ACEs are adverse childhood experiences that harm children’s developing brains so profoundly that the effects show up decades later; they lead to chronic disease, mental illness, and often are the root of drug use, alcohol abuse, and violence. ACEs are considered the most powerful determinant of the public’s health. In 2014, United Way of Central Washington volunteers began studying ACEs as a critical issue in our communities – and as a big opportunity to help children and youth succeed in school, graduate on time, and be ready for college and career.
According to ACE Interface, LLC, a company that provides ACE education and support for organizations, “The ACE Study provides a discovery – a common framework and language – that we can use to profoundly improve the health and well-being of our society now and for future generations to come.”
In October, United Way and Yakima Valley Community College hosted a free training on “Building Your Toolkit to Overcome ACEs.” Presenters Mary-Virginia Maxwell, LMHC and Ann Riley shared their expert knowledge of ACEs, offering both a Classroom Track and a Community Track. The 200 attendees were guided through topics ranging from the effects of trauma on the development of the brain to building core protective systems in the classroom, home and community.
There is a wealth of new information and science related to the effects of childhood trauma, and the ways that parents, schools and communities can work to prevent trauma and build resilience as the key to helping kids succeed. In spite of years of work, there remains far too little awareness of ACEs, especially in our schools.
For more information on how ACEs impacts our community and what you can do to help, contact Tysa Kihn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509.248.1557.