Children's Forum to focus on resilience

A brain researcher will delve into the topic in a talk Tuesday.

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Dr. John Medina will serve as the keynote speaker for the sixth annual Children's Forum on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Medina, a brain research scientist affiliated with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University, is able to take complex information and convey it in simple English. He will explain the brain's role in the workplace, classroom and family life.

The theme of this year's forum is resilience. Have you ever wondered how divorce affects a child's development? Or how witnessing a parent's substance use or domestic violence changes a child's brain? Or how experiencing verbal or physical abuse alters the path of development and ultimately job readiness and work force productivity? And what makes some children able to cope with these challenges, while others cannot?

The answer is resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope with challenging or dangerous circumstances. It can be taught and is something the community can foster in its children.

Medina, who has written two books: "Brain Rules" and "Brains Rules for Baby," will speak at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at St. Patrick's Blanchet Hall. There will be a free dinner. Child care and Spanish translation will be provided.

Also on Tuesday, Medina will give a presentation at 7:30 p.m. in Maxey Auditorium at Whitman College. On Wednesday, he will speak from 8:30 a.m. to noon in Cordiner Hall at Whitman.

The Children's Forum hosted its first community event in 1998 with the intention of providing a snapshot of the status of the Valley's children and families. The goal was to talk about what was happening in the local community to help youths buffer the risks faced daily that can lead to negative outcomes.

What are we doing well? What could we do better? Where are the gaps? These key questions created the "Call to Action" for the forum. Themes have ranged from early childhood development, the roots of violence, bullying, fathering and poverty.

All the events are free and open to the public.

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