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Morning PACEs Connection community!

Thank you for the great work you are doing in your lives and communities to help prevent and heal trauma; put the focus on our collective need for healing and creating community-led and culturally-appropriate positive childhood experiences (PCEs)!

I’m looking for examples of ways an individual (yourself?) or your community have been changed by the work being done to build community. I’d like to collect these examples and use them for a presentation on “PACEs initiatives at work.”

Do you feel more welcomed at meetings? Do you see greater acceptance of people of different races, ethnic groups, neighborhoods, whatever? Have you all learned skills or practiced meeting norms that make meetings seem friendlier? Are you working on projects that go across sectors, ages, geographic areas that are bringing people together? Are you in partnership with a civic group, community foundation, or family foundation that is funding your PACEs initiative?

Perhaps you have heartwarming story you can share about something good happening in your community?

If you want to post here, great! If not, please email me at  

Please share this with your initiative’s leader, or ask about it at your group’s next meeting if you cannot think of something to share.

Thank you! I look forward to hearing from you.

Carey Sipp, PACEs Connection

Director if Strategic Partnerships

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I would love to share my story. It's a small impact, but it as an example of how community members can serve and advocate for a trauma-informed society. Thank you.

As a writer of memoir, I am a bit of an outlier in the world of industry. I am dynamic outwardly, but with fine-tuned work, I am slow-paced and not always a team player. Writing utilizes my innate skills in a creative blend of both life experience and storytelling. I am observant, attuned to nuance, and I often process life with a tendency to analyze and compartmentalize. I am a product of childhood trauma. As a girl, I fine-tuned these 'skills' as a means for survival in an unsafe environment, alert to the stimuli of my surroundings, staying on-guard to notice the behavior of others.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In honor of this, to show support and/or to be a positive influence for kids, I am volunteering in the Creative Writing Class of a local high school, teaching Memoir, a genre most students or even adults readily comprehend. It is vulnerable. It is brave. It is empowering. Putting truth on the page in a safe environment (especially for trauma survivors) rewires the brain's long-time story of Danger or Resentment or Self-Loathing. Memoir is the flip-side of neglect and invisibility, allowing the individual to author their story without the influence of external viewpoints. Knowing and confessing our true stories puts Self in the driver's seat, provides a clearer perspective of circumstances, and therefore, if necessary, it reveals to the Self why to head to the nearest Exit.

I didn't know the classroom teacher before we began working on the curriculum for this unit, but I invited her to my house for our initial meeting, and we hashed through the process in about an hour. We worked very well together. If she was apprehensive, it didn't show. She welcomed a stranger into her classroom, and allowed me to take the lead.

I've strengthened the students' writing skills: teaching them to self-express while focusing on contrast, patterns, details, and most importantly, using their hearts and minds to guide their work. Their stories are funny, heartbreaking, honest, and alive. The vulnerability of some of the students is incredible. It means they trust me, and, even more, they trust me with their true stories. I'm not sure who has been rewarded more, them, or me.  

The growth of community in this process is based on the merit of trust. With the students, I gave them an alternative to keeping their stories silenced by shame or fear. Together, we cracked open a small space to inhabit to a broader and freer space of voice and truth. I gave them permission, and they gave me themselves.

*My memoir work-in-progress is about my childhood of adversity in Montana, losing my way, and eventually, finding myself on the journey from home.

You can follow my blog and my writing/life journeys at my website:

This is so great! Will you also post it as a blog post? Writing is a powerful tool in healing. A lot of us need that help right now, especially in light of the multiple shootings the last 11 days, starting with Buffalo and going through yesterday in Uvaldes. Writing gives agency, purpose, clarity, connection, self-soothing, the opportunity to find some clarity and peace. Your experience and story? Powerful and could be incredibly helpful.
Thank you for sharing it here. It will make s great blog post!

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