Forrest Scene

Unconference on poverty planned for June 11 at Washburn University

Registration is now open for the inaugural Topeka Community Conversation on Poverty.

Organized by the AmeriCorps VISTA office at the Washburn University Center for Community and Civic Engagement and community volunteers, the day-long event aims to bring together everyone in the Topeka area with an interest in poverty alleviation.

“It is time for those of us in Topeka who are concerned about the level of poverty here to get together and talk,” said Judy Nickelson, VISTA coordinator and lead organizer of the TCCOP. “We hope to provide an opportunity for Topekans to make connections and build collaborations around poverty issues, to discuss what is working and what isn’t, to talk about their dreams and visions for the Topeka community.”

Following the Unconference model, participants on June 11 will set the agenda and lead discussion based on what matters most to them. The event will begin at 8 a.m. in the Washburn University Memorial Union.

This open invitation event will engage Topekans in conversations about their experience of poverty in Topeka, including food access, housing, healthcare, education, employment, civil rights, criminal justice, the role of the faith community, funding, policy issues and more. Through small group work and whole group collaboration, challenges will be identified and solutions developed. 

Registration is $25 for individuals and $20 for students. Agencies are asked to pay $45, which covers registration for one staff person and one client. Scholarships also are available.  Register or give a scholarship online at Lunch is included in the cost of registration. Registration will close Monday, June 9.

For more information about the Topeka Community Conversation on Poverty, visit


Judy Nickelson, VISTA coordinator and TCCOP lead organizer, 785.670.2286
Michaela Saunders, university relations, 785.670.2154