Since late 2021 and into 2022, the Georgia Essentials for Childhood Initiative has been encouraging parents, caregivers, professionals, all those who work with or around young people, and all those who may have experienced their own trauma to read the book "What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing", coauthored by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD. The inaugural Georgia Reads initiative was launched in November 2021 with a webinar hosted by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services' Prevention and Community Support Section, the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, and the Gwinnett County Public Library. The webinar had a panel made up of representatives from each of these organizations and also Resilient Georgia and Inclusivv Conversations. In the webinar, we introduced the book, why we recommended reading a book about trauma, healing and resilience and also offered opportunities for local communities to utilize our Georgia-specific Book Club Discussion Guide to host a book club of their own. At this time, more than 35 local community organizations and groups have signed up to host a book club and we continue to encourage more.
Also in late 2021, the national Children's Trust Fund Alliance, who works with the Georgia Children's Trust Fund (Prevention and Community Support) to help coordinate our Parent Advisory Council (GA-PAC), volunteered to facilitate a book club with the GA-PAC members. Parents who are a part of the GA-PAC were offered an opportunity to attend weekly virtual meetings for approximately ten weeks to discuss the chapters of the book. Chloe Corrion, at that time an intern with the Alliance, and Kara Georgi, who works with our GA-PAC through the Alliance, developed a beautiful book club discussion guide with coloring pages and quotes from other authors and integrates the Strengthening Families Five Protective Factors. When Chloe and Kara reached out to the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) to introduce the book club concept and the discussion guide, Oprah was so impressed with the work that she actually attended (virtually) the final GA-PAC book club meeting! She spent an hour listening to the responses of the parents to the book, answered questions that the parents had about why she wrote the book, and shared her personal experiences with trauma and healing. It was an incredible evening for the parents and the staff, too!
In January of 2022, Dr. Bruce Perry and Dr. Melissa Merrick, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, came virtually to Georgia for an author event to discuss the book. Dr. Perry spent 90 minutes answering questions we had received from Georgia readers and providers. A video of that event can be found at the Georgia Reads landing page: www.tinyurl.com/GeorgiaReads.
February is National Parent Leadership Month. On February 17th, 2022, the Children's Trust Fund Alliance and the Birth Parent National Network hosted a Celebrating Parent Leadership webinar and in the webinar, they launched the newly released book club guide entitled,
Members of the Georgia Parent Advisory Council participated in the webinar and discussed their experience in holding a “What Happened to You?” Book Club. Dr. Bruce Duncan Perry was visibly moved by their response to the book and celebrated the value of the book club discussion guide for parents and caregivers.
“Oprah and I truly appreciate the thought and hard work that went into the study guide. I really like the images, and it’s fun that people can download and color their own version.”
Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD
We encourage communities throughout Georgia to continue reading this important book. Staff, parents, community members who have participated thus far have all shared how moved they have been by the content of the book and how it has helped them understand so much more about trauma, healing and resilience. When you sign up to host a Georgia book club, you will receive the Georgia-specific discussion guide. We also recommend that other states utilize the beautiful discussion guide created by the Alliance.
If you’d like more information about the Alliance Book Club Guide, visit https://ctfalliance.org/partne...h-parents/book-club/,
For more information about the Georgia Reads initiative, including ways to host a Georgia Reads book club, visit www.tinyurl.com/GeorgiaReads
For information about our Parent Advisory Council in GA, visit www.tinyurl.com/GeorgiaPAC.