Childhood Trauma

By Sarah Heimer, Executive Director

Reading the latest research on childhood trauma, and the complex issues an at-risk youth faces today can be overwhelming. Childhood trauma affects the health, education and social-emotional wellbeing of a child.

Locally, 35% of kids in our program fit into the category of “experiencing childhood trauma”.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is teaming up with Changing Minds Campaign to promote everyday gestures that heal the effects of childhood trauma.  While these gestures stimulate brain activity, strengthen relationships and ultimately help heal; they are also practical for everyday use!

Research suggests that over the course of a year, nearly 60 percent of the children in the United States will either experience or witness violence, crime, or abuse in their homes, schools, or communities. Exposure to violence leaves physical and emotional scars that can last a lifetime. Youth who have been exposed to violence are more likely later in life to abuse drugs and alcohol, suffer from depression and other disorders, have difficulty in school, and engage in criminal behavior. Too often, the violence that cmnchildren experience and witness is regarded as little more than the price of growing up.

Great things can happen when society understands the need for change. Changing Minds is about transforming public attitudes about children’s exposure to violence and the corrosive effects of trauma on healthy brain development. New and evolving brain science reveals that a child’s positive and negative experiences can literally shape, and reshape, the brain. One of the most significant predictors of a child’s resiliency in the face of trauma is consistent interaction with a caring and supportive adult.

With proper support and the presence of a consistent, caring adult, a child can overcome the negative impact of trauma. With a new understanding of violence and its effects on young minds, together we can offer a brighter, more hopeful future to our children {}.

Mentorship can be one of the healing steps for a child who has experienced or witnessed violence. Take a moment to watch Chad’s story, and see the impact mentorship has had on his life.


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