‘The Horrors of Human Trafficking’ – Distinguished Panel Assembles for Christian Rights & Freedom Series

A panel discussion exploring ‘The Horrors of Human Trafficking” will be hosted Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 7100 Airport Road North, Naples, by the Christian Rights and Freedom Institute.  Distinguished participants bringing their expertise to this discussion will include Peabody Award Winning WGCU-FM Radio News Director Amy Tardif, St. Matthew’s House CEO Rev. Vann R. Ellison, and Director of the Human Trafficking Resource Center at Florida Gulf Coast University Dr. Johnny McGaha.  The panel will be moderated by Fr. Philemon Patitsas, St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church.

The panel discussion is part of a series of films, lectures, and other events presented annually by the Christian Rights and Freedom Institute.  Series cost is $40 per person for the entire season, which includes the annual Symposium set for April 1, 2017.  Couples may join for $60.  Cost for non-members is $10 per event and $30 for the Symposium.  For additional information in the 2016-17 program please visit www.christianrightsandfreedom.org or call 239-465-4341.

Amy Tardif is FM Station Manager & News Director at WGCU-FM. She oversees a staff of 6 in news, production and the radio reading service.  Her program Lucia’s Letter on human trafficking received a coveted Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, a gold medal from the New York Festivals and 1st place for Best Documentary from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. She was the first woman in radio to Chair RTDNA, having previously served as Chair-Elect and the Region 13 representative on its Board of Directors for which she helped write an e-book on plagiarism and fabrication. She also serves on the FPBS Board of Directors and served on the PRNDI Board of Directors from 2007 -2012. And she served on the Editorial Integrity for Public Media Project helping to write the section on employee’s activities beyond their public media work. She was the producer and host of Gulf Coast Live Arts Edition for 8 years and spent 14 years as WGCU’s local host of NPR’s Morning Edition. Amy spent five years as producer and managing editor of WGCU-TV’s former monthly environmental documentary programs In Focus on the Environment and Earth Edition. Prior to joining WGCU Public Media in 1993, she was the spokesperson for the Fort Myers Police Department, spent 6 years reporting and anchoring for television stations in Fort Myers and Austin, Minnesota and reported for WUSF Public Radio in Tampa.  Amy has two sons in college and loves fencing, performing in local theater and horseback riding.

Rev. Vann R. Ellison is President and CEO of St. Matthew’s House. He is responsible for the successful operations of all of St. Matthew’s House efforts including Programs and Ministries, Fundraising and Development, Business and Organization Practices, Budgets, Capital and Asset Protection and Board Liaison.  Mr. Ellison leads the organization in meeting the annual goals and objectives as approved by the Chairman and the Board of Directors. Immediately prior to St. Matthew’s House, Mr. Ellison’s Naples experience included Senior Chaplain at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office; Director of Marketing, ManorCare; Executive Director, The Assembly Center, First Assembly of God; and Program Director at The Willough at Naples. Before coming to Naples, Rev. Ellison
was Director of The Willough at Huntsville; Counselor and Assistant Director of Outpatient Care at Palmview HMA Hospital in Lakeland and Youth Pastor at Mt. Zion Assembly of God Church in Plant City.

Born in Raleigh, NC and raised in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Rev. Ellison attended Southeastern College in Lakeland, FL with a major in Theology.  His volunteer activities include membership in the National Eagle Scout Association, as well as holding the position of Scoutmaster.  He is also a member of the 2011 Class of Leadership Bonita Springs.  He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Collier County Hunger and Homeless Coalition and served on several committees at Naples Christian Academy. Rev. Ellison has also attended the International Conference of Police Chaplains. Rev. Ellison’s career and calling have allowed him to counsel and care for all facets of our society. He often speaks of how grateful he is to be involved with St. Matthew’s House and to help give a home to the homeless, food to the hungry and above all, hope to the hopeless. Rev. Ellison and his wife live in Naples with their four boys.

Dr. Johnny McGaha earned his B.S. and M.A. in Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University, and his PhD at Oklahoma State.  He joined the Criminal Justice faculty at Southeast Missouri State University in 1985 where he became a tenured professor in 1993. Dr. McGaha served as Chair of the Department and graduate coordinator at Southeast Missouri State until becoming the founding Chairperson of Criminal Justice at Florida Gulf Coast University in 1997.  During his tenure, he has served as Department Chair, Director of the School of Public and Social Services, Dean of the College of Public Services, and Dean of the College of Professional Studies.  He currently serves as Professor of Justice Studies and Program Leader for the Masters of Criminal Justice Program.  He has authored and served as Principal Investigator and Project Director on several grants.

Dr. McGaha’s current research interest is in the field of human trafficking where he has served as Chair of the local Task Force on Human Trafficking, Program Evaluator for Human Trafficking Grants with the local Sheriff’s office, and Catholic Charities Victims’ Services; he was invited to participate with a team of Federal professionals from the Department of Justice and Homeland Security to conduct task force development at the Center to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Moldova. He has presented nationally and internationally on this topic, and is the author of several related articles.

 


 

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Carol Hamilton Dimopoulos is a graduate of University of Illinois…
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