We envision a community … where the sounds of gunshots have been replaced by the sounds of … laughter and learning.
The trauma of exposure to violence haunts individuals long after the physical evidence of the event has faded, according to the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Study, an ongoing collaborative research project between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. Researchers from these institutions have found that traumatic experiences, such as childhood exposure to violence, are strongly correlated to being diagnosed in adulthood with health issues.
“In recent years, some Cal Wellness grantees have expanded their focus to include measuring risk factors for violence, while other grantees provide trauma-informed services to address an imbalance between high levels of crime and few onramps to employment,” said Cal Wellness Program Director Julio Marcial, who manages grantmaking related to violence prevention. “This is an evidence-based tool that measures and helps address the impact of violence and resulting trauma on individuals and their communities.”
Kanwarpal Dhaliwal of the RYSE Center, a Cal Wellness grantee that provides a wide range of programs for youth, shared how delivering trauma-informed care serves young people impacted by interpersonal and community violence in Richmond.
“The trauma-informed lens, from the RYSE vantage point, understands that violence and trauma are structural and historical, personal and collective,” she said. “The dominant frame of violence prevention describes young people in terms of being problems or risks that have to be fixed or contained. We see it differently. When young people enter RYSE, they are already perfect. We see them as full of possibility.”