The Invisible Wound: Helping our Youth Heal from the Trauma of Gun Violence 


Friday, September 29, 2023 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM EDT
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Radisson Long Island Hotel
110 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway
Encore Room
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Driving Directions 


Christina Steudte, LMHC 
Association for Mental Health and Wellness 
631-471-7242 ext 1330 

Please Note: 

  • No refunds will be issued for cancellations. 
  • If you are requesting Continuing Education credits, you must be present for all sessions of this conference, from 9am-1pm. 
  • Please dress in layers as the venue's temperature can vary throughout the day.


KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Empowering Teens to Reduce Gun Violence by Raising Awareness of the Risks of Using Guns 

Presenter: Nina Vinik, JD, Founder and Executive Director of Project Unloaded

In this Keynote Address, Nina Vinik will provide an overview of gun violence, its impact on youth and a new approach to reducing gun violence through narrative and culture change leveraging the power of social media and Gen Z to create a new cultural narrative centered on the risks of using guns.  

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn about the impact of gun violence on teens
  • Participants will learn how gun culture contributes to rates of violence
  • Participants will learn how teens are using culture change to reduce gun violence by raising awareness of the risks of using guns

SESSION 1: Helping Children Cope in the Aftermath of Trauma

Presenter: Katie Peinovich, LCSW, Child Mind Institute 

This workshop will cover concrete skills that can be used to support children in the aftermath of a trauma, such as gun violence. This workshop will provide a brief overview of trauma psychoeducation, and discuss skills and interventions that can be used to support youth, and ways of talking with youth who have experienced trauma. Strategies for caregiver and educators will be discussed. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will understand the concept of pscyhological first aid, including how to support children in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, and how to communicate with children about their experience
  • Participants will be introduced to clinical skills to support children therapeutically, such as trauma psychoeducation, relaxation strategies, emotion regulation skills, managing trauma related avoidance, and making meaning from a traumatic event

SESSION 2: Dealing with the Aftermath: Once the Gun Smoke Clears

Presenter: Sergio Argueta, LMSW, Founder of STRONG Youth, Inc

In the wake of gun violence, communities often face immense challenges in healing and adequately meeting the needs of those directly impacted by violence. This workshop aims to provide practical insights on coming together as a community to respond effectively. Participants will explore various strategies and resources that can be employed to support those affected, foster resilience, and establish connections between clinicians and community groups.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will demonstrate an understanding of the psychological and social impact of gun violence on individuals and communities
  • Participants will be familiar with available community resources and support services for those affected by gun violence
  • Participants will learn about the importance of collaboration between clinicians, community based organizations, and other stakeholders in the healing process


Social Workers, Mental Health Counselors, Creative Arts Therapists, Marriage and Family Therapists, anyone that is working in the mental health field, in the school setting, or with youth.    




Association for Mental Health and Wellness is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers. (Provider #0156)

 Association for Mental Health and Wellness is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. (Provider #MHC-0014)

Association for Mental Health and Wellness is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists. (Provider #MFT-0010)

Association for Mental Health and Wellness is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed creative arts therapists. (Provider #CAT-0004)

*New York State Office of the Professions (NYSED) regulations require that participants attend the entire approved educational activity in order to receive continuing education credits, from 9:00am-1:00pm*   


Continuing Education (CE) Registration


Registration (CE Hours Needed) Choose this option if you DO require LMSW/LCSW/LMHC/LMFT/LCAT CE Hours (Certificate of Completion, including CE hours, will be provided)

General Registration


Registration (NO CE Hours Needed) Choose this option if you DO NOT require CE Hours (Certificate of Attendance will be provided)

Student Registration


For Current students (Certificate of Attendance will be provided)

Please email from your ‘.edu’ email address to obtain the discount code

Continental Breakfast will be provided.


                                   ABOUT THE PRESENTERS

Nina Vinik, JD: Keynote Address

Nina Vinik is the founder and executive director of Project Unloaded, an organization working to inspire the next generation to choose not to own guns through cultural campaigns. Prior to founding Project Unloaded, Vinik spent two decades working in gun violence prevention. At the Joyce Foundation, Vinik oversaw distribution of more than $50 million in grant funds to support evidence-backed gun violence prevention work. Before her role at Joyce, she had a successful career as an attorney, running legal programs to address gun violence and representing clients in civil rights and civil liberties cases.

She chaired the board of directors of the March For Our Lives Action Fund until 2021. Vinik also created the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, the Fund for a Safer Future, and the Toward a Fair and Just Response to Gun Violence cohort. Nina serves on multiple professional boards, as an Advisory Board member of the NYU Policing Project; an Advisor to the American Law Institute, Principles of the Law-Police Investigations; a Member of the Council on Criminal Justice; and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Katie Peinovich, LCSW: Helping Children Cope in the Aftermath of Trauma

Katie Peinovich, LCSW, has been providing trauma treatment to New York City children in school and community settings for over two decades.  Ms. Peinovich works with the Child Mind Institute’s School and Community Programs to expand access to evidence-based mental health care and to build capacity among school-based clinicians to bring high quality care to their school communities in a culturally relevant way.  

Sergio Argueta, LMSW: Dealing with the Aftermath: Once the Gun Smoke Clears

Sergio Argueta stands out as a prominent grassroots community activist on Long Island, renowned for his impactful work.  He was the driving force behind S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, Inc. (Struggling To Reunite Our New Generation) as its founder, Executive Director, eventually transitioning to Board Chair.  His unwavering dedication has consistently centered on empowering at-promise youth through vital services and fostering community healing.

Sergio's educational journey includes earning an associate degree in Criminal Justice from Nassau Community College, a bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in political science from Hofstra University, and a master's degree in social work from Stony Brook University.  Sergio became a licensed social worker with additional certifications in School Social Work and as an Attendance Teacher.  He further honed his administrative expertise by obtaining post-master certificates and earning NYS school building and district leadership certifications.

With a rich professional background, Sergio was a pivotal gang prevention and intervention specialist for the Nassau County Youth Board.  He has since emerged as a regional authority on street organizations and youth violence.  His leadership extended to Adelphi University, where Sergio served as the Baccalaureate Social Work Program Director.  He later transitioned to secondary education where notably, he ascended from a high school social worker to the Dean of Academic Services and Discipline at Uniondale High School and Lawrence Road Middle School, earning tenure in 2023.

Sergio's influence also extends to community organizing, notably as a Co-Convener of The Corridor Counts (T.C.C.), advocating for equity within marginalized Nassau County communities.  His impact has been recognized through extensive media coverage, including features in prestigious publications like Scholastic Magazine, New York Newsday, The New York Times, and VICE MAGAZINE.  He has also been a sought-after guest on numerous television and radio programs, such as M.S.N.B.C., CNN, FOX, Telemundo, Univision, Hot 97.1 F.M. Street Soldiers, W.B.A.I., and B.B.C. Radio & Television.  Sergio's voice resonates in documentaries like PBS Frontline and Al Jazeera, and hosted his own talk show, "Behind the News – Long Island," on W.B.A.I. radio.

In recognition of his commitment to racial justice and youth empowerment, Sergio earned a spot on City & State's Power 100 list in 2020.  He has shared his insights with students as an adjunct professor at Nassau Community College, St. Joseph's College, Stony Brook University, Millersville University in Pennsylvania, and Adelphi University, spanning Schools of Social Work, Criminal Justice, and Education.

Sergio Argueta's impact as a compelling speaker is profound, touching on an array of contemporary issues of race, class, gender, interpersonal violence, education, and criminal justice reform, just to name a few.  Beyond his professional accomplishments, he takes pride in his roots as the son of Graciela Argueta and as a devoted partner to Katiria Maldonado-Argueta.  His two daughters, Lei-Lani and Gianna Argueta-Maldonado, exemplify the strength that underpins his journey.