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Roadmap to Resilience Infographic: Guide

The steps indicated by the numbers are grouped by color on the Roadmap to Resilience infographic. The group wisdom from the people who have embarked on this journey (i.e., the case studies in the Community Resilience Cookbook) was: You don't have to proceed numerically, but it's a good idea to complete everything in each group before moving onto the next group.  



1. Someone starts. Anyone—a community advocate, a local priest, an artist, a group of pediatricians—starts the conversation and catalyzes the community’s trauma-informed, resilience-building efforts. That person may continue to lead, or someone else may lead after the start-up, or a small group may share that responsibility.

What’s important is that the individual or group understand the science of ACEs and be committed to integrating ACE-, trauma-informed and resilience-building practices into all parts of the community.

2. Local efforts. Identify any trauma-informed, resilience-building efforts under way locally and engage the leaders of those efforts.

3. Engage local leaders. The individual or group identifies a small group (30-50 people) of community leaders from different sectors—education, human services, juvenile justice, mental health—and educates them one-on-one about ACES, trauma and resilience.

4. Steering committee and Backbone organization. The most enthusiastic members of this group form a steering committee that drives the initial effort, and that forms, or identifies, a backbone organization to support the effort.




5. ACEsConnection group. Form a local group on

6. Make history. Document your efforts so others can learn from your community’s experience.

7. Collective impact. Develop a collective impact model in which multiple groups or agencies share a mission and develop a collaborative approach to carry out that mission. Organizations can move at their own pace to implement trauma-informed, resilience-building practices. 

8. Local resources. Assess your resources—local funding, meeting space, in-kind support, etc.




9. Mission, goals, action. Develop a mission statement, goals and a plan of action; review and update every two years.

10. Slogan. Develop a one-line slogan or tagline.

11. Local data, local urgency. Use local data to create a sense of urgency.

Focus on hope, resilience and change without losing sight of the deep and long-term impact of childhood adversity. ACEs are not destiny; if the brain can be hurt, it can also be healed.

12. Communication tools (Develop or borrow a PowerPoint presentation and content for brochures, perhaps a web site, Facebook page or video).




13. Public meetings. Schedule regular public meetings of the steering committee and make them open to anyone in the community.

Be open to “uncommon partners” in the work.

14. Local funding? Apply to local or regional foundations for initial funding, but don’t stop if you don’t get funding.

15. Walk the talk. Set a goal for all members of your coalition to “walk the talk” of trauma-informed practice in their own agencies and departments.

Work small and think big”—that is, put trauma-informed practices in place in your own coalition and day-to-day work while building alliances and momentum for larger-scale change.

16. Presenters. Develop and train a cadre of people -- a speaker's bureau -- who can give presentations to different sectors—nurses, probation officers, pediatricians, Rotary Club members, teachers, etc.—in the community.

17. Educate. Present. Educate. Repeat. Do presentations about ACEs and resilience for all identified sectors in the community—police departments, juvenile court judges, child-care workers. Present to the same groups multiple times; it takes repeated exposures for new information to take hold.




18. Local ACE survey. Develop measures of success: an ACE survey and a “comprehension” survey to assess understanding of ACEs and resilience. [List of state ACE reports.]

19. Feedback. Develop ways to gather feedback (e.g., evaluation sheets at workshops).

Recognize that deep-rooted attitudes—for example, a belief in individual responsibility and self-sufficiency—may present barriers to understanding ACEs and resilience, and that such attitudes take time to change.

Remember that becoming trauma-informed is a long-term process, and that not everyone will “come on board” right away.




20. Summits, learning circles. Plan public education meetings—monthly “learning circles,” annual ACE Summits. Start with “ACEs 101” and move to more complex trainings on impact and implementation.


Recognize how past trauma—whether economic, environmental or political—affects your community now. Be willing to address these issues in a sensitive and inclusive way.


21. Media. Conduct media outreach at every step through local news, including traditional (newspapers, magazines), digital and social media.


Celebrate progress and successes. 




22. Official recognition. Develop an MOU—memorandum of understanding—for local government to provide official recognition of your organization and its goal of creating a trauma-informed, resilience-building community.

23. Large-scale funding? Decide whether to seek large-scale funding to support the steering committee and its work.


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