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Hurricane Florence first responders receive free trauma/resilience training


In a webinar offered this morning by Elaine Miller Karas, executive director of the Trauma Resource Institute in Claremont, CA, leaders from several North Carolina ACEs Connection communities affected by flooding and other damage by Hurricane Florence learned more about trauma response and how to better help their communities find resilience.

Karas, who was delivering her Community Resiliency Model (CRM) training at Duke University in Durham, NC, offered the free training and provided materials for the 70-minute webinar, available to watch now by clicking here. 

 A major takeaway from the webinar is the importance of helping traumatized people find their "resilient zone." 

 "Your resilient zone is that state of wellbeing in mind, body, and spirit when one is able to handle the stresses of life," Karas said. She discussed the importance of using resiliency skills in the face of climate change, as well as ways to help people access positive thoughts, recognition of their and othersโ€™ strengths, and things to be grateful for in the face of natural and other disasters. For Karas, the thought of her two-year-old granddaughter helps to calm her nervous system so she can be present and focused.

 "When you're in your resilient zone you can better take care of yourself and your family, help rebuild the community. You're more open to the ways of creating better communities to meet challenges from the past, present, and future."

About 40 people joined the webinar, and asked questions about how employers can better support workers still traumatized by the flooding, as well as how to help caregivers care for themselves.

 "It was valuable for our team to take the time to reflect together in the trauma our community is experiencing," said Mebane Boyd, resiliency task force coordinator in New Hanover County, NC.

 Boyd, who is also the New Hanover County North Carolina ACEs Connection website community manager, added that she appreciated the insights into the fact her community is currently in the "honeymoon period" of disaster response.

 "We have had so many helping hands and experienced such generosity, and we need to figure out how now to work and prepare for the response for the long haul," she said.

 Jenny Cooper, project director for Benchmarks' Partnering for Excellence (PFE), an alliance of nationally accredited agencies providing care for children and adults and families in North Carolina, provided technical support by hosting the webinar, and added perspective as a professional trained in CRM.

"A 'community' can be defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, and community is exactly what we experienced this morning. We put aside our busy schedules and learned how we can help friends, family, neighbors, clients and coworkers who experienced tremendous loss and upset. Now that we have more knowledge, thanks to this introduction to CRM, we can think about next steps through a trauma-informed lens," said Cooper, who is also a community manager for her organization's ACEs Connection website, Benchmarks' PFE of North Carolina.

Karas provided access to the materials she shared: the slide presentation and a three-page handout, THE BASIC SKILLS-The Community Resiliency Modelยฎ Wellness Skills. Cooper provided access to the webinar, which can replayed by clicking here



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