ArtForce Iowa is a 501c3 non-profit that was founded in 2012 by a group of concerned citizens, with a mission to transform youth in need through art. Working primarily with youth who have had involvement in the juvenile or family court system, or immigrant, refugee and first-generation American youth who have experienced violence and trauma, the ArtForce Iowa staff team recognized in 2017 that they were not doing everything they could for themselves or their students. That is when Executive Director, Christine Her, stumbled upon Central Iowa ACEs 360.
“Our organization never really thought about trauma. But in 2017, we knew we couldn’t operate that way anymore. The youth that we serve have significant trauma, and we weren’t equipped. We knew that if we were going to continue this work, and want to do this work well, that we’d better start equipping ourselves well,” commented Her. The team at Art Force Iowa knew that they needed to make sure that they weren’t creating an environment for their youth where they were causing unintentional situations of re-triggering – or causing a student to have something come back up in their lives that caused them trauma or stress. They also knew that they needed to protect themselves (the staff team) from their own traumas, because secondary trauma can affect anyone. Lastly, they knew that all of the adults that work with their young people needed to become informed, and that all of their workshops needed to become trauma transformed. That’s when a bit of research led them to discover Central Iowa ACEs 360 and the Connections Matter campaign in Des Moines.
To read more about this partnership, visit the Central Iowa ACEs 360 website.