Hello, everyone!  Hopeworks N Camden is embarking on formal academic study of the difference that our implementation of Trauma Informed Care has had on our outcomes with youth.  We are lucky in that we have strong "before" and "after" datasets.  Natasha Fletcher, of the Center for Urban Research and Education, is leading the study.  I have posted a brief summary of the study below.

 

Who is excited by this?  Who would like to continue to hear more about our progress in this?  We think it is a really unique opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of TIC in a community based setting.  

 

Hopeworks 'N Camden is a nonprofit that has been working for over 15 years with Camden youth.  Utilizing an advanced training curriculum in website design/development, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)  and Salesforce, Hopeworks works with youth 14-23 to get back in school and find a safe pathway to their future using the Sanctuary model!  To read more about Hopeworks, visit www.hopeworks.org.

 

The efficacy of a trauma-informed methodology for Hopeworks ‘N Camden, New Jersey

 

Objectives

 

  1. Evaluate the impact of a trauma-informed methodology / sanctuary approach adapted by the youth-centered nonprofit organization Hopeworks N’Camden,

 

  1. Better understand how youth that experience chronic stress accumulated by living in high-poverty neighborhoods can be served effectively.

 

Background and Rationale

 

Hopeworks is a nonprofit organization in Camden, NJ -- one of the Nation’s most downtrodden urban cities, plagued by extreme poverty concentration and related social problems -- that has been working for over 15 years with youth ages 14-23, to get back in school and find a safe pathway to their future.  As part of its program, it runs three businesses, offering training in web site design, development, maintenance and hosting services, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Salesforce administration.  These businesses help to generate over 50 youth jobs a year. As part of its youth development resources, the organization provides youth with support for getting GED’s, completing college and financial aid applications, developing professional, marketable skills for internships in web design, GIS data mapping, or Salesforce administration. Through internal internships youth can practice these technical skills while also practicing professional skills needed for future employment.

 

In 2012, the Hopeworks leadership implemented a trauma-informed methodology, using the Sanctuary model (Bloom, 1997). Becoming a certified sanctuary organization has meant a radical shift in values, priorities, and interactions to a "trauma framework”.  Realizing that without addressing the unresolved traumatic issues in a youth's life--especially as they manifest in habitual patterns of protection--i.e. disengagement, disconnected emotional state, anger, emotional eruptions, etc. youth will not be able to take full advantage of opportunities in their lives.

 

This study will provide an in-depth examination into the nonprofit organization Hopeworks, describe and evaluate past and current methods of providing assistance, support, and facilitation of training opportunities to youth, and evaluate the efficacy of a trauma-informed methodology.  This research will help the organization inform best practices, contribute to an understanding of its history, the efficacy of its programs, perceptions of past and present participants, employees, and leadership.  This research will help other organizations inform their best practices and determine whether a trauma-informed methodology should be adapted.

 

Research Design

 

This research will be a qualitative, exploratory, in-depth case study of Hopeworks in Camden and is based on in-depth interviews with past and present leadership and current employees, and surveys and in-depth interviews with past and present participants. In addition, the research will include a thorough review of secondary sources such as newspaper articles, reports, and meeting notes available through the organization.

 

Measurement / Instrumentation

 

The data collected from leadership, staff, and past and present program participants, along with secondary data relating to the organization will be analyzed for themes and synthesized accordingly.  Given the exploratory nature of this research, the resulting measurement and instrumentation will be iterative and developing as data are collected.  The emphasis of this research is on the process of data collection and acquisition; the participation of the organization is critical, as this project is intended to be participatory action research whereby the researcher’s role is to facilitate the research and remain open to questions and themes as they emerge. This research will identify the efficacy of a trauma-based methodology as it has been employed in 2012 and has affected the organization’s culture and logistics.

 

Data Analysis

 

Data collection and analysis will be closely linked and guided by initial concepts and developing understandings.  Surveys will be analyzed, in-depth, semi structured interviews will be transcribed from digital audio into text by the researcher and analyzed via content analysis to explore responses in relation to other key data collected separately, such as organizational materials and historical data.  All data will be triangulated and culminate in a research report.

 

Timeline

 

          November, 2015 – January, 2016:          data collection

          February, 2016:          transcription and organization of data         

          March, 2016 – May, 2016:          data analysis, synthesiz, triangulation

          June, 2016 – July, 2016:          write-up of results, report preparation

 

 

 

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Daun Kauffman
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