On January 25th and 26th, educators, service providers, parents, caregivers, and community members all came together to discuss and learn about a very important topic: ACEs, Adverse Childhood Experiences.
ACEs are traumatic, toxic stress situations, such as physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, that can have detrimental effects on brain development in the first 100 days of a child’s life. In many cases, ACEs manifest in other ways later on in life and can lead to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential, and even early death.
Through former Governor Haslam’s “Building Strong Brains initiative,” more conversations are being initiated and a bigger focus is being put on this important topic–especially in Hamilton County.
Sponsored by Unum and Helen Ross McNabb Center, our Early Matters Chattanooga action teamproudly co-hosted, with WTCI-TV and United Way of Greater Chattanooga, a documentary screening workshop showing “Building Strong Brains: ACEs, The Tennessee Story.”
Throughout the two-day event, guests partook in guided breakout sessions and screenings to educate them on the severe impact ACEs has on communities and families. Participants discussed what they saw in the screenings and how it connects back to their work and daily life.
Participants left engaged, educated, and inspired to continue learning how to combat and prevent these horrible situations.
Read what some participants had to say about the two-day event:
“I am leaving with a deeper understanding of how ACEs affects the whole community, but also encouraged and inspired that there is some way to help.” – Member of Ashland Terrace Christian Church
“I definitely will share what I learned with others, especially those working with students. I am encouraged by the statistical evidence that shows the benefit of having one safe and stable adult present in a child’s life.” – Member of New City Fellowship
“The most valuable aspect of this experience was learning that one life can shape another life. The video format was very effective, and small groups allowed for personal input and relationship building. I am leaving hopeful for the juvenile system and change that can come.” – Employee of HCDE
“No matter what or where you come from, there is always hope and healing.” – Employee of Chambliss Center at Ooltewah Elementary School
“Before reacting harshly to kids who are misbehaving, remember that they have difficult backgrounds. Teach them to breathe.” – Member of New City Fellowship
Participants walked away with hope of ways to intervene and help fellow community members navigate these discussions and situations.
If you would like to learn more or help educate those you work with or involved with your organization, sign up to host a Chattanooga Basics ACEs training. A trained representative will come to your work or event and give a presentation.
Through collaboration and honest conversations, we are making Chattanooga a trauma-informed community and giving all children access to a better a future.