Philadelphia – Partnership. Humility. Solidarity. Possibility. These are words used to describe outcomes and results from the Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities (MARC) convening that was held in March of 2017. The convening brought together community leaders in the trauma-informed movement from 14 networks in 14 states. Participants discussed their projects, shared their ideas, and learned from each other at the two day event in Philadelphia.
MARC leaders across all 14 sites aim to “move the needle” on public policies—at the local, state and federal level—that can reduce childhood adversity and build resilience. But how to translate that system-shifting goal into specific advocacy efforts that result in measurable change?
As recognition of the widespread impact of trauma increases, the desire to provide trauma-informed care is at the forefront of a movement to build resilience and prevent and mitigate the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Given the growing momentum for change and the need to bolster awareness of promising practices in trauma-informed care, the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative researched over 300 programs to develop this Environmental Scan Report.
A few weeks back, a participant in a conference call about trauma-informed communities asked me an interesting question: “If I were to come to Tarpon Springs, would I notice anything different about it? Would I be able to tell that it’s trauma-informed and that Peace4Tarpon had an impact?”
The question gave me pause. That's what we hope for, but how would we know?
Before Claire Ranit spoke to her local Rotary Club, she needed to know if her listeners would be elephants or riders.
Ranit, MARC project director for the Columbia River Gorge, was referring to a model of behavioral psychology outlined by psychologist Jonathan Haidt in his book, The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. In Haidt’s metaphor the conscious mind is a rider on the back of an elephant, while the elephant galumphs along on instinct and impulse.
“The elephant is a big, powerful animal—the emotional side of things,” Ranit explains. “The rider is the analytical piece that makes decisions and guides the elephant where it needs to go.”
December 27, 2016 – The Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity recently held a training session on trauma-informed practices and adversity for Philadelphia city employees. Led by the Health Federation of Philadelphia (HFP), the training recognized the impact of trauma on organizations, employees and the importance of caring for the caregivers.
The Collaborative is pleased to share three policy briefs on the impact of ACEs in the health, justice, and education systems including promising practices and recommended actions for change. These briefs were developed by members of the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative—system leaders in Illinois who are working from an ACEs-informed lens to improve systems to prevent and mitigate trauma across generations.
By: Leslie Lieberman, Senior Director of Special Initiatives and Consulting, Health Federation of Philadelphia
They began with a song and ended with a poem. In-between, there were photographs and giant graphic renderings, movement exercises and a “human pulse” formed when 90 people stood in a circle and squeezed each other’s hands.
At a June summit in Whatcom County, Washington, titled “Our Resilient Community: A Community Conversation on Resilience and Equity,” the arts played a starring role.
Kristi Slette, executive director of the Whatcom Family and Community Network, one of two Washington sites participating in the Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities (MARC) project, says the arts—music, dance, sculpture, storytelling—can help audiences understand trauma, resilience and hope in a visceral way.
“When the research and the data don’t pull you in, interacting with the arts communicates with people in a way they’re open to,” she says. “It extends our reach.”
The owner of the biggest construction firm in Walla Walla, Washington, sat through a February 2013 seminar that framed adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in ways a business person could understand: how childhood trauma could translate into low productivity, high turnover, sinking morale and rising health care costs.
The top cause of on-the-job injury at the construction firm was substance abuse by young male workers. Suddenly, the dots connected. The owner leaned toward Teri Barila, co-founder of the Community Resilience Initiative, and said, “Now I know what you’ve been trying to tell us.”