Last week I attended Safestart's Annual Training, where Chandra Ghosh Ippen presented "Ripple Effect: An Integrative Framework for Enhancing Trauma-Informed Practice Across Systems". Other than being incredibly informative, it made me really excited about the role and potential impact you all have by being part of the Bridge program in California, and I wanted to impart some of that to you.
She emphasized that trauma is the number one human epidemic facing our world today, but by creating a trauma-informed child and family service system we have the ability to mitigate the negative impacts and create resiliency and recovery. One metaphor she used was trauma as a wave, overwhelming the child or parent's developmental or regulatory capacity. By nature of the work you do, you're under the wave with them - you have the power to provide resources to help them swim. Even if you don't work directly with children or families, by embarking on this journey together we are all playing a part in creating a more understanding and empathic state (and world).
At one point in the training, Chandra read us a children's book she wrote about trauma: Once I Was Very Very Scared.
It's a really sweet book about all the different ways kids can react to adverse experiences - Dog is irritable and has outbursts of anger, Rabbit is hyper-vigilant and has trouble concentrating, Turtle hides and has a stomachache, Monkey clings to people because she's afraid they will leave, etc. Porcupine comes and helps the animals feel safe, talk about their emotions, and learn activities that help them cope (you can download a free pdf of the book in English and Spanish).
The training also reminded me how important it is that you all take care of yourselves as you do this work. These topics can bring up a lot for people, and it's important to be gentle with and have empathy for yourself - before you can do it for others.
I'll leave you with the opening of the training, which stood out to me:
"There may be dark days doing this work and it feels like just a drop in the bucket, but each drop sends out a tiny ripple of hope"