Today’s blog was written by Dr. Jennifer Parker, Director Child Advocacy Studies of USC Upstate.
Many children and youth in Spartanburg are living with families who are experiencing one or more forms of adversity. Substance abuse, interpersonal violence, mental illness, incarceration, abuse and neglect are prevalent in our community, and many co-occur. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), a large epidemiological study, tells us 67% of people have experienced one or more of these adverse experiences. When issues are not addressed, children and families are at risk for lifelong problems that come with enormous cost to the individual and to society. Additionally, these problems don’t go away and are often passed along to future generations. One way to reduce ACEs in our community is through building more compassionate practices that embrace families, and foster resiliency.
Resiliency is the capacity to cope with stress and continue to thrive. It is not an innate characteristic, but something we can actively teach children and youth. Resilient children can interpret stressful experiences as manageable, and cope in healthy ways. This reduces the risk of harmful outcomes. A fundamental component of resiliency is a trusting relationship with a caring and competent adult. Trust with a supportive adult or caregiver can create a safe space for children and youth to learn essential skills for coping with stressful circumstances.
The Child Protection Training Center at USC Upstate in partnership with Connect, an initiative of the Mary Black Foundation, will host a full day Resiliency Summit on July 25th to address how we can build these relationships and become a more resilient community. The Summit is designed for individuals who have a basic knowledge of trauma and the impact on development. The focus will be on building resiliency in schools and after school programs. Trainers will discuss trauma sensitive practices designed to build skills of resilience for all children and youth. The featured keynote speaker, Dr. Susan Craig, is an author and sought-after speaker for trauma sensitive practices in the classroom. She and other expert presenters will lead workshops designed for all grade levels.