LESSON 1:III – How we are finally making a difference
Why are we here?
More than twenty years ago the Adverse Childhood Study was published, explaining to the nation that a significant percentage of adults had endured ten adverse childhood experiences, including abuse and neglect. The Study detailed the emotional and physical costs of the experiences and made recommendations to address what some called a public health crisis.
Decades later, we have one in eight children being substantiated as maltreated by child protective services by age 18 and a quarter of the adult population reporting three or more adverse childhood experiences. While we have a child welfare system to intervene in cases of maltreatment, we have yet to create a city, county or state agency with the sole mission of preventing trauma and maltreatment.
Yes, a county may have a coalition here, or a short term funded project there focused on awareness of the problem; however, we (champions in all 3000+ counties across the US) have not invented and institutionalized the prevention of ACEs on the local or state level. We are working toward the day when every city has a “Dept. of Family and Community Resilience” that does the work of a local 100% New Mexico initiative.
You are part of the process and we are grateful you are here.
How can a small group of people make a difference?
First, as you have no doubt read many times, anthropologist Margaret Mead is famous for saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” We agree 100%.
You, as a 100% New Mexico initiative participant, are part of a grand experiment. Our process is in a state of constant improvement as we seek to provide a learning experience for you and like-minded problem solvers. We are seeking to learn from you, as you move through the course and begin implementation of a local innovations and projects shown to increase access to our ten “surviving” and “thriving” services.
Questions that guided the design of this course
- How do we ensure that our local 100% Community co-organizers and action team members have a shared understanding of the twenty key concepts guiding data-driven ACEs prevention?
- How do we ensure that our local 100% Community co-organizers and action team members have the support for the development of measurable and meaningful innovations and projects?
- How do we ensure that the initiative participants have the time and energy to be sweeping away obstacles and distractions in order to get real work done?
- How do we ensure that all action team members have access to the latest research on innovative solutions in our ten services sectors?
- How do we know if initiative participants feel supported by technical assistance, using technology to communicate long distance?
- How do we support initiative participants and their long-term work, understanding that some innovations might be done in a few months while others could take a few years?
Our process will improve because of course participants’ willingness to communicate about what works, what doesn’t and how can we strengthen the entire process of online and technology-support tele-communication to meet the needs of all initiative participants as the move from assessing challenges and gaps in services to implementing change in the form of a local innovation.