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Positive & Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACES) Hawai‘i
He ‘a‘ali‘i kū makani mai au; ‘a‘ohe makani nāna e kūla‘i.
I am a wind-withstanding ‘a‘ali‘i; no wind can topple me over.

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Laughter is the Best Medicine!

Knock! Knock! - Okay, I won’t go there, nor will I make your eyes roll (as my daughters often do) with a “Dad Joke.” Instead, I’d like to highlight the benefits of laughter and how we can use it in our early learning settings. Beyond lightening our day or evoking a happy memory, research shows that regular laughter can support our “body, mind, and spirit.” It strengthens the immune system, distracts us from pain, and helps mitigate stress. Laughter calms our nervous system, “relaxes” our...

Navigating Geopolitical Turmoil: Supporting Children Through Fear and Anxiety

Navigating the tumultuous waters of today's geopolitical landscape can be overwhelming for adults, let alone children. In her insightful newsletter, “ What a trauma therapist would say to children about war ,” Psychotherapist, Beth Tyson, of the “Creating Trauma-Informed Organizations,” offers valuable guidance on helping children cope with the fear and anxiety stemming from global conflicts. With the unpleasant and unceasing churn of 24-hour news cycles and the omnipresence of social media,...

"Trauma-Informed Care Virtual Summit 0-5 Providers"

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, educators found themselves in a frenzy for professional development, particularly in Trauma-Informed Care (TIC), as fear, predictions, and anxiety spread by either misinformation (or disinformation). Since 2020, many educators and social service agencies have embraced the concept of being 'trauma-informed.' I had the privilege of being part of a remarkable team of advocates and agencies that successfully lobbied for Hawaiʻi to become a 'TIC State' through...

The Seesaw of Resilience

An ecosystem's response to threat or disruption by a foreign entity is both "resistant" and "resilient," representing a natural defense mechanism to preserve, defend, and adapt to ensure life continues. The Center of the Developing Child at Harvard University has produced an insightful brief titled "The Science of Resilience," emphasizing the critical role of reducing significant adversity's effects on young children's healthy development for societal progress and prosperity. Governor Josh...

Call to Action & Toolkit: Urge Congress to Support Trauma-Informed Legislation

It’s time to take action and make our voices heard to build healthy, resilient communities! The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP) is organizing trauma-informed advocates, activists, and stakeholders to urge their U.S. Senators and Representatives to support two bipartisan, bicameral bills that would significantly help prevent, address, and mitigate the negative impacts of trauma through community-based/led initiatives.

Massive mental health toll in Maui wildfires: 'They've lost everything' [npr.org]

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen Jr. visits a distribution center at Lahaina Crossing. A deadly wildfire destroyed the city of Lahaina, Maui. Deanne Fitzmaurice for NPR By Eric Westervelt, National Public Radio (NPR), August 21, 2023 The scale of the physical damage in the historic center of Lahaina is clear in its apocalyptic landscape of rubble, ash and debris. But the scale of the inner damage can be seen in the 5-year-old girl that Maui's chief mental health administrator John Oliver saw...

Centering Indigenous Leadership in Maui’s Fire Recovery (yesmagazine.org)

To listen to Sonali Kolhatkar's interview with Kaniela Ing, please click here. More than a hundred people have so far been documented to have died in the devastating wildfires that swept the Hawaiian island of Maui, making it one of the deadliest such disasters in United States history . Federal agencies are pledging assistance even as survivors are desperately looking for loved ones and struggling to find lodging and other necessities. The historic town of Lahaina in particular has been...

Emotionally Supporting Young Children During and After Natural Calamities: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers:

Natural calamities and crises, like the current wildfires on Maui and Hawaiʻi Island, can deeply affect our keiki's physical, social, and emotional well-being. During these trying times, it's essential for parents and caregivers to provide effective emotional support. This blog post is dedicated to helping our keiki navigate the challenges posed by such events. With their limited life experiences and heightened emotions, children require special care to help them feel safe, secure, and...

Pearls of Wisdom- Aunty Pua Burgess

In a conversation with the remarkable Aunty Pua Burgess, a treasure of hope and resilience, she shared with me a valuable piece of wisdom: "Become a steward, not a victim of the experience." This pearl, along with many others, provided me with a much-needed boost on my resilience journey. Throughout life, we inevitably encounter the "bridge of hope" – a necessary pathway we must traverse when faced with trauma, either firsthand or while supporting others in adversity. It marks the point...

Blending cultural practices into a TIC early education environment

In our efforts to build wellness and resilience through TIC strategies for keiki “ children ”, we have a unique opportunity to incorporate the rich and diverse traditions of Indigenous cultures. By integrating Indigenous cultural practices and values, we can create an environment that not only supports our keikiʻs emotional well-being but also honors our heritage. In this blog post, we will explore how childcare providers can incorporate Indigenous culture into trauma-informed care practices...

*Workshop strategy* Medical Crisis as an ACE category- The need for awareness and protective factors

Aloha, I began the month with a post on medical trauma as an ACE category. I wanted to add this link to a Mid-Pacific school newsletter that was posted on May 23, 2023. It is a well-written article by MPI Sophomore, Carly Kaneshiro. Here is a TIC workshop strategy that could help you engage your audience. I would use this article and have participants circle/hi-lite the "traumatic experiences" as well as the "protective factors and elements of resilience" that they viewed. This exercise...

Medical Trauma Awareness

May is "Mental Health Awareness" month. It is a natural tendency to try to move as far and as fast away from the pandemic, which may be an effective strategy for some people, but not for all. We need to draw an awareness for those who have struggled with post-pandemic life and not judge them with, "what is wrong with you?! Itʻs over, get over it." The pandemic has magnified access and equity issues to behavioral health supports in our communities, particularly in our rural and remote parts...

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Aloha, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI) is kicking off a social-media awareness campaign with #MoreThanEnough to bring celebration, support and awareness to mental health awareness. On PACES Connection Hawaii, we will begin with a series on "Resilience." Links and thoughts will be shared that will include research and practice-based strategies to build wellness and resilience. Our first link is from Psychology Today written by Kristin...

"Power of Hope" A team effort!

I don't mean to offend anyone, but there is power in word choice. The word "Resilience" or the description of someone who is "Resilient" at times can be overused. It is kind of like when I point out to my daughters (and it is met with "eye rolls") the misuse of the word "love," when the say, "I love chocolate!" Okay, some of you might actually use "love" in this case- no judgement here :D. I know I am bias and proud parent, but my daughter Cassidy is truly "resilient." She has been through a...

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