Steps to Growing Resilient Communities 2.0



The four basic activities of GROWING a local ACEs initiative are:

  1. Educate....everybody and every organization about ACEs science, and how people are integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on ACEs science.
  2. Engage....people and organizations to join the local ACEs initiative to become involved. A little bit or a lot...any involvement is good.
  3. Activate....organizations to commit to integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices. This results in systems change.
  4. Celebrate....any accomplishment by posting to their community on ACEs Connection and other social media, and by holding events to highlight progress. 

This is a basic framework that supports any approach to launching ACEs initiatives in a community, including Self-Healing Communities, Northeast Tennessee's Trauma-Informed System of Care, and the Building Community Resilience Collaborative.  The four parts to Growing Resilient Communities 2.0 are critical to the success of a local ACEs initiative. 

Assemble a Speakers Bureau. Peruse existing Content for presentations and add local stories and data. Do Presentations across all sectors and subsectors in the community. Make sure you're including community leaders and residents. Get Feedback to keep improving. 

Speakers Bureau.  Any member who's knowledgeable about ACEs science 101 and comfortable doing presentations can do basic education about ACEs science. Some people are self-taught. Some work in an organization that is integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices and have learned on the job. Some have been trained by organizations such as ACE InterfaceNational Council for Behavioral HealthSanctuaryRisking Connection and SaintA. People in the speakers bureau will be called on to do presentations at two levels: basic ACEs science 101, and what trauma-informed/resilience-building practices look like in a specific sector.  

 Develop PowerPoint presentations, handouts, videos, elevator pitches. Use content from the ACEs Connection community: PresentationsElevator PitchesHandoutsVideos. Personalize materials for the community by adding local stories and data. Include one slide that lists all current participants of your the ACEs initiative.

. Ask an ACEs Connection Community Facilitator about accessing these two tools to measure your initiative's progress:

1. the Community Outreach by Sector and Subsection tool, to identify organizations in sectors and subsectors in the community to do presentations for (education, social services, juvenile justice, faith-based, business, parenting organizations, etc.), and

2. the ACEs Connection Community Tracker to map those presentations and analyze data from those presentations (number of people attending, sector represented, etc). (To find out more about the Community Presentations Tracker, go here. And here's information about the Community Milestones Tracker.)

You can 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. 

It takes repeated exposures for new information to take hold, so expect to make more than one presentation to the same organization. Remember that becoming trauma-informed is a long-term process; not everyone will come on board right away. 

For presentations where most people know about ACEs, do an instant poll (e.g., of the 10-question ACEs survey. The result is a powerful understanding about how common ACEs are, and that ACEs are not a them-us issue. The survey is taken anonymously by every audience member with a smart phone; the group results appear immediately on the screen. 

There are three general levels of presentations that an organization is likely to request:

  1. What is ACEs science? — Anyone from the speaker's bureau can do a basic ACEs 101 presentation.
  2. What would integrating trauma-informed practices look like in our organization? — People who have experienced integrating ACEs science in that organization's sector do this presentation, e.g., a trauma-informed pediatrician presents to pediatricians; a trauma-informed teacher presents to teachers. The presentation addresses what trauma-informed/resilience-building practices look like, and how an organization becomes trauma-informed. If you don’t know of someone from a particular sector available to do a presentation, contact an ACEs Connection community facilitator.
  3. We're ready to become trauma-informed. Now what? — At this point, the organization needs to start on the one- to three-year journey to change its practices and policies, and they'll need more than a  one-day workshop. Organizations such as the National Council for Behavioral HealthSanctuaryRisking Connection and SaintA can provide such training for individual organizations or multiple organizations in the community. If your organization needs more resources, check out the Resources Center on ACEsConnection, ask your ACEs Connection community facilitator, or post a question in Ask the Community on ACEs Connection. 

Feedback. Evaluations of presentations help refine the information provided. 

Invite people and organizations across sectors to join the local ACEs movement, and ask your local government to provide official recognition. 

Join The Movement. Ask people in the presentations to join the local ACEs initiative. 

Local Government. Work with city or county officials to develop an ACEs Awareness & Action Day or Trauma-Informed Care day. To do so, work with them to write a proclamation to provide official recognition of your local ACEs initiative and your goal of creating an ACEs aware/ trauma-informed resilience-building/self-healing community. See how Walla Walla, WA, did this. Here's a list of proclamations.

You can also work with your state legislators to develop resolutions. Resolutions don't enact laws or provide revenues for programs, but they're a first step in creating awareness and lay the groundwork for legislation. States, such as Wisconsin and California, have passed resolutions. Here's a list of resolutions

Encourage organizations to implement trauma-informed/resilience-building practices. Develop and inform policy

Organizations.  Encourage all who participate in the local ACEs initiative to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building policies and practices based on ACEs science in their workplaces, with an understanding that each organization moves at its own pace. (See the Letter of Commitment from the Children's Resilience Initiative in Walla Walla, WA, and the Memorandum of Understanding from Tarpon Springs, FL.) To measure your community's progress, ask an ACEs Connection Community Facilitator about accessing the ACEs Connection Community Tracker to track where participating organizations in your community are on their journey to becoming trauma-informed. 

Develop Policy. Examine state and local policies (legislative and administrative) through an ACEs-, trauma-informed, resilience-building lens and change them (or create new ones) to support the broad goals embodied in these concepts. This includes government agency policies that are internal (e.g., human resources policies) and external (e.g., child welfare policies). ACEs-related state statutes provides examples of enacted legislation that embody these concepts.  For examples of proposals considered during the 2017 state legislative sessions, read Bumper Crop of State ACEs Bills in 2017. An article from MARC (Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities) provides good information about how to make policy change.  

Tell stories. Host events. 

Tell your Local ACEs Initiative's Story. This shows people how learning about ACEs science and implementing practices based on ACEs science results in their community becoming a happier, healthier, and safer place to live, and saves the community  tax dollars. Documenting your efforts with stories and data helps others learn from your community’s experience, and you can use the information in progress reports or to apply for funding. Telling the story includes: 

  • Writing posts about presentations, steering group and working group meetings, an organization's progress in becoming trauma-informed (e.g. Health Clinic ABC just started phase two of our trauma-informed journey...), new policies and practices that member organizations are implementing (Pediatric Clinic CDE is now  screening parents for ACEs), new organization that joins the group, and results (Elementary school FGH saw a 90% reduction in suspension). No item is too small to post. 

  • Posting events to the calendar, including presentations to organizations.

  • Uploading documents, such as workgroup and steering group minutes  the archives.

  • Telling local media — newspapers, magazines, radio, online news sites —about what you're doing.

  • Gathering local data — This is a critical part of showing progress, and includes the number of organizations that have had ACEs science 101 presentations and the number of organizations that have implemented practices based on ACEs science and the results of those changes. Ask an ACEs Connection Community Facilitator about accessing the ACEs Connection Community Tracker to map and measure your progress.  

Host Events. Organize screenings of documentaries — such as Paper TigersResilienceCaregivers — to raise awareness and inspire the community (e.g. the workshop and screening of Paper Tigers in Sacramento, CA). Sponsor annual ACE Summits to celebrate progress and map next steps. (Iowa’s 2013 and 2014 summits; summit in Albany, NY.)


For guidelines about and tools for how to organize your local ACEs/ trauma-informed/ resilience-building initiative, go to:  

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The goals of the Enjoy Life Community(r) program of the Time to Play Foundation are to focus on the positive and possibilities in communities, build on community strengths, decrease social isolation, and create a purposeful life.  This "Growing Resilient Communities 2.0" will absolutely fit in perfectly under the Enjoy Life Community(r) umbrella, which is a practical implementation of positive psychology and a model to help our people focus on what they need to enjoy life.  The social and emotional skill set of resilience is definitely a component of the ELC, of which there are models for school and workplace communities, as well.  This all fits together beautifully, and why I was so excited to find the ACEsConnection.  Please help me to discover the next step in implementation.  


Jane Stevens posted:

Thanks, Becky. This week, we're in the process of morphing the Roadmap to Resilience 1.0 to Growing Resilient Communities 2.0 on ACEs Connection.

More to come!!

Great!  I personally like this version better as it's a little more concise for people to follow.  I think we are all growing in our understanding of the steps to take and I'm excited to be part of the movement