Become involved in Children's Resilience Initiative

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Something exciting has been happening in the Walla Walla Valley -- something unique and vital for children and parents, and we want to share it!

Four years ago, we became aware of information that could transform how we parents, how we think about each other, and how we react to our own past as well as our future -- both as individuals and as a community.

This information was about Adverse Childhood Experiences -- ACEs -- and the impact these negative experiences, including various types of family dysfunction and child maltreatment, can have on us as children and later on as adults. It's important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that ACEs are the chronic health epidemic of our time.

However, what Mark Brown and I -- co-facilitators of the local Children's Resilience Initiative (CRI) Team -- are talking about is ultimately not a negative story. In fact, we have a very positive story to tell -- the story of the CRI Team, a local effort involving many partners working together as an entire community to bring awareness of ACEs and build resilience. Our goal has been to increase community awareness of ACEs and the power of resilience to heal and help children thrive.

For the past three years, the CRI Team has been meeting monthly, building strategies for our community and integrating this awareness into the daily practice of many local organizations and individuals. In writing this letter, we would like to honor the extraordinary level of commitment on the part of team members -- they have given a great gift to our Valley and to the children who live here.

The team included members of our community too numerous to mention. In different ways they have helped to spread the vital word about ACEs and the profound hope which resides in resilience.

All of what has been achieved would not have been possible without the generous funding provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Blue Mountain Community Foundation First Fruits Fund, United Way of Walla Walla and the Donald and Virginia Sherwood Trust.

As we near the end of our Gates Foundation three-year grant, we can see what has been accomplished, and we can also see what remains to be done. This is not an ending but instead, it is a time when new doors are opening and new momentum is being created.

We invite the community to become involved and spread the word!

Teri Barila

Walla Walla

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