Friday, August 26, 2022

Learn about Impact of Trauma on Brain, Physical Development



Parents, caregivers, and other community providers are invited to learn how childhood trauma impacts physical and neurological development and discuss methods for improving health and well-being across the lifespan, Wednesday, September 7th, 2:00 p.m. at Project Self-Sufficiency.  Crisis Intervention Specialist Gabriella Rios, Somerset County Family Crisis Intervention Unit, will join Haley McCracken, Project Self-Sufficiency, for a virtual presentation, “Understanding ACEs: Building Self-Healing Communities.”  The session will address the neurological and biological effects of adversity on development and its corresponding impact on the health of the overall population.  Tips for protection, prevention, and promoting resilience within the community will also be discussed.  Interested participants are invited to call Project Self-Sufficiency, 973-940-3500, for log-in details.


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have been identified as contributors to a host of physical and neurological ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, and depression.  They are also known to lead to mental illness, neglect, sexual abuse, and a variety of dysfunctional behaviors like substance abuse and domestic violence.


“Recent discoveries in neuroscience, epigenetics, epidemiology, and resilience studies, have helped us to understand how protection, prevention, and resilience promotion can profoundly improve health,” remarked Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon.  “The tools identified in this session can positively impact public health, safety, and productivity, and reduce public and private costs now and for future generations.”


The workshop is funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and led by Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey.  The Zoom session is free and open to the public, interested participants are invited to call 973-940-3500 to receive log-in details.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Learn about Impact of Childhood Trauma, Discuss Prevention Strategies


connections matter

Project Self-Sufficiency will continue the workshop and discussion series, “Connections Matter”, designed to facilitate the conversation about issues surrounding Positive & Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACEs), with virtual sessions in English, Tuesday, August 23rd, 5:00 p.m., and in Spanish, Wednesday, August 24th, 5:00 p.m.  Both free workshops will be offered to the public via Zoom; interested participants are invited to call 973-940-3500 to register and receive log-in details.


Participants will explore the Connections Matter curriculum, a program funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and led by Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey designed to engage providers, parents, and community members in building caring connections to improve resiliency.  Discussion will focus on understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences and trauma and demonstrate how caring connections can serve as a primary buffer in the negative effects of trauma.  The training is appropriate for parents and providers raising and teaching school aged children.


During the on-going workshop series, trauma experts and guest speakers address the impact of adverse childhood experiences on social, emotional, and cognitive development, and offer tips and strategies for building resiliency.  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.


The agency aims to bring together 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.  “Our goal is to help make our community a place in which every child can thrive by providing education and training on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and assuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments,” explains Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon. 

Friday, August 5, 2022

Local Families Invited to Back-to-School Fair



newton first aid

rents and children are invited to get ready for the new school year by attending Project Self-Sufficiency’s annual Back-to-School Fair, August 17th, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.  Students can receive free backpacks stuffed with new school supplies and enjoy games and activities while parents access the community resources they need to prepare for the upcoming year.  Refreshments including pizza and popcorn will be provided.  The musical duo Exit 12, featuring Craig Evans and Brian Kathenes, will be on hand to entertain families.  The annual event is hosted by the Journey Family Success Center and Project Sussex Kids, the Sussex County Council for Young Children, at Project Self-Sufficiency. This year, the festive event is open to the public, but advance registration is required for admittance.


Throughout the afternoon, the Newton Volunteer First Aid & Rescue Squad will offer tours of their ambulance and give first aid tips to children and families.  Project Self-Sufficiency Leadership Council member Susan Knutsen and her certified therapy dog, Pasha, will be available for children.  A K-9 demonstration by the Sussex County Sheriff’s Department will round out the event. 


Representatives from local social service and health care organizations will offer interactive activities for children and additional resources to parents and caregivers.  Participating social service and health care organizations will include Caring Partners of Morris and Sussex; Center for Family Services; Center for Prevention & Counseling; DASI; DAWN Center for Independent Living; Family Partners of Morris & Sussex; Ginnie’s House; Kinship Navigator Program Care Plus NJ; Newton Medical Center; NORWESCAP Child & Family Resource Services; Ridge & Valley Conservancy; Safe Kids Northern NJ, Safe Communities; SCARC; Sussex County Community and Youth Services; Sussex County Division of Social Services; Sussex County Library System; Zufall Health Center; and others.


“The start of a new school year can be stressful, so we are pleased to welcome parents, caregivers, and children to the annual Back-to-School Fair,” commented Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director at Project Self-Sufficiency.  “We commend all of the social service agencies, businesses and volunteers who have taken the time to help families to prepare for a successful year.”