• New voices bring promise to challenge of childhood adversity

    Serena Clayton

    Serena Clayton

    By Serena Clayton at ChronicleOfSocialChange.org

    At the Center for Youth Wellness policy convening on childhood adversity in San Diego last Thursday, I kept asking myself if we were having a new conversation or an old conversation, but with different people at the table.

    The fact that children who experience adverse events (e.g., domestic violence, or a mentally ill or incarcerated parent) have worse health outcomes hardly seems like news. In public health, we know that environmental, economic and social factors lead to health disparities. In education, we know that poverty is connected to lower achievement, and there is a strong correlation between poverty and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

    To address ACEs, new “trauma-informed practices” are moving the focus off of “fixing” individuals to understanding their experiences and building resiliency and safe, supportive environments. All of this sounds a lot like youth development, protective factors and strength-based approaches.

    There is no doubt that we are seeing some of the same ideas come back in a new package. But something is different now, and it is the very fact that different people are now at the table—juvenile justice advocates, educators and health care providers. What this demonstrates is that the concept of childhood trauma has succeeded in uniting various sectors in a way that I have not seen before.

    Continue reading

  • Paper Tigers celebrates Education Week with 100 screenings across the U.S.

    (l to r) Kelsey, Pam Cantor, David Bornstein _______________

    (l to r) Kelsey, Pam Cantor, David Bornstein _________________________

    In a kickoff event for Education Week, several hundred people crowded into the fabulous Tishman Auditorium at the New School in New York City on Monday night to watch Paper Tigers, a documentary that follows six students during a school year at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, the first trauma-informed high school in the U.S.

    Nearly 100 schools, colleges, universities and communities across the country are screening Paper Tigers this week.

    Immediately following the New York screening, Paper Tigers director James Redford was joined in a live streamed panel discussion by Turnaround for Children founder Dr. Pamela Cantor, New York Times columnist and Solutions Journalism Network co-founder David Bornstein, and Dr. Howard Steele, professor of psychology at the New School.

    A special guest joined them — Kelsey, one of the students featured in the film. She was a sophomore when the film was made. She’s now a senior, is attending community college and working part-time. She had a 4.0 grade average in her junior year.

    The reason she stayed at Lincoln High School, she said, is because “I don’t feel judged there. I feel like I can be myself there. That’s still the biggest part about Lincoln. There’s such a level of acceptance, such a family atmosphere. You have people you can talk to all the time.”

    Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: