News

New committee takes multi-pronged approach at tackling gun violence [phillytrib.com]

By all accounts, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson enjoys his job. But there is one aspect of it that he would love to be able to eliminate. “At least three times a month I have to speak at a funeral, console a mom of some young man who was murdered in the streets for some violence on social media or some disrespectful comment made to another young man,” he said. “I’m tired of that.” In yet another effort to quell the gun violence that plagues Philadelphia, Johnson, City Managing Director Michael...

Explaining behavior: Professionals seek to address students' trauma [thenotebook.org]

The biological mother of "Jailyn" had turned her over to her cousins when she was several months old and they became her custodial parents. That is, until the custodial father fatally shot the mother while the girl was in the house. Now living in foster care, she has angry outbursts in the classroom that include screaming at her teacher and kicking objects. When she hears a loud noise, she thinks it’s a gun. Her 6th-grade teacher says she is slow to complete schoolwork, appears disorganized,...

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...

Focusing awareness, understanding on helping traumatized kids heal [NewsWorks.org]

The goal is a lofty one — to transform the city of Philadelphia. Organizers of Greater Philadelphia Trauma Training Conference are going about it one professional at a time. The event, which wraps up Friday at Thomas Jefferson University, is intended to help those in different professional fields become more aware of how to work with children who've experienced trauma. The 450 or professionals who attended Thursday's session represented the juvenile justice world, health care and education,...

New strategy may place more social workers in schools by September [thenotebook.org]

More than 20 additional social workers could be assigned to District schools this fall under proposals being discussed by District officials, Community Behavioral Health, the Department of Human Services, and Mayor Kenney's administration. The discussions have been strongly encouraged by several City Council members and by the newest School Reform Commission member, Estelle Richman. Under the program, the social workers would become part of school staff, helping educators recognize the...

The opioid epidemic is so bad that librarians are learning how to treat overdoses [CNN.com]

Philadelphia (CNN) A crowd hovered over the man lying on the grass as his skin turned purple. Chera Kowalski crouched next to his limp body, a small syringe in her gloved hand. Squeeze. The antidote filled the man's nostril. The purple faded. Then it came back. Kowalski's heart raced. "We only gave him one, and he needs another!" she called to a security guard in McPherson Square Park, a tranquil patch of green in one of this city's roughest neighborhoods. "He's dying," said a bystander,...

Philadelphia school offers program on teaching traumatized children

Cheyney University, the Pennsylvania's state-owned historically black university is launching a new program this summer to train teachers on the ins and outs of helping traumatized children to learn. The certificate program “Trauma-informed Education,” or TIES will be offered at Cheyney's Center City campus in Philadelphia. Its launch comes as Cheyney, which boasts an identity as the nation's oldest historically black post-secondary education institution, struggles to climb out of a downward...

Mental health services for immigrants and refugees in Philly must be reworked [Generocity.org]

If the past several months of discussion and action around supporting immigrants and refugees in Philly has shown us anything, it’s that the city wants to help in as many ways as possible. Whether that’s by providing collective legal counsel or helping newly arrived immigrant professionals transition to familiar careers , socially minded groups and individuals are certainly doing their part to help these populations. Yet it can’t be understated that many immigrants and refugees, especially...

Op-ed: Philly schools must prioritize trauma-informed learning [NewsWorks.org]

Powerful and surprisingly prevalent horrors are blocking access to education and ravaging children’s lives. Sadly, they remain the elephant in the classroom: adverse childhood experiences . Adverse childhood experiences include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, including bullying; physical and emotional neglect; a missing parent, due to separation, divorce, incarceration, or death; witnessing household substance abuse, violence, or mental illness; and witnessing environmental violence.

Clergy embrace trauma informed training in Greater Philadelphia region

An exceptional all-day “Trauma-Informed Training for Clergy” event was held in Philadelphia in May 2017, organized by JSR Educational Enrichment Strategies, Inc. Founder and President Doris Smith-Ribner, Retired PA State Appeals Court Judge. Judge Smith-Ribner recognized the need for this training particularly for those on the front lines of dealing with the impacts of trauma and its prevalence within Philadelphia—the Clergy. Here is her report from that meeting. Highly-regarded trauma...

Philadelphia App Links Youth to Resources and Services [ChronicleofSocialChange.org]

For youth exiting the foster care system, finding a way to access supports and services can be hard. There are many organizations and agencies that offer service to transition-age youth, but knowing where to look for resources like crisis mental health services, computer access, mentoring opportunities and food banks can be a struggle. Many youth are facing unstable and stressful living situations, barriers that make locating help nearby a challenge. In Philadelphia, advocates hope that a...

Some Philadelphia Neighborhoods Are Walking a Line Between Boom and Bust [NextCity.org]

Meet Diane Richardson, achiever of the American dream. A Penn State graduate and the owner of a business that helps homeless veterans, Richardson followed a common trajectory for a child of the civil rights-era black middle class: She grew up in working-class neighborhoods alongside mostly black neighbors, and attended college, which was followed by a few years of working and saving while living with her parents. Then marriage and the search for a home of her own. Like her parents, she...

Philadelphia ACE Task Force Co-Hosts Screening of CAREgivers Film for Philadelphia City Council

In partnership with Councilwoman Helen Gym, Councilman Al Taubenberger, and documentary filmmakers Vic Compher and Rodney Whittenberg, the Philadelphia ACE Task Force co-hosted a screening of Portraits of Professional Caregivers: Their Passion. Their Pain. and briefing about Secondary Traumatic Stress for Philadelphia City Council on Friday, April 21 st . Councilmembers, their staffers, and other community leaders attended the screening and briefing. The audience was struck by the depiction...

Seed, Soil & Light: A Young Revolutionary's Journey (dailygood.org)

Three to four houses had recently burned down in Tommy Joshua’s North Philadelphia neighborhood. In an empty lot behind his home, Tommy came to figure out the origins. The youth of the neighborhood used that space to hop around on the furniture, play with the debris, and kick the wood. From an early age, Tommy questioned the suffering in the world. His earliest memories are of the broken school system, dysfunctional families, and homelessness. He turned to his mother for answers and she...

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