Twenty-two and Counting...

It’s been more than a year since we have posted any news on our blog. To say we have been busy, would be an understatement. This time has been hectically full of programs and, I’m super pleased to say, with facilitator training! We are up to twenty-two implementations of the program and another four are in progress right now. There are fifteen facilitators in training in South Africa, six in Canada, one in Haiti, two in Turkey and three right here locally in the San Francisco Bay Area. South Africa is leading the way and blazing a trail. It’s impressive!

There’s a lot to juggle! The logistics of program implementation and facilitator training, new facilitators to nurture along (they are our VIPs), projects to manage from the other side of the globe, the reality of the necessity to raise funds, the data collection that is the research aspect of the work we are doing, and more. All of these things are essential to our ongoing success.

With all this activity, more than our resources can actually manage, we have turned our attention to organizational establishment. Sustainability is now our watchword! And so we are focusing on increasing resources; that means money and people. This is a dynamic time full of challenges and learning and we are leaning in and taking it on!

So, just a brief check in here, but keep an eye out for two upcoming blog posts: one about the data collection and the impressive results we are seeing and the other about our growth and the fabulous lessons in building a sustainable organization.

Thoughts On "The ACEs Movement"

A few evenings ago I went to a Commonwealth Club Event.  It was Nadine Burke-Harris, M.D. in conversation with Katie Albright on the topic: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. It's worth a listen if you can set aside an hour of your time. Dr. Burke's TEDtalk is a must-watch and will surely be worth the 16 minutes. It's called How Childhood Trauma Effects Health Across a Lifetime.

Nadine, and I hope she doesn't mind if I refer to her as Nadine, was particularly full of vibrant energy and hopeful passion on Tuesday evening.  One cannot help but be swept up in her positive energy and hear her wonderfully positive message. "This is treatable! This is beatable!" As she repeated this week, "When we know better, we do better". She alone, with her remarkable energy and articulate message has breathed life into public awareness of the ACEs Study.  I may be wrong but I think it's pretty safe to say the she IS the ACEs Movement.

For at least the last twelve years, since I found out about the ACEs Study, wherever I have gone and had a chance to present, I have asked "Who here has heard of ACEs or the ACEs Study?" I've always been appalled by how few put up their hands. But that number is increasing, thanks to those who are spreading the word.  The ACE Study is an essential part of being trauma informed. If you are not, please find out as much as you can and, won't you please, join the movement!

Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope

The screening of the Resilience documentary was our first official fundraiser! It was looking more like a great fund spender there for a while but the inflow pulled ahead of the outflow and we came away with a few dollars for local programs.  We've got a raffle running until the end of May so please contact us and we'll be happy to sell you a $10 raffle ticket... or more, if you want.  The Sail on San Francisco is valued at $800 and, of course, if you win, you can bring some friends with you. Raffle tickets can also be purchased at the Think Round art gallery on Bush Street and from Artseed in the Presidio. 

The event, which was attended by about 70 people, served three purposes and we feel it was a success on all fronts.  We wanted to contribute to public awareness of ACEs, we wanted to promote the work we are doing and, at the same time, raise some much needed program funds.  

And so we were please to provide the opportunity for people to see this vital documentary. We would sure like it to be much more broadly available to the general public. There is a dire need for greater awareness of the impact of childhood adversity.

We did a very brief presentation of the CSDP and as a result we made some good connections.

Thank you for attending.  Please spread the word about the ACE Movement and about the work that we are doing.

Indeed it is... a busy year!

Here it is, over six months since the last news post and we've finally found some time to post some news!

I'm not sure where to begin!

Okay, so... there were the five weeks in Haiti! That program is ongoing.  We are working with CapraCare in the rural community of Fonfrede, just north of Les Cayes.  The group of volunteers, who will bring the program to the community they serve, call their program: Ak Espwa n'ap Chanje Visaj Kominote a.  That means With Hope We Will Change the Face of Our Community in Haitian Creole. The 10 hard-working volunteers hung in there as we communicated through interpreters in French, English, and Creole. We all learned so much! The work goes on and we are on a path to train facilitators so that the NGO has the program and can sustain the work... teaching the individuals these life changing skills.

And then there was South Africa!  Nine weeks there! Hectic, exhausting, and fabulously gratifying! We somehow managed to start four programs in that time. One of them is ongoing and the others are complete. There was The Great Foundation of Hope, The Life Changers, The Peace Innovators, and We Are Not Alone! A total of 34 people experienced the program and lives were changed. We are in the process of planning the next two to five years expanding the program in the township with our partner organization there, BIue O Community Development.

And now there is Oklahoma City!  Whew!  It's been four weeks so far and exciting things are happening. The pilot with a group of middle and high school counselors who call their program the Pioneers for Healing has led to negotiations to fully introduce the program to the students across the district. We are rolling up our sleeves and preparing for an amazing long-term commitment.

And so, we have the prospect of a model rural community, a model township, and a model school district. Our work is cut out for us! We are building the team.  And the work goes on at home base in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The "open enrollment" program there has been ongoing. What a wonderful committed group they are. They call themselves The Resilients! 

Watch this space! More news coming!

Its Going to Be a Busy Year!

It's been a busy time since out last news update. In fact, 2016 was an extremely productive year. Much was progress was made.  Lives were changed, lessons were learned, team members were added, the program was improved, connections were made, possibilities were realized, more were explored, and new ones envisioned.  And the year ended with a huge accomplishment for the future of the program.  We filed for non-profit status!  And so, the Ardicare Foundation has been established and the way has been paved to bring the CSDP to communities everywhere.  And so, 2017 is shaping up to be a busy year.

We started the year with the fifth implementation of the program at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. And what a great group!  They call themselves the Resilient Hearts and they've started their work together.

In less than a week, Diana will be headed to Haiti where the staff and volunteers of CapraCare in Fonfrede (down in the south just north of Les Cayes) will be participating in the program. While doing the program themselves, they will be learning how it is done. They are the good folks who will be bringing the CSDP to the community they serve.  We have the materials all translated into French and Haitian Creole so... there ain't no stoppin' us now! :))

After Haiti, there are at least six more programs that will be implemented in the US and in South Africa this year.  Whew! We have our work cut out for us!  We are building a great team. Have you seen the profiles?  Take a look on the Who We Are page.

Oh, and great news! Diana was accepted to present the program at the Pathways to Resilience Conference being held in Cape Town, South Africa in June.

More great news! The Department of Social Services of the Western Cape Province government in South Africa agreed to pilot the program in a community in Cape Town.  They have partnered us with The Trauma Centre there and the funding request has been submitted.

Watch this space for more good news and keep an eye out for the upcoming fundraising campaigns.  Funds are going to be needed to bring the program to communities in need. We don't need a lot. So, if you have it in your heart to help and you have a few bucks to spare, please consider making a donation today.  Take this opportunity to put your money to good work in the world and get a tax deduction while you're at it. You'll be glad you did. We'll be deeply grateful.

More soon! 

Program for Afghan Women in Vancouver

The current implementation of the CSDP in Vancouver, Canada, is with a group of twelve ladies from Afghanistan. This has been organized by our partner organization, Partnership Afghanistan Canada (PAC). We are half way through the Participant Workshop.  What a beautiful community of wise women this is! They are learning lots and loving it and also teaching me a thing or two. We are using our recently translated Dari materials and crossing the language barrier as best we can. The conversation about what to call their program is not quite over but it will be something like "Window to Hope through Empathy for Afghan Women" and they want somehow to include the words self-discovery and self-realization. 

Oklahoma is not O.K./Soul Retrieval Journey 2016

Think Round Fine Arts is proud to present Oklahoma is not O.K./Soul Retrieval Journey 2016 ...Recalling ACEs* — Seeking Silver Linings: Books II-VII by fine artist Heidi Hardin. Hardin has created sixteen new paintings and six books that are set in a dramatic sound environment featuring the original music of her long term collaborator, Jonathan Sacks.

The exhibition examines six ACEs, adverse childhood experiences, that her two brothers, Chris and Mark, and she endured in 1964, when they were ten, eleven and thirteen years old, while under the protection and care of Hardin’s mother and step-father. She presents six stories that she wrote in 2004 while taking a memoir class for survivors of trauma conducted by Alan Kaufman. These stories were left untouched and unread, and have remained unedited from the day that they were written. Their subject matter presents a wide range of family trauma—from domestic violence and criminal child endangerment; hence the difficulty in returning to them…until now. Hardin’s intent is to demonstrate that life’s fullest potential can be reached by those who have faced even the most extreme environmental conditions even from the youngest age.

Hardin sought to remember her traumatic past, and now has remembered. Now, she seeks the silver linings born of these experiences—and there are many, not the least of which is Ms. Hardin’s birth vision, the completion of The Human Family Tree/A Walk Through Paradise… and the creation of The Center for the Human Family. For this reason, also on display in the studio gallery, will be scores of portraits of subject families who are participants in her Human Family Tree Project. These individuals, as well as friends in recovery, represent her broader family, the human family. Together they have given Hardin the courage to finally speak the truth for herself. For all this and her past experiences now in perspective, she is most grateful.

Heidi will be present to welcome visitors throughout the exhibition that will run through December 30th. Gallery hours are 8-noon Fridays and Saturdays, and by appointment.