Reply to "Master Trainer Program"

As a Certified Master Trainer myself, and my organization (www.ChildWise.org) having been an ACE Interface client for almost 3 years now, I can attest to the value of their presentation materials. Through ChildWise, we have 18 Master Trainers and 70 ACE Presenters all across our state,  and we have trained about 9,000 people from all walks of life over 2 1/2 years. Included in our list of Master Trainers are 3 Trainers that are embedded in the Department of Health & Human Services. This was a very intentional strategy and partnership to create positive change throughout the state. They are well on their way to training all 3,000+ employees in ACEs and resilience. While I understand Mr. Nishikawa's points that he raises above, I don't necessarily agree with him. As Laura Porter has stated, we do have flexibility in adding and rearranging slides. And of course, personal stories are invaluable to any presentation of any kind, as Mr. Nishikawa pointed out. All of our Trainers make it personal and share stories. I have personally trained thousands of people in all parts of our state (Montana), which has very different cultures in every area. So, to Mr. Nishikawa's point - it's as if I am "flying in" because I am not a "local." However, I have never experienced any push-back because of this. We always make our presentations "local" by engaging the audience in exercises that make it personal to them and their community. This is where we also incorporate training and engagement with the audience on resilience and becoming trauma-informed... starting with "what does that mean?" There are many definitions of "trauma-informed," so we address that up front in the early part of our presentations. In fact, we take the audience through an exercise up front where they choose the definitions (in a multiple choice format) of trauma, resilience, adverse childhood experiences, and trauma-informed -- this gets everyone on the same page. I once was training 25 mental health specialists and asked for the definition of "trauma." I got 5 different definitions! That's why we started this exercise.

Lastly, Mr. Nishikawa expresses his opinion that the ACE Interface training is a tempting option, but not be the real solution. Is there a "real solution" Mr. Nishikawa? In my opinion, there is no"solution," only a variety of strategies, approaches, ideas, and actions. As an aside, we often hear that people want or need "evidenced-based" solutions. In fact, it is sometimes a required part of a presenters contract. Yes, there are some evidence-based practices out there that address trauma. But I tell my audience that we are at a very interesting and exciting point in time as it relates to ACEs, trauma, and resilience. I remind them that "evidenced-based" practices were NOT evidenced-based when they started! We need to be bold, visionary, and creative in how we respond to this science of ACEs and toxic stress. This always seems to free up the minds of our audience, and you can visibly see the energy and excitement level increase right before your eyes. Some of what they come up with will eventually be the new evidenced-based practices!

We have trained numerous schools and school districts throughout the state using the ACE Interface materials, and we get requests from more and more schools every week. In May this year, we presented Jim Sporleder's very first The Trauma-Informed School workshop. We had 64 schools send Leadership Teams and have begun the journey of becoming a trauma-informed school/system. We are already planning additional workshops over the next 12 month. 

We have found the ACE Interface materials and program to be the single most helpful tool to advance awareness, accelerate knowledge, and advocate for positive change in our state. Using this program has opened SO MANY doors and SO MANY minds for us, allowing the conversation and work to accelerate at a speed we would not have accomplished otherwise. 

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