Children Rising Above Childhood Trauma

By Jim Wambach | July 11th,2019

Perspectives article by Jim Wambach, Executive Director

“Safety and security don’t just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear.” — Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa

Toxic stress in children

Earlier this year, Governor Newsom named Dr. Nadine Burke Harris as the state’s first-ever surgeon general. Dr. Burke Harris, a pediatrician who specializes in the impacts of trauma and toxic stress on the health of children, found that if her young patients “had four or more adverse childhood experiences, they were 32 times more likely to have learning and behavioral issues.” She further states: “Oftentimes the symptoms look very much like ADHD, but it can also present as simply being withdrawn — the symptoms are really varied and it depends on the individual and their experiences.”

Every week in our reading and math clinics, we see the effects of trauma on a precious 7- or 8-year-old child’s willingness and ability to learn.

“It is crystal clear that relationships are the counterpoint to traumatic stress in childhood.” Dr. Bruce Perry, senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas

How do children rise above these difficult challenges?
Tutor and student sharing a laugh.

Caring adults do more than help struggling students academically. They provide the personal love and attention vulnerable children need to rise above.

“It is crystal clear that relationships are the counterpoint to traumatic stress in childhood,” writes Dr. Bruce Perry, senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas. This is very good news! We know one caring adult can change a life! At Faith Network, our programs are all designed to foster important trusting relationships between a child and a caring adult. Each of our tutors is matched with a struggling child for the entire academic year and “shows up” week after week for that child. Our tutors know it is as much about caring and “being there” as it is about teaching math fluency or developing literacy skills.

Demonstrating to children week after week that they truly matter inspires children to get excited about learning. Not only can children experience the joy and fun of building skills, but they also gain needed confidence to be successful long-term learners as they progress in school.

We need YOU to get involved!

Please make a financial gift so we can provide more children with the personal love and attention they need to overcome the challenges of poverty, violence and educational inequity. Just as importantly, please join our wonderful team of volunteer tutors as we show up for each child each week.

YES, I CAN help a vulnerable child rise above the impact of trauma! Let’s talk!


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