Zoom Meeting of March 18th
As promised, Cate Rafferty was our guest speaker and she provided an eye-opening presentation about the Pinetree Institute's ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) program.  Cate has been a member of the Dover Rotary Club for about 10 years.  She is a trainer, facilitator, executive in human resources and also designs training sessions.  She has been an operations manager and is a therapist as well.  Currently, she is a passionate spokesperson for the ACEs program at the Pinetree Institute in Eliot.  The purpose of this program is to advance the well-being of people in communities, especially with regard to trauma.  As a Rotarian and caring human being, Cate is constantly asking herself, "How can I make a difference?"  She embraces the motto that Rotarians are people of action and that is why she particularly supports the ACEs initiatives.  
By understanding that people with problems have often had adverse childhood experiences, people can turn away from asking the insensitive question of "What's wrong with you?" to asking "What happened to you?"  With this framework, people can engage with one another with compassion instead of judgment.  A two-year study that focused on abuse and obesity followed 17000 participants to see if there was any connection.  These were mainly white middle-aged people.  The results revealed that participants had 10 common ACEs, which included abuse, divorce, mental illness, battered mothers, criminal behavior, etc., and under these condition, people experienced adult chronic diseases and unhealthy behaviors.  Two-thirds of those who exhibited these traits had had one or more ACEs, and the more ACEs in their lives, the more problems they had as adults.  After ACEs, problems begin with fight or flight behaviors and adult functioning styles and people processing issues later in life, which leads to a lifetime of problems.  Encouraging news is that one or two solid adults in the child's life can actually help negate the negative influences that can spoil a person's future.  The goal of the ACEs program is that with the knowledge that if we can predict it we can prevent it, we can harness caring adults, such as Rotarians, who can provide positive childhood experiences to counteract or mitigate the adverse effects of ACEs in the home or elsewhere.  The result is people who are resilient in the face of difficulties.  The best ways to alleviate the ill effects of ACEs are 1) get children to talk about their feelings at home, 2) give children a safe place where they feel protected by adults, 3) have 2 or more non-parent adults who care about the child, 4) make sure children make friends, 5) ensure their high school provides them with a sense of belonging, 6) get children involved in community traditions.  For more information, Cate referred us to the Dover Mental Health Alliance with which she is involved.
Next Thursday's presentation will be about the Center for Wildlife, especially interesting for our animal-loving members.