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ACEs Connection Network Confab -- Southern California, May 10, 2016


(l to r) Sienna, one of the teens from Youth Voice from City Heights; Dana Brown, ACEs Connection Network regional facilitator and co-founder of Youth Voice;  Francisco Mendoza, CEO, Mendoza Consulting; Jessica, Youth Voice; Lizette, Youth Voice; Talitha Thompson, Youth Voice co-facilitator; Joshua Aguirre, RISE Up Industries board of directors; Stephanie Linderman, Youth Voice mentor; Arturo Soriano, Youth Empowerment co-founder; (in front) Adrian, Youth Voice.


About 30 people drove in from north, east and south of Orange County, CA, for our first (but not our last) confab for members of groups in Southern California. 

This was one of two confabs we hosted -- the other was May 12 in Northern California. Both confabs were organized with generous support from The California Endowment.

SoCal confab at USC-Orange County

We were very fortunate to have the USC-Orange County Academic Center provide a beautiful meeting space with plenty of windows at their facility in Irvine, CA. There were tables and chairs that we could move around into break-out sessions, a state-of-the-art presentation system, and plenty of wall space for posters that had oodles of notes stuck to them by the end of the day. Thank you, Professors Conrad Fuente and Steven Kim!!

People came from Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties, as well as City Heights, which launched the first neighborhood group on ACEsConnection.  

(Foreground to background, l to r) Sarah Rock, ACEs Connection (with back to camera); Deanna Handel, First5 Ventura County; Kathy Brous, author, Orange County; Youth Voice mentor Stephanie Linderman, San Diego County; Liliana LaFrance, Learn4Life, Orange County; Craig Beswick, Learn4Life educational director for San Diego County.

We put together a day that was heavy on interacting, while light on sitting and listening to a single speaker. We wanted people to meet each other, and work cross-sector and cross-county to share ideas, challenges, and solutions.

The participants got together with people they didn't know to talk about how they were currently integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on ACEs science. They identified what was working and what wasn't.


(l to r) Nkem Ndefo, TIC Task Force of Greater Los Angeles, TRE Certification Provider; Marlene Sanders, intern, Orange County.

Then they organized into their ACEsConnection groups to identify successes and challenges in starting and growing the groups.


Liliana LaFrance, Orange County; Craig Beswick, San Diego; Kathy Brous, Marlene Sanders, Orange County; Dana Brown, ACEs Connection Network;  Ellie Watkins, Education Outreach, Orange County.

In their last break-out sessions, they got back into their ACEsConnection groups to talk about what they needed to move forward. This included identifying what they wanted to accomplish, the action steps necessary, as well as what they needed from ACEs Connection Network, state and local government, their professional organizations and/or communities to successfully take those action steps.


(l to r) Arturo Sorian, founder, Youth Empowerment, City Heights; Joshua Aguirre, RISE UP Industries, City Heights; Francisco Mendoza, Mendoza Consulting, City Heights. In background, l to r, Sienna and Adrian from Youth Voice, City Heights; Jane Stevens, ACEs Connection. 

Thank all of you who attended for all your hard work. We've been writing up all the transcripts of the posters you created. With what you came up with, we're putting together action plans for each group, which we'll send out later this summer, and we'll post in the groups' resources sections so that everyone can review them.


Devika Shankar, co-chair, Trauma-Informed Task Force of Greater Los Angeles;  James Encinas, author & director, Options Counseling Spanish programs, Los Angeles.

We'll also be "toolkitting" the confabs so that groups can organize these same gatherings in their counties or cities.

All of you who participated…thank you so very much. It was a fast-paced, energetic and fun day, with some terrifically useful results.

(l to r) Sarah Rock, Gail Kennedy, Jane Stevens, Dana Brown, ACEs Connection Network.


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