Notes from Zoom Meeting of April 29th
Our Zoom visitors were Past District Governor Dave Underhill and Director of the Pine Tree Institute in Eliot, Larry McCullough.
As you may recall, some weeks back we heard about the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) program that has been gaining momentum thanks to dedicated people concerned about the long-term effects on society of childhood traumatic experiences.  The project focuses on understanding the impact of ACEs, raising awareness of this issue to improve community understanding of it, and eventually this leading to a more resilient community.  Dr. Rob Anda and Laura Porter did early work that created a strategy to take this to the whole community so that instead of encountering an adult with problems and asking, "What's wrong with you?" we ask instead "What happened to you?"  The initiative is now moving across Rockingham, Strafford and York Counties.  The more people understand this the more it becomes ingrained in our communities.  Among other things, with positive encounters with others, childhood health improves.  Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between drug and substance abuse and ACEs.  Suicide and even heart disease are more prevalent for people who have had ACEs.  However, when you introduce positive experiences to the child, which in its simplest form can be just having 2 or more people showing an interest in that child's life, then the likelihood of these types of problems in the future can be greatly diminished.   Both Larry and Dave explained that building community improves mental health, so the goal of the ACEs program is to reduce adversity and increase positive experiences.  For now, 30 master trainers have been trained in this area.  They are getting the ball rolling with trainers, learning more, and helping fund the ongoing initiative.  Dave Underhill reported that he is leading a $30K/year Rotary pledge to cover the cost of training and has gone to clubs across the district to see if they wished to help.  At this point, they only need to raise $7250 more to reach their funding goal.   Dave is appealing to all of the clubs to engage in this worthwhile endeavor.  He reminded us that 2/3 of kids experience more than one ACE.  Next, they will also identify community champions to receive a deeper level of training (this is a 3-year initiative).  It all comes down to developing healthy relationships.  And Rotarians are the type of people who can be community champions.
After the presentation, President Deb said that we would discuss at our May board meeting how we wish to help.