Submitted by Junior League of Olympia
Thurston County is one of three counties statewide with the highest rates of early childhood trauma, and reported cases of abuse here are skyrocketing. Consider that in the first half of 2011, the number of abused children equaled the total for all of 2010.
“There is no better time for a community-wide conversation about doing something new and innovative to break this cycle,” said Krista O’Byrne, president of the Junior League of Olympia.
“We have worked alongside community partners for over 25 years on this issue, and yet we’ve seen the rates of abuse go up,” she continued. “Everyone needs to realize these are not just statistics – these are our children living in horrific circumstances.
The Junior League is hosting the Resilient Children, Resilient Communities town hall from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 26 at the Olympia Center. Every member of the public is welcome. The event features two experts and a question-and-answer session.
Laura Porter is director of Adverse Childhood Experience Partnerships for the state Department of Social and Health Services. She will address the effect these childhood traumas have on community well-being as well as the idea of building resilience to counteract their impact.
Jeff Cohen, director at FSG, will speak about using collective impact strategies to take a new, comprehensive approach to cutting rates of childhood trauma in our community.
At the end of the forum, attendees will be handed a pinwheel to carry to Arts Walk. This happy symbol is a physical reminder of the role we all play in the healthy development of children and families.
An invitation-only event Saturday will bring together community leaders and service organizations to develop a concrete plan using collective impact strategies.