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Counting on Community Symposium 2019 Highlights


We are excited that this year the Children’s Mental Health Summit partnered with First 5 Humboldt’s ACEs/Resilience Project, the 0 to 8 Mental Health Collaborative and the Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council to bring such an amazing opportunity to our community. The collaboration involved in planning this event demonstrates the richness of partnerships present in Humboldt County. Our collective goal was to provide knowledge, strategies and networking opportunities to practitioners, caregivers and community members. This 3-day symposium focused on how we can “Count on Community” by promoting infant-family and early childhood mental health, trauma-responsive practices and community resilience strategies.

“When I read Innosanto Nagara’s Counting on Community children’s book, all I could envision were the ways in which Humboldt passionately shows up for community. Humboldt County is a special place. We are filled with natural beauty, relationships with depth and connection, and social services committed to helping children and families combat trauma and find ways to heal.”

-Jovonne Dempster

At the last Children’s Mental Health Summit, Jovonne Dempster asked participants to brainstorm and envision all of the ways that we as a community can count on Humboldt to support children and families. This Symposium sought to further that conversation, and explore ways that we can continue to show up for and count on our community. Our gift to participants of the symposium will be the book that was generated from that conversation, “Counting on Humboldt,” which is also available online at along with information about workshops, guest speakers, and all the special events offered throughout the Symposium!

The first day of this Symposium was hosted in various locations around Old Town Eureka, as our way of encouraging people to experience parts of the community that they may not be familiar with, stay regulated by walking to workshops, and network with each other between sessions. In order to be responsive to the unique needs of our early childhood educators, social workers, clinicians, health practitioners, parents, and community members, we focused our planning efforts on ensuring that the experience and content offered came from diverse, multi-disciplinary perspectives. Speakers recognized nationally as experts in their fields and communities were invited to present, along with local experts and policy makers who we are honored to continue to count on in our own community. This Symposium had over 300 registrants, and the schedule had a little something for everyone!

We anticipated that by exploring various pathways for child, family & community wellness, symposium participants would:

1. Gain an understanding of the pervasive impacts trauma has on children’s development & family/community wellbeing, along with strategies for integrating trauma-responsive practices in a variety of settings;

2. Expand their knowledge of child development;

3. Develop new considerations for supporting infant-family and early childhood mental health;

4. Learn how to further our capacity as a community to support families;

5. Feel empowered to employ self-care & mindfulness strategies into their daily lives and practice;

6. Cultivate community and professional relationships through a connected network.

The momentum behind this movement has been strengthened by this event and will only continue to grow! Please visit to view copies of workshop presentations and handouts and stay connected to the movement by following First 5 Humboldt on Facebook!IMG_0419.CR2IMG_0453.CR2IMG_0477.CR2StaffHelping hands5.31.19IMG_0544.CR220190530_091042


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This sounds like a wonderful event, I love the pictures (fist bump!), and this seems like a model that could be replicated elsewhere.  Developing a book based on the "Counting on Humboldt" conversations is brilliant! I look forward to seeing the book, and hearing more about all the ways positive ripples travel across the wider community! NICE work! Kudos to all! Karen

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