Preventing Child Abuse in Thurston County Focus of May 3 Summit

Submitted by The Junior League of Olympia

More than one in five Thurston County high school students report having been physically abused.  For low-income teens, that percentage approaches 48 percent. And two of every five children in the county are either low income or living in poverty.

These are just some of the startling statistics reported by Thurston Council for Children and Youth as part of the county’s Thurston Thrives initiative to improve community health. In many of the measures, Thurston-area youth fare worse than the statewide average.

But these problems can be prevented by building more social connections around children, families and neighbors and by helping with counseling, support, and treatment in times of need.

On Saturday, May 3, the Junior League of Olympia will host a free event to advance the conversations about preventing “adverse childhood experiences” – or ACEs – that are strongly correlated to behavior, employment and health problems later in life.

The Resilient Children, Resilient Communities summit runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Educational Service District 113 Capital Event Center in Tumwater (6005 Tyee Drive SW). Attendance is free and includes breakfast and lunch.

“Since our first summit last April, the Thurston Council for Children and Youth has developed a strategy to increase resiliency factors,” said Kim Schmanke, president of the Junior League of Olympia. “We are pleased to support this work by hosting another crucial conversation to lay the foundation for the next 12 months of progress. Our children and community deserve nothing less.”

Summit participants will find out why resiliency – the ability to bounce back from adversity and positively meet the challenges of life – is so important for our kids.

  • Learn how children’s early experiences form the foundation for their developing brains.
  • Participate in discussions about creating environments where children can reach their full potential.
  • Interact with others about ways to empower kids and families to overcome challenges and build a bright future.

The summit is geared to anyone who works with or takes care of children.

ACEs are traumatic events that happen to children, such as abuse, neglect, or family problems like domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse, incarceration or divorce.

Research shows that resilience helps lessen the burden of ACEs and empowers children and families to build a bright future. Resilience helps develop family strengths, reduces the likelihood of abuse and neglect, and is proven to reduce ACEs in the next generation.

More information is on the Junior League of Olympia’s website under the Community Summit tab (www.jlolympia.org) and on the organization’s Facebook page.

 

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