Trauma is rampant in our society. Trauma experiences can have lasting effects in our lives. Understanding the impact of trauma is key to supporting young people as they transition into adulthood. Trauma is often misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and called things other than what it is, such as depression, social phobia, generalized anxiety, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, substance abuse, "having a bad day," or "going crazy." Youth development theory and practice has been around for decades. It purports a strengths-based approach to working with young people rooted in taking into account young people's cognitive, emotional, social, moral, and physical development to best support their healthy transition to adulthood. Superimposing traditional Youth Development theory and practice with a trauma framework is imperative when providing support to young people living in multiply stressed, disenfranchised communities that are impacted by trauma.
At IC, I take a 4-pronged approach in my trauma framework that is grounded in social justice. This approach incorporates: 1) staff (frontline through executive and board leadership) working with young people in community-based, school-based, or faith-based programs; 2) young people and their caregiver contexts; 3) the communities young people live in; and 4) funders who are financially supporting programs for young people. Trauma impacts ALL aspects of programming: outreach, facilities and equipment, program planning and curricula development, program policies and procedures, staffing, board members, fundraising. Yet, trauma is rarely talked about beyond the issues impacting frontline staff.
IC supports programs working with young people in multiple ways including: 1) training staff in community-based programs on an expanded framework on trauma; trauma's common expressions/symptoms within two frameworks; trauma's impact on brain development; and understanding trauma's impact on young people, their caregiver contexts, and their communities; 2) facilitating trauma process groups for staff to address primary and secondary trauma; 3) supporting staff efforts to institutionalize self- and organizational-care practices to reduce secondary trauma; and 4) educating funders on how trauma impacts funder processes and expectations.
CALL 415.297.7265 for a free consult to discuss your needs and how IC may be able to support your work.