By Amanda Winn, 6/10/21, positiveexperience.org/blog
Hello out there, HOPE family. I joined HOPE at the start of this year to help the team bring HOPE to the West Coast. I’m a Bay Area girl living in Portland. Well, to be more precise, I’m a New Jersey girl who made the Bay Area her home for over a decade before moving to Portland. I’m a social worker with my MSW from Cal, and I’ve always worked at the intersection of parenting and poverty, typically at a more macro-level. Oh, and I’m a queer Jew who’s relatively recently divorced with two kids.
As it became apparent that divorce was in my near future, I did what any good Jewish girl would do- I went to therapy. During my intake, my therapist had me fill out an ACEs screening. Now, to be fair, I do have some childhood trauma that was probably relevant to my treatment, but all I could think about was the fact that my actions were about to increase my own children’s ACE score. Divorce is on the screening tool. It’s number two on the list. “Did you lose a parent through divorce, abandonment, death, or other reason?” It’s given the same weight as parental death or abandonment.
And then I found HOPE (and hope). It’s so obvious. Of course positive childhood experiences (PCEs) are protective factors against adverse childhood experiences. While I may have increased their ACE score by 1 point, they still had two parents who loved them beyond belief. They actually increased the number of caring, loving, supportive adults in their lives as new partners came into the picture. They now have models of authentic, healthy love in their lives, and they have learned that they are capable of doing hard things.