Motivating people to practice intentional acts of kindness
Speakers Schedule Register Things to do in Des Moines

Conference Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Dr. James KokDr. James Kok

How to Become a Happier Person
Something very important is underway in the way we must think about the call to good living.  Careful research is confirming Jesus’ call to “love one another” is behavior that is good for us, as well as those being cared for. It is guidance that will bring happiness and satisfaction into our  personal lives.

Looking at the Average Man or Woman
Rethinking the long history of class systems and divisive attitudes towards other people is long overdue in our Christian communities. We will take a fresh look at the correct way to think about, and relate to, the stranger, the “worldly” neighbor, the clerk at the drug store.

God is Love. Love is God.
The Biblical text “God is love” is familiar to all of us.  The logical follow-up is to turn it around and say ”Love is God”. That means that when you are touching someone in a loving way, it is touching them with God’s love. It means that all people are instruments of God, whether or not they are believers in God.

Dr. James Kok has been an ordained minister for 50 years and is the founder of Care and Kindness Ministries, which presents conferences throughout the United States to train and motivate people in the Vision of Care and Kindness. His book, The Miracle of Kindness, is the virtual textbook for this vision. He speaks extensively throughout the United States and Canada.

Dr. Kok was Director of Care Ministry for the Crystal Cathedral Congregation of Garden Grove, CA for 29 years. As a certified Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor, he trained churches, pastors and telephone counselors in care methods.

He writes for the Care Capsule and is the author of six books. The most recent one, Transform Belief Into Behavior has just been released.

Other Speakers

Andrew GrossAndrew Gross

A Caring Adult Friend

Andrew Gross works for DMACC Des Moines Area Community College) as a Literacy Specialist. He has been an educator during his entire professional career. He has served students from upper elementary to adults in rural, suburban and inner city settings in public and non-profit institutions. He has been a student of the Search Institute’s 40 developmental assets since 1997 and served as President of the Iowa Asset Building Coalition from 1999 through 2002. He completed a trainer of trainers for the Search Institute and has facilitated a number of training sessions across Iowa; from “Introducing the 40 Developmental Assets” to “Incorporating Developmental Assets Across the Community.” In 2002, Andrew developed a curriculum entitled “Preventing Bullying through the Asset Lens.”

Andrew received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and his Masters and Specialist’s degrees from Drake University.

Sandy HoenigSandy Hoenig

The Joy of Forgiveness
Grudges, resentments, self-defeating habits and negative feelings are barriers to a healthy, productive life. Come explore a comfortable, safe and trusting atmosphere to journey through the stages of forgiveness to personal empowerment. Forgiving is the only way to stop the pain and bring hope for the future.

Sandy Hoenig has facilitated workshops and retreats on the Joy of Forgiveness. She has 40 years of experience as a primary teacher and elementary counselor and spends time volunteering in the community. She holds Bachelor and Master degrees from Drake Universigy and is a nationally certified counselor.

Martin IkedaMartin Ikeda

Understanding And Supporting “The Hidden Disabilities”
Have you ever witnessed a child screaming in the department store and thought to yourself, “spoiled brat”? Have you been in a restaurant when a child threw their food and made a scene and thought, “hmmpf. Rotten parents”? The teenager across the street. You know, the one out late and getting failing grades? If she just buckled down she could get her life on straight, right?

There are 70,000 children in Iowa with disabilities that require support through special education. There are countless others with mental illness that we don’t know about. Most of these children have “high incidence” disabilities like speech problems or learning disabilities, while some children with behavior problems have Autism or an Emotional Disturbance.

This session will discuss “Hidden Disabilities,” general strategies to promote positive behavior, and why practices like yelling, spanking, and taking away privileges are not enough. By the end of the session, participants will have information to help their awareness and tolerance of the struggles families face when raising an infant, toddler, youth, or teenager with a “hidden” disability.

Martin J. Ikeda, Ph. D., BCBA-D, is a licensed Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He currently is the Clinic Director of the Clive Clinic of The Homestead (Altoona, Iowa), where he works as part of a team providing innovative solutions for people with Autism. Dr. Ikeda has been the State of Iowa’s Director of Special Education, an administrator in Iowa’s Area Education Agency System, and started in Iowa as a School Psychologist. With 20 years’ experience in supporting people with disabilities, Dr. Ikeda’s mission is to promote awareness and equity for people with disabilities.

Maizie JohnsonMazie Johnson

Respite Care
This session will focus on respite care and the importance of meeting your own needs while caring for others.

Language of Caring
This session will focus on the importance of using person-first, culturally competent language to promote kindness and respect. 

Mazie Johnson, Executive Director of the Arc of Iowa and Project Director for the Lifespan Respite Coalition,graduated from The University of Iowa with a bachelor's degree in Social Work and a certificate in Critical Cultural Competence. Before joining The Arc of Iowa, she worked in older adult advocacy, with an emphasis on the joining of aging and disability resources across Iowa.

The Arc of Iowa is an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They preserve and protect their fundamental rights through advocacy and action in support of legislation for civil rights, employment, housing and supports.

Renae JonesRenae Jones

Children: Safe, Strong & Free
This session provides information about child personal safety topuics that impact children's health and well-being. Issues discussed include bullying, stranger abduction and child sexual abuse. How to talke with kids about personal safety issues along with pro0-actiuve safety planning steps and resources will be discussed.

Renae Jones, MS, Prevention Coordinator, is a community educator on the injury prevention team at Blank Children’s Hospital Center for Advocacy and Outreach. Renae teaches personal safety education for school staff, parents, and school-aged children. Renae has a MS in Mental Health Counseling from Drake University and is currently working toward becoming a licensed mental health counselor.

Cindy MeekCindy Meek

How to Provide Kindness and Caring to Someone Who Is Grieving
Learn how you can make a difference to a child, teen, or adult during one of the most difficult times of their life, simply by being a caring presence. Cindy will provide a brief overview of how children, teens, and adults grieve in uniquely different ways, and then offer suggestions on what specific words and actions are found to be most supportive to each.

This is an interactive session. Cindy will share stories and encourage others to share what they have found most helpful and least helpful during their own personal grief journey. (Sharing is optional, of course.) Come learn how life-affirming caring for one another following a death can be!

Cindy Meek, Program Coordinator at Amanda’s House, has over 20 years experience working with grieving families in Iowa. She develops and facilitates year-round grief programs such as Camp Amanda, 8-week peer support groups, Family Nights, Fun Days, holiday support, and school and church visits.  A small staff and hundreds of trained volunteers and donors make it possible for Amanda the Panda’s Center for Grief and Loss to care for over a thousand Iowan families a year, all free of charge.

Kathie ObradovichKathie Obradovich

Do Nice Candidates Always Finish Last?

Kathie Obradovich has been covering government and politics in Iowa for more than 25 years. As political columnist for the Des Moines Register, she covers presidential politics and the Statehouse. She is a regular reporter on Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" and a frequent guest on other state, national and international news programs. She's on the faculty of Iowa State University's Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. From 2003 to 2009, Kathie was political editor at the Register and lead editor for the nationally recognized Iowa Poll. Previously, she was a reporter, editor and Statehouse bureau chief for the Lee Enterprises newspapers in Iowa. Kathie is an Iowa native and a graduate of Iowa State University.


on February 17, 2014 !

Jim Kok's new book will be released on February 17. Watch for further news !

Read a sample now!

Transform Belief Into Behavior

Check out this exciting,
motivating, helpful book

Click here


Dr. James Kok

Dr. James Kok is the founder of the Care and Kindness Campaign

You really shouldn’t say “I LOVE YOU” unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.
— Jessica- age 8