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A Better Normal | Number Story | Wed, May 26, 2021, 12pm PT


Join us for the next A Better Normal community discussion series where we envision and create a trauma-informed society together.

Wed, May 26, 2021, 12pm PDT

>>Register Here<<

We will be learning from Sarah Marikos and Joy Thomas of the ACE Resource Network about the wide impact their Number Story campaign is having through the use of strategic partnerships. This intervention helps individuals understand their ACE numbers and connects them with the resources and tools to heal. They have solicited celebrities and influencers to share their number stories to help normalize healing from trauma.

"Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their lasting impacts are the focus of a large-scale national public awareness campaign launching today, May 13th, 2021. ACEs are difficult, potentially highly stressful events or circumstances that occur during childhood or adolescence and include experiences like abuse, neglect, and having a family member with a mental illness or substance use issue.

An ACE score, ranging from zero to ten, measures these experiences in ten categories. The higher one’s score, the higher the likelihood that one may experience a number of challenges throughout life - from physical and mental health conditions, to educational and career difficulties - even a shortened lifespan.

However, ACEs are not destiny. Research shows that early detection and evidence-based interventions can reduce negative impacts - and prevention is possible. Understanding the story behind one’s score can empower and support people and families, which is what -- and “The Story of Your Number” campaign -- is designed to do."

Read Joy's full blog about the Number Story launch here.

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Follow along on Instagram, here.

Guest speakers:


Sarah Marikos, MPH, Executive Director, ACE Resource Network

Sarah’s professional career has focused on the science of things that can hurt us and heal us. Witnessing Hurricane Katrina’s devastating — and inequitable — impact on communities influenced her to pivot from the pre-med track to public health, deciding to pursue a master’s in public health (MPH) in epidemiology, following undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, to better understand the confluence of factors that influence the health and well-being of people and communities.

In graduate school at San Diego State University, Sarah conducted research on young adults who injected drugs, seeking to understand how abuse in childhood influenced their adult circumstances and behaviors. That research is what led Sarah to the landmark Kaiser Permanente-CDC Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study.

After graduation, Sarah worked for and then led the Epidemiology & Assessment Unit for the Sonoma County health department for over five years, leading major community health initiatives related to infectious and chronic diseases, and violence prevention.

In early 2019, wanting to work with people who influence the major determinants of health, Sarah started providing consulting services to provide public health data and strategy expertise to the education, health, medical, non-profit, and philanthropic sectors. She also completed a national fellowship on racial equity with Human Impact Partners.


Joy Thomas, Research & Strategy, ACE Resource Network

Joy believes in the transformative power of creativity and the possibility of a just and equitable world. Her work has been rooted in theatre arts, with specialties including applied theatre, theatre for young audiences, and new play development. She was a theatre arts instructor at her alma mater, McDaniel College in Maryland, and at DC’s National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts.

In 2006, Joy shifted to social services to use her skills and experiences to help people address the lasting impacts of childhood toxic stress. She served as Outreach and Education Specialist for the KIDS Network and the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Santa Barbara County, and later as the Communications and Outreach Manager of the Sonoma County Human Services Department.

In 2015, Joy signed on as Creative Arts Director at Child Parent Institute, focusing on the research, development, and delivery of trauma-informed creative arts programs that promote healing and reduce the impacts of early adversity.

Joy completed the Advanced Mind-Body Medicine Training Program with the globally renowned Center for Mind-Body Medicine as part of the Sonoma County Resilience Collaborative, formed to bring community-level healing to the region following the 2017 wildfires.

She has trained teaching artists in the effects of trauma on development, and trained educators and service providers in integrating creative tools to support connection, growth, and healing.


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