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New Toolkit Helps Communities Address Trauma to Shape Their Own Neighborhoods [nextcity.org]

Seven years ago, trying to recover from the death of her daughter, Brenda Mosley was introduced to the concept of trauma-informed care. “I was in a state of grief, darkness and despair,” she says. Then she began a three-year, trauma-informed program offered by an organization in her neighborhood of Kensington, Philadelphia, the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC). “It was 10 women and we were introduced to all the models of trauma-informed care,” Mosley recalls. “I was...

In-person classes have stopped. Shootings haven’t. So Philly schools are taking trauma support online [billypenn.com]

When students came to class in person, the private St. Malachy School in North Philadelphia was equipped with a robust emotional support program to help kids deal with trauma. The 11th and Thompson building offered its 275 students access to a space called the Peace Room. It was stocked with bean bag chairs, books, music, snacks — even an elliptical, in case they needed to get some energy out. There were two full-time staffers working the room at all times, one of whom is a counselor. When...

No more ‘police’ in Philly schools; ‘safety officers’ in new uniforms coming this fall [inquirer.com]

School police will no longer patrol city public school halls come September. Instead, “school safety officers” in less severe uniforms and with different job descriptions will be stationed throughout the Philadelphia School District. The move comes amid local and national pushes to remove police from schools. A handful of big-city districts, including those in Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle, and Oakland, have severed or backed away from relationships with police departments in the wake of the...

Philly school board hearing report: speakers seek fewer police, more support services [thenotebook.org]

Teachers, counselors, parents, and national activists added their voices to students’ call for “police-free schools” at a general public hearing held by Philadelphia’s Board of Education on Thursday. The board holds two of these hearings annually, as the City Charter mandates; the only agenda for the meetings is to hear speakers. At the hearing and at a virtual “rally” held during the hour before, members of the Philadelphia Student Union and their allies repeatedly said that reform of the...

General board hearing Thursday likely to focus on school officers and reopening plans [thenotebook.org]

The Philadelphia Board of Education is holding an open public hearing Thursday afternoon, one of two that it is required by the City Charter to conduct annually on general topics. The three-hour meeting, which starts at 4 p.m., has no agenda except hearing from speakers. Student activists plan to renew their calls for police-free schools. Many others have registered to air their concerns about the conditions under which schools will resume in the fall, said Board President Joyce Wilkerson.

‘Building Wealth and Health Network’ Reduces Food Insecurity Without Providing Food [drexel.edu]

As the coronavirus pandemic forces so many to reckon with growing food insecurity and increased health challenges, the Building Wealth and Health Network program of Drexel University’s Center for Hunger-Free Communities is reducing food insecurity and improving mental health – without distributing any food or medicine. How? By focusing on group experiences that promote healing and help people save money and take control over their own finances. Parents of young children, who completed the...

Coming soon: Philly School District families will have access to grief counseling, coronavirus support [inquirer.com]

For Philadelphia students and families having trouble coping with the loss of months of in-person school amid the trauma of a pandemic and a changing world, help is on the way. On Monday, the Philadelphia School District and Uplift, the Center for Grieving Children, will launch the Philly HopeLine, a hotline that will connect district children and families to grief support services, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said at a news conference Thursday. The resource comes in response to a...

24/7 Helpline launched statewide to help people struggling during the COVID-19 crisis [fox43.com]

Need help? There is now a statewide hotline you can call. The toll-free, round-the-clock support line can be contacted at 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600. The hotline was launched in partnership with Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services along with the Center for Community Rescoures (CCR), an experienced regional crisis and call center. The hotline hopes to provide assistance to people struggling with emotions during the COVID-19 crisis. “Pennsylvanians will overcome this...

District finds that creating more trauma-informed schools requires a change of culture [thenotebook.org]

“The world of thinking about trauma, the importance of school climate and social-emotional learning is 20, 30, 40 years behind the world of instruction." Joanna Schwartz, a 2nd-grade teacher at Eliza B. Kirkbride Elementary School, was about to take a scheduled break and desperately needed a place to have peace and quiet. But the only place she could find was a broom closet. A few years earlier, in another school, Schwartz said teachers were baffled by a 3rd grader who continually fell...

Mental Health Happy Hour

This is a good story about mental health. Let’s say a bunch of social workers, nurses, trauma specialists, philanthropists, non-profit professionals, writers, EMTs, and data crunchers walk into a bar. Knock knock, no joke, this actually happened in December 2019. Mental health professionals begin to schmooze over spinach mushroom rolls, cheese and hummus platters, and ginger brew. Sounds good right. There’s so many reasons to luv Philly. The event was sponsored by the Scattergood Foundation...

What makes us safe: Facing trauma, gun violence, and hatred

An onslaught of violence begs the question: What makes us safe? Should we run and hide, should we become heavily armed, should we only speak with people who look like us? It would be easy to frame recent hate crimes in Monsey , Pittsburgh , and San Diego solely as anti-Semitic. It is that and more. Hateful attacks against Jews indicate a “rot in democracy” and call for systemic reform, according to History Professor Dr. Deborah Lipstadt. I began thinking about safety over 25 years ago when a...

How One Philadelphia After-school Program Works to Be Trauma-informed [youthtoday.org]

On an afternoon in October, kids in the Sunrise of Philadelphia after-school program made tissue-paper marigolds, assembled little altars and created masks. It was the Day of the Dead celebration held by Sunrise partner, Fleisher Art Memorial . They wrote poems about people who were no longer with them, either lost to death or simply separated across distance — a possibility in this largely immigrant and refugee community. The activity gave them a chance to explore loss and sadness, which —...

Philadelphia has a gun violence epidemic. What if it were treated like any other contagious disease? [inquirer.com]

Robert Warner and his crew don’t have medical degrees. But in the midst of Philadelphia’s gun violence epidemic, they are in the business of saving lives. Day or night, Warner and his outreach workers are on North Philly streets mediating disputes, organizing basketball games between youth factions, dissuading folks from violence, and helping young people find jobs. When someone gets shot, they’re in the hospital, helping the victim’s family, and on the street, preventing retaliation. “I...

Philly District Attorney initiative is a 'one-stop' for jobs, social services [phillytrib.com]

Robert Mayweather wasn’t pressed to find a job Thursday night at the YMCA in West Philadelphia. However, he’s glad he satisfied his curiosity to “see what was going on.” Mayweather was one of a few hundred people who passed through the doors of the YMCA for the District Attorney’s Office’s One-Stop Job and Resources Hub. The hub opens up on the first Thursday of each month, in a different neighborhood each time. The goal of the event is to connect city residents in under-served neighborhoods...

New federal report surprises: Philadelphia poverty down, income up [philly.com]

Philadelphia’s poverty rate, a stark and stubborn indicator of hard times that has long hindered the city’s reputation, dropped to its lowest level since 2008 — near the start of the recession. At the same time, median household income here rose. The findings, contained in a voluminous report from the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday, showed that the city’s poverty rate declined from 25.7% in 2016 to 24.5% in 2018. The number of Philadelphia residents living in poverty dropped by 14,537...

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