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Why I support ACEs Connection: To join a community that shares the truths of ACEs science and motivates action

 

My heart broke for my children when I first read the 1998 CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, mailed to me by a mentor in 2000. I wept about my high score (9) and then shoved the report in a drawer, resolving to not pass on the pain and to minimize my children’s ACEs. That report scared the hell out of me.

Screen Shot 2020-11-10 at 5.13.04 PMYears later, I plowed through the report again in earnest, and learned that most of my quirky behaviors: inability to focus, trouble with relationships, earlier fatalistic view, deep fears, etc, were likely due to developmental trauma at the hand of parents whose own lives had been severely affected by childhood trauma.

I’d been in recovery, in a program for children of alcoholics and their families, for many years at that time, and had learned how to be kinder and gentler with myself, as opposed to listening to my “inner parent” and beating myself down. I’d been taking medication for attention deficit disorder (ADD) so I could focus at work and hit deadlines -- most of the time. But I hadn’t tied my need for medication to what had likely happened to my brain when I was in utero, when I likely experienced the toxic crush of my terrified mother’s adrenaline and cortisol as she carried me. My father was many things, among them, an abusive alcoholic.

Today I share great news: At 64, I continue to grow healthier thanks to the “resilience” part of ACEs science that explains and promotes actions we can take to become healthier as individuals, and as members of our families and communities. And that’s a relief, because research published in 2009 from the ACE Study showed that having six or more ACEs can chop 20 years off your life.

Screen Shot 2020-12-06 at 10.27.26 PMACEs Connection launched in January 2012, and over the last eight years, has become one of the leaders in the ACEs movement, thanks to the tens of thousands of people and hundreds of communities who’ve joined and accelerated the spread of knowledge about childhood adversity. People in this movement have also developed innovative approaches using ACEs science to help people turn despair into hope, hate into love, and inspired them to pass on that knowledge and wisdom.

I have so many reasons for supporting ACEs Connection. One is so that pregnant women will take the ACE survey and connect the dots between their own ACEs and poor health outcomes for themselves and their children, and work to make things better.

ACEs Connection launched in January 2012, and over the last eight years, has become one of the leaders in the ACEs movement, thanks to the tens of thousands of people and hundreds of communities who’ve joined and accelerated the spread of knowledge about childhood adversity. People in this movement have also developed innovative approaches using ACEs science to help people turn despair into hope, hate into love, and inspired them to pass on that knowledge and wisdom.

I have so many reasons for supporting ACEs Connection. One is so that pregnant women will take the ACE survey and connect the dots between their own ACEs and poor health outcomes for themselves and their children, and work to make things better.

Another reason I support ACEs Connection is to change the systems that perpetuate racism across all sectors, including medicine, as Black women are three to four times as likely to die in childbirth than White women, and Black babies are twice as likely to die than White babies.

I support ACEs Connection because we have the knowledge to solve our most intractable problems. And when I say “we”, I mean all the people who learn about ACEs science and join ACEs Connection to help grow a world that’s healthier that the one we live in now. At the moment, that’s nearly 48,000 influencers….and growing!

As a member of ACEs Connection, you’re invited to make a tax-deductible donation in any amount to our Changemakers Matching Grant campaign, and add your own “Why I Support ACEs Connection” essay here, on the main blog of ACEs Connection. Your essay  will be identified as part of the campaign. If you believe the work of ACEs Connection has improved your life and the lives of people you care about, please join me in sharing a gift to help us raise $50,000 from our ACEs Connection community. That amount will be matched by a generous donor, who prefers to remain anonymous. The deadline for your tax deductible donation is December 31, 2020. Thank you in advance for your generous donation, your post, or both!

Click here to make a donation to ACEs Connection Changemakers Matching Grant Campaign

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