Fighting the trauma that afflicts too many Philly children [philly.com]

Warm weather often brings a rise in crime and violence to Philadelphia, just as students and families head outdoors to enjoy a brief respite from the rigor of the school year and winter’s cold. The dichotomy of this phenomenon is upsetting, yet unsurprising. The reality is that so many children in our city do not reach their potential. It is undoubtedly a struggle to grow up in a city with the highest poverty rate of the nation’s 10 largest cities, persistent violent crime, and poor education attainment.

At the root of these struggles is trauma. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study and various expansions upon this research, the prevalence of abuse, living in unsafe neighborhoods, witnessing violence, or encountering racism can result in increased life and health risks.

As CEO of a nonprofit that has served children and families impacted by trauma for 140 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the pervasive and crippling effects trauma can have upon a community. For me, this has been particularly apparent in Southwest Philadelphia, where a 36 percent poverty rate plagues residents who need better access to health care, education, and family services. Add to that a violent crime rate that ranks in the 10 highest of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, and it is unsurprising to learn that 30 to 45 percent of the population has experienced four or more ACEs and only 7.2 percent have graduated college.

 

To read the full article by Darlene Hewitt, click here.

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