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Recently I was introduced to the tag line of the Berkana Institute:  "Whatever the problem, community is the answer."  It resonated with me because I passionately believe it and have experienced it as true.  I have spent much of my professional life bringing people with diverse backgrounds and, sometimes, very divergent values and beliefs together around real tables to  work together toward common solutions to pressing public health and human services issues.  I am very excited and hopeful about the possibility of having similar successes around a virtual table of people interested in and working to prevent and reduce ACES in Philadelphia.

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Leslie, great to hear the vision of bringing people together, and the quote about "…community is the answer" is a beautiful one. I embrace your concept of us coming together in Philadelphia across sectors and building our community's resilience.

I only recently (3 months) heard about the original ACEs study. From there, I attended an Urban ACEs Task Force meeting as part of the Scattergood Foundation and began taking a class with Dr. Sandy Bloom at Drexel's School of Public Health called Violence, Trauma and Adversity. The reason I joined the Philadelphia ACEs Connection Group is to continue to educate myself on the subject and by that I mean how can we inform others to become trauma informed and resilient? I'm not sure if I'll spend the rest of my life working around ACEs but I know this group can certainly entertain that idea. 

"Community is the answer" has to be the answer. No problems occur in a vacuum independent of community, whether that is the problem itself or the ramifications of that problem. This is especially true in terms of ACEs. While it may be easy to say that trauma within a family or adversity experienced by a child is a personal problem separate from the larger community, we know that this simply is not true. ACEs have a long term effect on individual health, which in turn affects population health. There are many great people dedicated to reducing ACEs and alleviating their effects in the Philadelphia area. I have joined the Philadelphia ACEs Connection group because I am excited to see all of these people coalesce and collectively address ACEs in our community.

Hello Philadelphia ACEs community! I am so glad to see so many are joining this great site.

I was first introduced to ACES last Spring through my work with the Institute for Safe Families on the National ACEs Summit. Having now been exposed to the realities of ACEs in our community, I cannot imagine not being involved in this important work. I am hoping that in joining the Philadelphia ACEs group, I can become further involved with the Philadelphia ACEs community and help out in any way that I can. 

After attending an ACEs task force meeting last fall, I became very interested in the concept of ACEs and its intersect with public health in Philadelphia. As I graduate student of public health at Drexel University, I joined the Philadelphia ACEs connection group to help further my knowledge on different community sectors and the impact they may have on each other. 

Maggie thank you for raising awareness about another sector that could benefit from knowing about the implications of ACES.  Please keep us posted on your efforts to spread the work among the legal community and if let us know if there ways this on-line community can assist you.

I think Maggie's experiences raise two important issues. One, as Leslie has mentioned, it is so important to heighten awareness about the ramifications of ACEs among those who work in sectors in which there is significant contact with people who have experienced trauma and adversity. Two, it is also vitally necessary to correct the misconception that ACEs are solely a children's or family issue. 

Thanks for the reply, Jane. Actually, Tim Clement will be presenting about stigma and ACEs at my organization, Philadelphia Legal Assistance, later this month. We are targeting the non-Family Law advocates, specifically. Following Tim's presentation, the supervising attorney of the Family Law Unit, who has some expertise on trauma, will lead a discussion on what strategies PLA's Family Law advocates currently employ to meet the needs of clients who have experienced trauma and encourage the other advocates to apply the info. that Tim presents. Additionally, I am aware that Jessica Feierman at the Juvenile Law Center is ACE-informed, so I assume that she is disseminating information among her colleagues. I understand, also, that Carol Tracy at the Women's Law Project is similarly ACE-aware and has done some work with Sandra Bloom. To answer your question, there are over 30 legal services organizations in Philadelphia, alone. Strategically, it might make sense to start with the Philadelphia Bar Association's Delivery of Legal Services Committee. If we can get the Phila. Bar Assn./DLSC and a couple law schools on board, we could permeate legal services more efficiently and avoid a "one and done" training situation. At the State level, there is the PA Legal Aid Network, which has annual conferences and other meetings that occur more frequently. There are many opportunities here. I would be happy to help make introductions, inroads, and relationships if that would be useful.

Very interesting, Maggie. Can you recommend some local legal groups that are looking for speakers at monthly/quarterly/annual meetings? Perhaps some people in this group could do presentations about ACEs.

Cheers, Jane

As Philadelphia is striving to be a world class city, ACES cannot be overlooked! Working in philanthropy, I want to make sure that all of our grantees are thinking about ACES in one way or another. And to my surprise, I have already brought some pieces of knowledge provided on this page into my personal life. For example, the post about the Caregivers film, got me extremely excited for the full length video to come out and I am going to watch it with my younger sister who is a nurse for the elderly and deals with trauma and death on an everyday. 

Hi friends,

I only two weeks ago found this social media site, and I'm thrilled about the what is going on here. I am currently laying the groundwork for a charity that will provide therapy to low-income (although, I'm not precluding anyone because of their socio-economic status) substance addicts. I have laid out the framework of how the charity will operate. I'm looking for feedback, suggestions, questions, and people who are willing to help me in this endeavor! 

To find out more about the charity, here is a link: www.acesconnection.com/forum/topics/terra-firma-network

Please feel free to contact me with any input!

A big thank you to this community!

Rich Godwin 

Hey everyone.  Just wanted to introduce myself.  I first heard about ACEs when I was a medical student working at St. Christopher's doing research with their child abuse prevention work.  Since then, I have continued to work at St. Chris and see the effects of toxic stress and ACEs on a daily basis.  

I've also been involved in the development of an amazing collaboration with St. Chris, Institute for Safe Families, Congresso, and CCTC called the Family Safe Zone.  We are working to address toxic stress prevention through working on increased screening for ACEs, training all our hospital staff on how to intervene with harsh parenting, and a significant amount of parental education on positive parenting.  So far we have had great results, and it has been a huge learning experience for all of us involved.  Our hope is to continue our program and to continue to reach out into the community.  I'd love to talk more about it if anyone else is interested.

Personally, I going to be continuing my training here in Philly for the next years years, and plan on continuing to be involved in all the great ACE work happening in the city.   I look forward to seeing all the great things being done.

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