at Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, North Carolina A&T State University and George Washington University. Dr. Hodge is a trained facilitator for the (SREB) Leadership Initiative Modules “Leading Assessment and Instruction” and “Creating a High Performance Learning Culture”, and a trained assessor and facilitator in the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) “Developing the 21st Century Principal” program.

Dr. Hodge is a frequent speaker for elementary, middle and high school student assemblies. His presentations are often “the spark” for schools in their quest to meet and exceed state/federal accreditation standards and implement strategies for continuous improvement. Dr. Hodge is an expert in helping schools create and sustain academic excellence.

Bridget Robinson- Adams – Session Presenter and Panelist

BridgettBridget Adams, a native of Boston, Massachusetts, discovered early in life that working with young people was not only her passion, but her calling. In 2001, she walked away from a well-paying career in corporate industry and stepped out on faith to follow her heart and become an educator. As a classroom teacher, she has coached countless high school students to overcome adversity, to believe and invest in themselves, and to give back to their communities. In 2014, Bridget piloted a program, the Movement Empowerment Program to empower young men of color and their families to navigate the often intimidating process of applying to college and finding scholarships.MEP’s first graduating class earned more than $880K in scholarships.

After connecting with President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative, Bridget was motivated to expand the impact of MEP and co-founded, Made For More, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c ) 3 organization, committed to providing opportunities and experiences which promote greatness among young men and women. In September 2015, Made For More launched SHERO, a program designed to unlock the potential of middle and high school girls in the area of STEM, Fine Arts, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship. Made For More now has nearly 200 program participants in the Hampton Roads area. In addition to being Executive Director of Made For More, Bridget is the Youth Development Supervisor for Newport News Public Schools, in Newport News, VA. A mother of two awesome young adults, and a grandmother of one brilliant 6 year old princess, Bridget earned an undergraduate degree in Marketing at Fairfield University and, later, a Master’s degree in Education from Regent University. Bridget Adams is a die-hard advocate for youth who has devoted her life to empowering them to be destiny minded individuals who understand the power of serving others!

CFV Radio

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