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Two ACEs champions share: The urgency of ACEs initiatives helping systems of care, and the communities they’re in, become trauma-informed.

 

ACEs champions Danette Glass of Alpharetta, Georgia, and Becky Haas, of Johnson City, Tennessee, work in different -- yet similar -- ways to see systems of care change to help prevent and heal adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and to help individuals and communities increase resilience. 

On Friday, July 24 at noon PDT/3 p.m. EDT, these friends and expert community organizers will share their approaches. Haas has worked from the inside out, most recently as the ACEs educator for a regional healthcare system and previously in a similar role with local law enforcement. Glass has often worked from the outside in, to improve systems of care or create her own to effect change.

Haas, the author of a toolkit shared in ACEs Connection Growing Resilient Communities (Building a Trauma-Informed System of Care),  learned about ACEs in 2014, while working with police to reduce drug-related and violent crime.

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“Listening to stories of childhood abuse and neglect experienced by many in the justice system planted the thought in my mind that trauma was really the gateway drug. Though childhood trauma is not an excuse for drugs or crime, instead it now offered an explanation for it. I reasoned no one picks where they start in life and some of the hardship and abuse people experienced was through no fault of their own. Instead of communities focusing their efforts on a war on drugs (which those efforts don’t seem to be winning), we should shift our focus to a war on trauma...and so my journey began.” 

Glass heard about the ACE Study in 2017 while working on a project for adjudicated youth that was funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She realized the level of trauma exposure for young people was at an all-time high. The heightened level of family trauma and community trauma concerned her tremendously. 

Following time in corporate America, Glass began her career as a consultant and community organizer. She now relies on decades of experience as well as tools from ACES Connection and tools she herself has created, such as a poverty simulator, to help community leaders, including elected officials, educators, healthcare providers and law enforcement, learn about the challenges of living in poverty and toxic childhood stress. Throughout her 30-year tenure in juvenile justice and youth development, Glass has worked with more than 30,000 teens, seeking to provide them with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to help them succeed.  She also worked with youth to share what are now called “positive childhood experiences,” and consulted with the courts to help teens get needed services. She and her team also have been doing research on the inequity in health care for Black women who are, in some states, twice as likely to die in childbirth as White women. 

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Glass and Haas are bonded in part by their common missions of breaking down barriers and bringing greater loving kindness into the world. They are excited to come together to discuss how they are working from within and outside systems of care to help cross-sector groups improve individual and community resiliency. 

“We hope people will take away how vitally important it is to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community -- a ‘beloved community’ -- especially right now, as things will get worse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," says Glass.

“After the crisis, we are going to see an escalation of reported trauma exposure because right now young people in homes are not able to communicate the maltreatment they are experiencing,” she says. “Lack of accountability has left some young people vulnerable to being abused while school districts are in this virtual or digital learning setting." 

The coronavirus crisis also affects the mental health of parents, who are themselves  traumatized. “And if they do not know how to manage or control their emotions in a positive manner, sometimes their children become the target of their frustration,” Glass says. “We need to be prepared to help. That’s a big part of what building community resilience is about: helping in the day-to-day and being prepared for traumas. That this is one of the greatest threats in modern times makes our work all the more urgent."

 To register for this A Better Normal webinar, please click here or use the link below.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meetin...lI2bOoTcbYkz8_tuS_y2

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This is fabulous! Could you use another ACEs advocate  on your team? If so, can we talk? 

With love, gratitude and heart💞

Leslie Peters RN
Speaker. Listener. Teacher. Healer.

“Healing ACEs with H.E.A.R.T.”

 

Thanks for posting the info, Carey. There's so much more than this, and we obviously need to do a better job at capturing all the people and organizations that are using ACEs science, and encouraging foundations to support research that shows the effects of integrating practices and policies based on ACEs science.

@Lisa Geath posted:

Is anyone close to getting data collected to tell us if providing people with "ACEs Science" actually does anything tangible to reduce childhood adversity?   I know about the Self-Healing Communities information; certainly that makes a difference if everyone gets involved and there is a strong coordinated effort that goes beyond just knowing about the ACE score or the Dose-Dependent relationship.   

I would like to know if knowing about the ACE study and knowing your ACE score for most people in a community does anything to improve outcomes?   I kind of doubt it.  It all sounds great when one first learns about this but long term, does it change anything?  That is a good question.  

Lisa - Great question! Thanks for asking it. There are many examples of how providing people with ACEs science results in tangible reductions in childhood adversity. I'm sharing information and examples below from an article the founder and publisher of ACEs Connection, Jane Stevens, wrote in February of 2018:

ACEs affects us all….either personally, in our family members, our friends, or people in our immediate or extended community (i.e., our nation and world). Most of our nation’s burden of chronic disease is ACE-related, as are most of our social and mental health issues. Much of the toxicity in our systems reside in the roots of our history of slavery, racial discrimination and genocide, and we are just beginning to comprehend its reach and effects.

Most people realize the effects of ACEs in their ill health outcomes; in a smaller percentage, the effects emerge as violence, or being a victim of violence. Even the people who live in the affluent community of Parkland, FL, have ACEs — the 17,000 people who participated in the original ACE Study were mostly white, college-educated, and all had jobs and great health care. Thirty-eight states and Washington, DC, have done their own ACE surveys, with similar results to the original ACE Study.

For example:

The resilience research part of ACEs science research focuses on what happens when individuals, organizations and systems integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building practices. And when they do, the results are remarkable, astounding, so mind-blowing that they finally provide some hope that we can solve our most intractable problems.

Further, the many of the more than 300 ACEs Connection Communities (we are a "community of communities, as you will see when you click on the "Communities" tab a the top of this website) track the presentations given by community members to various groups in their communities. Many regularly hold screenings of the documentary Resilience and offer question and answer panels afterward, to give people new to the science and the idea of a trauma-informed community, the chance to find out more and become involved. These cross-sector groups focus on building diversity, equity, and inclusion in their communities. For many, the invitation to be a part of an all-inclusive leadership team helping schools, law enforcement, communities of faith, healthcare, mental health, industry, civic groups, service organizations, people all all ethnic, religious, economic, cultural, and lived experience backgrounds, is healing in and of itself. We know from helping local leaders build their communities that the greater the diversity, equity, and inclusion in a group, the greater the chances of the group succeeding. 

We've also launched our ACEs Connection Cooperative of Communities that will help well-established groups that have been doing the work of helping their communities become trauma informed, track their progress. With data they provide and some publicly available data, we'll be able to help communities measure and analyze the correlation between education about ACEs science and activation of trauma-informed practices and policies and quantifiable indicators such as the level of chronic absenteeism by school district. 

There is much more data that can and will support efforts to teach people about ACEs science. I will say, personally, that learning that my trauma likely wired my brain to be on hyper alert, to avoid pain in myriad ways that were ineffective and damaging, was a relief. When I speak of the connection between toxic childhood stress and addiction, mental health issues, and other challenges, there is often palpable relief when people realize they didn't cause their addictive behaviors. They were wired for them by childhood traumas. That release of shame alone is evidence to me that ACEs science is working to create greater compassion and empathy, understanding and acceptance, as opposed to blame, shame, guilt, fear, punishment and isolation. Having a biological and neurological understanding of much depression, substance abuse, and acting out with addictive behaviors such as compulsive eating, shopping, gossiping, participating in risky sex and other thrill-seeking behaviors, is a first step on the path to healing for many people I know.

Last edited by Carey S. Sipp (ACEs Connection Staff)

Is anyone close to getting data collected to tell us if providing people with "ACEs Science" actually does anything tangible to reduce childhood adversity?   I know about the Self-Healing Communities information; certainly that makes a difference if everyone gets involved and there is a strong coordinated effort that goes beyond just knowing about the ACE score or the Dose-Dependent relationship.   

I would like to know if knowing about the ACE study and knowing your ACE score for most people in a community does anything to improve outcomes?   I kind of doubt it.  It all sounds great when one first learns about this but long term, does it change anything?  That is a good question.  

Last edited by Lisa Geath
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