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Growing Resilient Communities: By Popular Demand, a How-To Series in Video


As a result of the pandemic and the national and international awakening to racial justice issues, ACEs Connection has seen an explosion of interest from members wanting to start local, organizational, and state-wide ACEs initiatives. If you’re seeking to bring healing to your communities, we can help you start new or grow existing ACEs initiatives by using our Growing Resilient Communities framework, and we’ve produced a series of videos to get you started or to provide a refresher.

After working with community initiatives for years, we put together the elements that all successful communities have integrated, and we update them as necessary. Our latest version of Growing Resilient Communities was launched in November 2019. The tools and guidelines found in the GRC framework were crafted specifically to accelerate and sustain any ACEs initiative. In addition, the GRC framework can be used with any approach to launching ACEs initiatives in a community, including ACE Interface’s Self-Healing Communities, Northeast Tennessee's Trauma-Informed System of Care, and the Building Community Resilience Collaborative.

The GRC framework consists of two main parts:  Start Your Initiative! and Grow Your Initiative! 

In Start Your Initiative!, we include the usual suspects — such as how to form a steering committee, how to develop a strategic plan, agendas for meetings — as well as handy lessons learned, such as Who Owns the ACEs Initiative? Everybody!Inclusion Paves the Way to Success, and Avoid the Pitfalls (those pitfalls can be doozies).

In Grow Your Initiative!, we elaborate on the following five tenets of the GRC framework:

  • Educate….every person and every organization about ACEs science, and how people and organizations integrate healing-centered/trauma-informed practices in themselves, their families, their organizations, their systems, and the communities in which they live. Check out a quick video of ACEs Connection’s very own Gail Kennedy and Karen Clemmer providing quick tips for educating your local community about ACEs science!
  • Aggregate....gather data, such as the number of ACEs science presentations, the number of organizations that are becoming trauma-informed, and the resulting outcomes in organizations and sectors, such as higher grades, less absenteeism, and less teacher turnover in schools. In this short clip, Samantha Sangenito and I discuss the important role of data within the world-wide ACEs movement.
  • Engage....people and organizations to join the local ACEs initiative. A little bit or a lot...any involvement is good. Carey Sipp and Jenna Quinn provide insight into how to maximize local community engagement in this short clip!
  • Activate....people and organizations to commit to integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices in their personal, family, volunteer, work and community lives. This heals systems and communities! In this particularly important video, Donielle Prince and Elizabeth Prewitt discuss how to activate communities to address trauma at the systems level.
  • Celebrate....any accomplishment! ACEs summitscommunity resilience daysproclamations. Post anything, large or small, that your community is doing on and other social media. Check out this quick clip of Alison Cebulla and Cissy White discussing the importance of showcasing your wins!

Remember, this framework is meant to meet ACEs initiatives where they are, as well fast-track and sustain them. Nevertheless, for those initiatives whose needs have surpassed the GRC framework and are seeking more sophisticated tools, we offer our Cooperative of Communities.  If you have any questions concerning the GRC framework or the Cooperative of Communities, please reach out to your regional community facilitator. In the coming weeks, ACEs Connection will continue to highlight the Growing Resilient Communities framework and provide any assistance we can to accelerate the worldwide ACEs movement. 

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