Update: The RISE website is now live. More components will be added soon, but the site is active. Check it out at RISEodc.org.
Thanks to a community coalition who has continued to meet, the Year of the Child initiative is mobilizing beyond 2016. The group who formed following the April conference will be known going forward as RISE (Resilience Initiative for Stability and Empowerment).
The goal of the For The Child conference, held April 30 at the Owensboro Convention Center, was to raise awareness, formulate a vision, and form a direct plan of action to further address the issues of poverty, abuse, neglect, and homelessness affecting the children in the Owensboro-Daviess County region. RISE is a direct result of formulating that vision into a plan of action.
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Ohio Valley Executive Director, Rosemary Conder, who has spearheaded the coalition to this point, says each organization and service provider represented in RISE is looking for ways to incorporate the strategies for trauma awareness and resilience (STAR) initiative into their various daily routines. STAR began after 9/11 as an initiative to equip community leaders to understand trauma and healing. In this sense of the word, “trauma” refers to abuse, neglect, domestic violence, moving locations, or any other life event that may emotionally affect a child’s learning and development.
“Studies and statistics show over and over again how adopting a trauma-aware attitude can create an environment for positive outcomes for an entire community,” Conder says.
Rather than being another organization with more duties, RISE hopes to encourage its group members to implement trauma-informed methods within their own organizations.
Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nick Brake has designated several OPS schools to partner with Green River Educational Cooperative (GRREC) and Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) in a program to bring more trauma awareness through trainings and meetings. So far, Foust Elementary and Gateway Academy Alternative High School have agreed to participate.
According to Megan Houston, OPS Behavioral Specialist, the trainings provide “an in-depth look at how adverse childhood experiences and trauma impacts our student’s development, their ability to learn and process information, develop healthy relationships, and ways we can best intervene to help our students be more successful.” They also provide research and information on resiliency factors and how to cultivate them in schools.
“We are very excited to have been selected for this opportunity and look forward to providing evidence supported interventions and trauma training in our pilot schools to help change the life trajectory for vulnerable students,” Houston said.
Conder expects several other schools in the county and city systems to incorporate trauma-informed information in faculty meetings and classroom interactions as well.
Kentucky Youth Advocates
RISE is also participating in a pilot program with Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) to help get STAR information out to the general public. The RISE marketing committee is using Year of the Child funds to develop a website, design a logo, and create an awareness ad campaign through social media platforms.
For more information about RISE, or to get involved with the coalition, contact Rosemary Conder at [email protected] or 270-683-2138.