Project Self-Sufficiency has launched PACEs, a new initiative dedicated to raising awareness of the impact of childhood trauma with the goal of preventing adverse childhood experiences. The agency is inviting professionals, educators, parents, healthcare providers and caregivers to attend a kick-off luncheon event, Thursday, July 29th, at noon, featuring New Jersey Office of Resilience Executive Director David Ellis and child and family therapist Kris Imbrie. The presentation will be offered in-person at Project Self-Sufficiency’s Newton campus and will also be available on Zoom for those who are more comfortable attending remotely.
Adverse childhood experiences are widely recognized as falling into three distinct categories, abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. Examples of negative behavior said to result from ACEs include smoking, alcoholism, drug use, absenteeism, and lack of physical activity. These behaviors can cause a cascade of physical and mental health problems, from diabetes to cancer to suicidal thoughts. It is estimated that approximately 67% of the population has experienced at least one adverse childhood experience.
“Project Self-Sufficiency’s PACEs program is a new work group of professionals, providers, and parents who are committed to increasing awareness of the impact of childhood trauma on juvenile development, future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity,” explains Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon. “At Project Self-Sufficiency, we often encounter individuals and families who have experienced varying levels of trauma. Our goal is to make our community a place in which every child can thrive by preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and assuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments.”
Ellis is a national leader in providing trainings and facilitating conversations about the lasting impact of ACEs and generational trauma. He shares his expertise with the State of New Jersey and coordinates statewide work related to ACE’s. “Every day, as public servants, we ask people to share their needs but not their stories,” notes Ellis. “I used to talk about meeting people where they’re at. In reality, I want to meet people where they dream. We must hear their stories. It’s in that space between stories and dreams that we share our humanity, concern and care.”
Imbrie is looking forward to discussing the consequences of childhood trauma on children’s behavior and the resulting impact on families and school environments. “I want schools, teachers and parents to talk about the impact of childhood trauma on behavior. It’s important for adults to help children process what’s going on so they can avoid feeling guilty about their behavior.”
The PACEs event is free and open to the public. Those who would like to attend the event remotely are invited to call 973-940-3500 to obtain log-in details. Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street, Newton, NJ.