What can organizations do to be successful in growing their ACEs initiatives and trauma-informed communities?
For the last several years, Jane and her team at ACEs Connection have been collecting information from communities as they start and grow their ACEs initiatives. ACEs Connection staff watched and reported on communities like Walla Walla as they lay the groundwork. So far, ACEs Connection has worked with more than 100 cities, counties and states to launch communities on ACEs Connection to support their ACEs initiatives.
After identifying roadblocks, patterns, and strategies they observed, ACEs Connection has developed a framework and tools to support communities. Growing Resilient Communities 2.0 provides the basic how-tos to launch and grow ACEs initiatives. Its Community Tracker is a tool that helps communities measure their progress. Growing Resilient Communities 2.0 isn’t a replacement for other approaches that communities are using to become trauma-informed; it augments them by providing a basic framework common to all, and providing useful tools to see how they’re growing.
Growing Resilient Communities 2.0 guides communities through the four basic parts of growing local ACEs initiatives: educating people, engaging local organizations in the ACEs initiative, activating organizations to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on ACEs science, and celebrating with local summits, such as this year’s Beyond Paper Tigers Trauma-Informed Conference, as they make progress.
The Community Tracker is a tool that measures a community’s progress by keeping track of presentations that members of the local ACEs initiative make in their communities. The data can be viewed in an interactive map, and filtered by sectors, such as schools, law enforcement, social services, faith-based, business, etc. It can also be viewed in a searchable list format. The other part of the tracker lets a community track how many of its organizations are integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices, and where they are in that journey. Since becoming a trauma-informed organization takes at least a year or more, and requires many changes in an organization, the tracker features 11 milestones that represent points along the transformation.
To use these tools effectively, ACEs Connection provides communities with a sector spreadsheet, so that they can identify organizations within sectors to engage, and to make sure they’re reaching out to all sectors and subsectors in their community. “One way I’ve seen communities falter is that they stay within their comfort zone of people they know,” she says. Having watched the work of CRI in Walla Walla, an early adopter of the trauma-informed movement, Jane believes that one of the most important strategies for communities is to be as cross-sector as possible, to include everybody’s voice.
Indeed, CRI uses a "cross-sector pollination" approach, and has had increasingly positive feedback the more their language emphasizes community. CRI even changed its name- from Children's Resilience Initiative to Community Resilience Initiative- to reflect this core principle; as one work force representative said, "At first, we thought the [work of] Children's Resilience Initiative didn't apply to us. It wasn't until the name change that we really understood the overarching goal of creating a community-wide response to ACEs through Resilience, and our role in that."
If there are sectors in a community whose leaders don’t see how ACEs science affects their work, ACEs Connection can provide contacts with people in the same field but who live in other cities or states. "There are sectors in a community that say, ‘We don’t see why we should be involved or why it relates to us.’” Jane says. “We then ask if they would like to talk with [e.g.] a deputy police chief, because they’ve been doing this for a year and they can see the results.” These connections facilitate the conversation of why ACEs information applies to everyone, how it can help all sectors achieve their goals and ultimately improve their job performance and experience. And this helps a community move more quickly to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building practices.
“We do our best to stay ahead of the curve and be aware of what communities want,” Jane expresses. “We really want to serve our communities and help the ACEs movement grow.”
Jane Stevens will be presenting at the 2018 Beyond Paper Tigers Trauma-Informed Conference, June 27th & 28th in Pasco WA. Purchase Tickets and Register for the 2018 Beyond Paper Tigers Conference here
To view an example of the Community Tracker, visit: https://acesconnection.shinyapps.io/sonoma/
To access Growing Resilient Communities 2.0, visit: https://www.pacesconnection.com/...ient-communities-2-0