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Leaders explore community wide resiliency []

By Emily Thornton | March 10, 2019

Everyone has experienced some kind of trauma, experts say, and people need to know how to work through it to help others also facing traumatic events.

That was the message presented to 35 representatives from various local organizations who attended a Community Resilience Initiative training on Friday in the Walla Walla Airport conference room sponsored by United Way of Walla Walla and organized by Walla Walla’s Community Council

Speakers discussed trauma-informed care throughout the community and how to implement it to become more resilient.

The trauma-informed care initiative already has taken hold in schools such as Lincoln Alternative High School, where it began. The school incorporates an understanding of toxic stress on the brain to better help its students.

“If the brain is exposed to stress, it changes a person’s ability to develop and can lead to things like hyperarousal,” said Teri Barila, Children’s Resilience Initiative co-founder and CEO.

Hyperarousal is a condition related to post-traumatic stress disorder, when a person has elevated anxiety and alertness, difficulty sleeping and other symptoms.

Barila and Jim Sporleder, retired Lincoln principal, helped form the Children’s Resilience Initiative after he led Lincoln to being a trauma-informed school, which gained nationwide attention due to its increased graduation rates, decreased dropout rates, and those getting postsecondary education, according to Initiative leaders.


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