The following toolkit accompanies -- and has been integrated -- into the interactive Roadmap to Resilience infographic.
You don't have to proceed numerically through the Roadmap, but it's a good idea to complete everything in each group before moving onto the next group. Note that many of these activities are done concurrently.
What we're pretty sure about, is that, so far, all these steps are necessary elements of continued progress and success.
Some steps, such as starting a group on ACEsConnection, can be taken sooner than indicated.
1. Someone starts. Anyone—a community advocate, a local priest, an artist, a group of pediatricians—starts the conversation and brings a cross-sector group together to catalyze the community’s efforts to prevent ACEs, heal trauma, and build resilience. Cross-sector includes education, human services, juvenile justice, mental health, civic, faith-based, business, etc. What’s important is that everyone in the group understands the science of ACEs and be committed to integrating ACE-, trauma-informed and resilience-building policies and practices into all parts of their organizations and communities.
Starting from scratch:
Building on existing efforts:
2. What does it mean to be ACEs-, trauma-informed, and resilience-building?Identify efforts underway and invite participants in those efforts to collaborate on preventing ACEs, healing trauma, and building resilience in their families, organizations, systems, and communities. Using this assets mapping tool will help you identify organizations in sectors and sub-sectors for outreach (if they haven’t heard about ACEs, trauma, and resilience) and for tracking (if ACEs-, trauma-informed, and resilience-building efforts are already underway).
3. The large group, the steering committee and workgroups. When a small group forms, its members may become the steering committee -- the most enthusiastic people who have time to meet monthly, who begin to incorporate this work into their job descriptions, and who drive the initial effort. They form subcommittees or workgroups -- such as communications, education, health and wellness, children’s initiative -- to support their efforts. Here is a sample agenda for steering committee meetings.
For city, county, regional, state, national and interest-based groups, it's important to note that no one organization owns or controls this effort; it is collaborative, from workgroups to large group. The risk of having any one organization own this -- e.g. a local health department leads the effort and controls who joins the group -- is that it may impede efforts of the entire community -- organizations, agencies or businesses -- to become trauma-informed, since each entity needs to proceed at its own pace, instead of a pace set by a "lead" organization.
The steering committee and subcommittees form the nexus of a large group of participants (50-60) that evolves as more people in the community join the efforts to become trauma-informed. The large group meets in a public forum. It becomes the vehicle for welcoming, inspiring (with stories from its members), and nudging. This group meets monthly or quarterly. People who formally join the collaborative make a commitment for their organizations to become trauma-informed. (See the memorandum of understanding from the Children's Resilience Initiative in Walla Walla, WA, and note how each organization spelled out its commitment.) If these members want to become more involved, they can join subcommittees or workgroups.
It's important that all of these groups -- the large group, steering committee, working groups -- apply ACEs-, trauma-informed, resilience-building policies and practices to their work, and that their members have done their own ACE scores and resilience surveys. Group members can fill out the ACE survey and a resilience survey on paper. (You can find the questions at Got Your ACE Score? on ACEsTooHigh.com.) Or they can create a digital survey using online software. They can discuss the results or keep the results confidential. They can do the surveys anonymously and tally them to determine the group’s average ACE score, as well as how each question compares to the original ACE Study results, or some other community.
4. Public meetings. The large group schedules regular public meetings and makes them open to anyone in the community, e.g., on the public community meeting calendar, such as school board meetings or city council meetings. Be open to “uncommon partners” in the work.
5. Educate local leaders. Identify community leaders from different sectors—education, human services, juvenile justice, mental health, civic, faith-based, business, etc. — and educate them one-on-one about ACEs, trauma and resilience. Assets mapping tool (description and link to Google spreadsheet) For example, figure out a connection with the school superintendent and request a meeting to tell her or him about ACEs and trauma-informed schools. These leaders are likely to provide you with more people to talk with, and eventually, organizations and agencies for which to do presentations.
6. Cross-sector, collaboration and integration. Strive for every sector in the community to be represented on the steering committee and especially in the large group. This may take time, because leaders and organizations within each sector often need information from multiple sources about ACEs, trauma, and resilience. At every step in the process, be sure to include representation across generations, genders, ethnicities, geographies, and economic classes.
7. Local resources. Identify potential resources— local in-kind contributions of meeting space, funds for lunch 'n learns, printing materials, etc.
8. ACEsConnection group. Form a local group on ACEsConnection.com. Here's a guide on how to start a group. Here are some questions to ask before starting a group. In some communities, forming a group on ACEsConnection may come earlier in the Roadmap.
9. Make history. Document your efforts so that others can learn from your community’s experience, and so that you can use the accumulated information in your progress reports or to apply for funding. This includes:
Blog posting: Post minutes of group meetings, as well as any new policies and practices that member organizations are implementing (e.g., the local pediatric clinic begins screening parents for ACEs), or any new organization, agency, business or individual who joins the group (How-To’s: Finding Your Way around ACEs Connection)
Group calendar: Post all ACEs, trauma, and resilience presentations made by group members on the group calendar.
Clips section: Upload any useful documents, videos or audio clips to the Clips section.
Stories: Find someone in your group to do stories about ACEs screening or trauma-informed policies and practices being done by organizations in the community, or ask one of the ACEs Connection community managers to do so.
10. Mission, vision, slogans, goals. Develop broad goals that all can agree to -- such as everyone in the community will integrate ACEs-, trauma-informed, and resilience-building policies and practices in their work, family, community and individual lives. Develop a mission statement, vision statement, slogans/tag lines, strategic goals, principles, and logic model. (Click on each for examples and tools).
11. Local data, local urgency. Use local data that illustrate the effects of ACEs in your community (whether town, city, county, region, state, nation, interest-based group) to create a sense of urgency. Focus on hope, resilience and change without losing sight of the deep and long-term impact of childhood adversity. Examples: U.S. state ACE Surveys, California ACEs Survey report, Philadelphia Urban ACE Report.
12. Communication tools. Develop or borrow PowerPoint presentations, content for brochures, perhaps a web site, Facebook page, video. Find them here. Personalize materials for your community. When anyone from your group does a presentation, try to have them use the language, logos, color schemes to ‘brand” your group in the community. Include a list of all participating community sectors in your slideset.
13. Local funding. Apply to local or regional foundations for initial funding, but don’t stop if you don’t get funding. Many communities, such as Tarpon Springs, FL, and Arizona have gone a very long way without it.
14. Walk the talk. Ask for a commitment from all who participate to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building policies and practices in their workplaces, with an understanding that each organization moves at its own pace. (See the memorandum of understanding from the Children's Resilience Initiative in Walla Walla, WA, and note how each organization spelled out its commitment.) Set goals, such as….500 ACEs presentations to organizations in the community over two years, one ACEs 101 presentation in each sector of the community by year's end, and/or four organizations to adopt ACEs, trauma-informed, and resilience-building principles and practices in two years.
15. Educate. Present. Educate...Repeat. Do presentations about ACEs, trauma, and resilience for all identified sectors in the community—police departments, juvenile court judges, child-care workers. Present to the same groups multiple times; it takes repeated exposures at ever-increasing levels of complexity for new information to take hold. For instant polling of audiences during presentations, we recommend PollEverywhere.com. The ACE survey can be taken anonymously by every audience member with a smart phone, and the group results immediately appear on the screen.
16. Presenters. Any member who's knowledgeable about ACEs 101 and is comfortable doing presentations can do so. Many organizations may require two or three ACEs 101 presentations before being ready to move on to the next step -- to learn how their organization can begin implementing ACEs-, trauma-informed, and resilience-building principles and approaches.
For this second level, develop a speaker's bureau of presenters who have experience integrating ACEs, trauma-informed, and resilience-building policies and practices in that sector. In other words, find a trauma-informed pediatrician to do a presentation to pediatricians; a trauma-informed police officer to do a presentation for law enforcement; a trauma-informed child care specialist to do a presentation to child care organizations; a trauma-informed school counselor to do a presentation to educators. If you don’t know of someone in a sector to do a presentation, contact an ACEs Connection Network community manager who will help you identify someone.
17. Local ACE survey and sector ACE surveys. To develop measures of success, it’s useful, if possible to do a local ACE survey. It’s also useful to do a survey that assesses people’s understanding of ACEs, trauma and resilience, and then remeasure over time to see if the collaborative’s education outreach is making a difference. Develop ways to measure the effects of ACEs in the community, and to measure the effects of the changes put in place. Philadelphia Urban ACE Report.
18. Feedback. Develop ways to gather feedback (e.g., evaluation sheets at workshops). Here’s an example to a survey using Google forms that assesses what people learned during a presentation. Recognize that deep-rooted attitudes—for example, a belief in individual responsibility and self-sufficiency—may present barriers to understanding ACEs, trauma, and resilience, and that such attitudes take time to change. Remember that becoming trauma-informed is a long-term process, and that not everyone will “come on board” right away. For example, in Arizona, Marcia Stanton thought that physicians at the Phoenix Children's Hospital would understand and integrate ACEs right away. That didn't happen.
19. Special Events and Summits. Organize screenings of documentaries such as Paper Tigers to raise awareness and inspire the community, and annual ACE Summits to celebrate progress and map next steps. (Here are links to Iowa’s 2013 and 2014 ACEs summits.)
20. Media. Conduct media outreach at every step through local news, including traditional (newspapers, magazines), digital and social media. Celebrate all progress and successes, no matter how small they seem and post them on the ACEs Connection group.
21. Official recognition. Develop an MOU—memorandum of understanding—for local government to provide official recognition of your organization and its goal of creating an ACEs-, trauma-informed, and resilience-building community. See how Tarpon Springs, FL, did this. States do this by passing resolutions. California Senate unanimously approves ACEs reduction resolution
22. Public and organizational policy. Make sure that organizational policies (e.g., human resources policies) and public policies at the national, state and local levels are examined through an ACEs-, trauma-informed, resilience-building lens, and changed to support the broad goals embodied in these concepts. Educate legislators and other policymakers, including organizational leaders, in the value of trauma-informed and resilience-building approaches.
23. Large-scale funding. Decide whether to seek large-scale funding from the state or federal government, or from foundations to support the community effort and its work. Communities that have done so include The Dalles, OR, and Walla Walla, WA. You may want to start small with a local grant but as your efforts grow, you may look to apply for state, federal or national foundation funding as well. This is also an opportunity to increase awareness and garner support.