Pictured Above: Event Co-hosts Sara Marques from the Center for Youth Wellness, and Kelly Hardy from Children Now.
On July 11, the “4CA” Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity organized approximately 100 people into small teams of 3-6 people to visit the offices of 80 legislators. Organized by the 4CA steering group led by Center for Youth Wellness, Children Now, and ACEs Connection Network, the day was a decided success.
Prior to the legislator office visits, participants convened at the California Endowment. For many, who had traveled from all over the state, this was a first time visiting a legislator to discuss any issue.
Excited and nervous, teams were well prepared in advance of their visits. Teams had time to receive training, encouragement, and planning time before the visits. Senator Holly Mitchell stopped by to inspire participants.
To ground participants in the reason they were headed to the Capitol, a single scene performance excerpted from the play TRIGGER, authored by Resilient Sacramento member DeAngelo Mack, was presented during lunch, shortly before teams headed out toward their scheduled visits. The full play follows seven youth in a self-care program, and in poignant scenes, brings to life the link between adverse childhood experiences and adverse health and social outcomes.
Materials created by the 4CA steering committee helped teams develop talking points, to share facts about childhood adversity as well as personal stories from individual, community, and professional experiences that highlight the need for a trauma informed approach to policymaking.
As teams streamed into Cafeteria 15L for a post event happy hour, they shared and compared their experiences visiting legislators. Participants felt that their voices were needed at the Capitol, as many of the legislators’ staffs had not heard of ACEs or the trauma informed movement. Many participants left Sacramento feeling committed to the 4CA campaign, and committed to continuing to reach out to their legislators to build trauma informed policy in support of local efforts to heal and create resilient communities.