A growing body of research, triggered by the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, documents how childhood adversity leads to diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, and social problems, including homelessness and domestic violence, later in life. Research also confirms that the best antidote to trauma and adversity is to build resilience. Resilience is defined as achieving a successful outcome in the face of adversity. Those factors that build resilience include fostering healthy relationships and strong social connections, as well as developing individual coping strategies. These resiliency factors serve as buffers against adversity.
Despite the extensive research on the impact of childhood adversity and the power of building resilience at the individual, family and community level, there are major segments of Central Texas’ health and social services continuum where this research has not been translated into practice.
Our goal is to help foster the development of community assets that prevent adversity and build resilience at the individual, family and community level. We believe this is best done when we help create the conditions that foster mutual support and community connection.
Our primary target population for this work is low-income families with children aged 0-5. However, to make this work both sustainable and effective, some of our efforts will need to move beyond this primary focus to include work with primary care providers, schools, child-serving organizations, and community leaders.
Our approach to preventing adversity and building resiliency is multi-pronged and includes:
Kim McPherson, Senior Program Officer
“If I were granted one wish to secure the future health of our community, it would be that anyone who makes decisions that touch the lives of our kids (parents, elected official, clinicians, etc.) understands the core story of brain development. Understanding the science naturally leads to smarter, sustainable solutions that stick.”