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Actress Sonia Manzano speaks at annual “Because Kids Count Conference”

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INDIANAPOLIS — One of the largest annual gatherings of youth workers and educators in the Midwest took place at the Indiana Convention Center this week.

The Indiana Youth Institute’s “Because Kids Count Conference” is a two day event where experts lead workshops on education and youth development topics.

Tuesday’s keynote speaker is actress and author Sonia Manzano, who’s known for playing “Maria” on Sesame Street for more than 40 years.

Manzano shared stories about her work and life experiences and says she hopes to share a message about showing more compassion in today’s world.

Wednesday’s speaker was country music singer and songwriter Jimmy Wayne.

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