Little Village Neighborhood Network Partners Work to Address Trauma

On Wednesday, January 11, nearly 50 leaders from the Marshall Square Resource Network gathered at Taller de José for an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Trauma Informed Training and community updates to kick off the new year. The meeting, which was conducted in both English and Spanish, was attended by partners from the Little Village Neighborhood Network, including Latinos Progresando, Esperanza Health Centers, OPEN Center for the Arts, Sarah’s Inn, the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Lincoln Park Zoo and many others.

The Marshall Square Resource Network (MSRN) is a collective of community partners from the east side of Chicago’s Little Village community, from a segment known as Marshall Square. The group meets monthly to “build the capacity of member agencies, create integrated solutions and organize for community change.” The meetings provide any opportunity to learn from the various expertise of the members, as well as guest presenters, to develop skills and share resources and best practices. United Way acts as a partner and member of the collaborative, providing guidance, connections and resources.

The ACEs training was led by Elena Quintana, PhD, from the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative. The Collaborative is built on the findings of a 1995 study conducted by Drs. Robert Anda and Vincet Felitti, in collaboration with the Center for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente, which, “first uncovered the connection between ACEs—experiences of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction before the age of 18—on adults’ health outcomes, finding that high ACE exposure can reduce a person’s lifespan by almost 20 years.” Dr. Quintana discussed the ways experiencing several ACEs impact not only behavior, but also normal brain development, and talked about strategies for dealing with adolescents who are struggling. She urged community leaders to communicate with compassion, patience and and care, and to treat these children as precious, giving them attention, modeling good behavior and creating an environment in which they feel safe. The goal of the training is for mentors and organizations who interact with children to consider the implications of ACEs when making decisions about their educations, emotional and physical health, discipline and overall well being.

After a group discussion on the presentation, the 12th Ward Alderman’s Office presented updates about the work they’re doing to repair lights, fix roads and help community members in Little Village. Jo Salazar, a practice specialist from CASEL, also presented a film intended for parents in the community, and around the country, aimed at teaching them about the importance of social and emotional learning. The meeting closed with updates from the Marshall Square Resource Network, led by Anna Mayer, the Executive Director of Taller de José, and announcements from several participating organizations.

As part of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s Neighborhood Network Initiative, partners in Little Village are working to set common community goals and identify strategies and develop work plans and measurements.

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