Twenty of us attended the meeting. We were warmly greeted by Allen Nishikawa with a warms towel ceremony that allowed us to truly arrive and be present. The topics we discussed were the Paper Tigers viewings, Dr. Anda’s presentation at Hanna Boys Center, and the next steps in growing our local ACEs community, which included an update on the MARC grant RFP.
Paper Tigers Viewings
The film was well received at each venue it was shown last month: Sonoma County Public Health Division and Family Youth & Children Division, and Hanna Boys Center. Although the young men at Hanna did not have a strong initial response to the film, many of them kept talking about it for days. As of now, future viewings of Paper Tigers are being planned by Santa Rosa City Schools, Kellie Noe/Cradle-to-Career (west county), the Community Health Initiative of the Petaluma Area (CHIPA), New Directions School at Child Parent Institute (CPI), and the CPI’s Family Resource Center/the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District.
Several people mentioned boundary issues – that the teachers shown in the film did not always exhibit healthy boundaries. A suggestion was to have a panel of speakers after each showing, preferably of education-focused professionals.
Several members attended Dr. Anda’s presentation at Hanna Boys Center and/or the discussion that followed it. Their comments included:
- There was too much focus on the problem of ACEs rather than on solving the problem.
- The information on the neurobiology of hope was very encouraging and important.
- Brian’s presentation had some good openers we all could use in starting a discussion about ACEs with people new to the subject. His personal, local examples were a good counterpoint to Dr. Anda’s broad overview approach.
- It was very helpful to point out the physical damage that trauma causes to the brain – that shifts the focus away from any moralizing.
- Anda’s proposed incremental approach seems reasonable. If the current generation of a family has 5 ACEs, aim to get it down to 3 for the next, and so on.
- The observation that some kids come to school to get love is a message that can be heard more readily now than it could 10 to 20 years ago.
- The most important message is that it is never too late to change or to develop resiliency.
The discussion after the presentation focused more on implementation. Anda pointed out that there were 10 years of preparation through outreach and community education before Paper Tigers was filmed. While he recognizes that each community is different, he advocates talking about ACEs a lot throughout a community. The beginning of implementation starts when small groups form and start doing the work without waiting for a larger group or organization to figure out what to do.
MARC grant update and next steps
The MARC grant awards have not been announced yet, but will be before the next Sonoma County ACEs Connection meeting. The grant application requests funding for developing organizational structures and systems for our group as well as for train-the-trainer training to develop speakers who can make presentation throughout the community. Our group was somewhat divided as to how valuable it would be to just present information about ACEs vs. having a more actionable implementation plan and promoting community action. There was much agreement that these two approaches could be pursued at the same time.
The MARC proposal has been uploaded with this blog. It outlines some goals for creating an organizational structure and infrastructure.
For the next meeting: Where does your passion lie? Members are requested to propose of areas of work they would like to participate in. Proposals and ideas are welcome prior to the meeting, please email them to Karen Clemmer (Karen.Clemmer@sonoma-county.org) and Allen Nishikawa (Allen.Nishikawa@sonoma-county.org).