Grant to aid childhood trauma program


Seth Saeugling speaks during a presentation on Adverse Childhood Experiences.


From Staff Reports

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust recently awarded a $340,921 grant to Area L Area Health Education Center to continue its work to raise awareness of and provide education about Adverse Childhood Experiences over the next two years.

The grant will fund the Trauma-Informed, Resilience-Focused project, which aims to increase knowledge and awareness of trauma — how it impacts the brain and body, how it manifests in different settings — and to introduce strategies for coping, healing and building resilience.

“We are very appreciative of the funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to continue this important work,” said Dr. Debby Futrell, president and CEO of Area L AHEC.

Research over the past 20 years has shown ACEs to be the root cause of many pervasive public health challenges. It is now widely recognized that early trauma is related to disease and poor health throughout a person’s lifetime. 

For the past year, Area L AHEC has worked at the grassroots level with faith-based community members, first responders and health care professionals to create more trauma-informed communities and to facilitate healing through access to healthy relationships and interventions.

The Trauma-Informed, Resilience-Focused program will deploy evidence-informed Reconnect for Resilience training to health professionals and the staff of schools, departments of Social Services and child welfare. The work will focus on supporting people and institutions in finding alternatives to punishing and isolating trauma victims for their symptoms and coping behaviors.

Through a series of targeted focus groups and design activities, Area L AHEC will engage with people in non-traditional settings to translate and adapt the content covered in Reconnect for Resilience to meet the unique needs of these groups. The goal is to create a set of tools and materials that people can use to foster conversations with peers about trauma, resilience and healing.

“To wrestle with a foe and not know anything concerning it only frustrates the one who is engaged in the struggle,” said the Rev. William “Kenny” M. Parker, minority male mentor coach at Edgecombe Community College. “The victims we have in our communities are at a disadvantage in not knowing why and how to manage that which they are not responsible for.

“ACEs awareness and resiliency training is the eye opener in the quest to help stop this mayhem in our community. ACEs contribute to the dismal plight of many families in our region that is destructive and has to be addressed.”