April is child abuse prevention month. Some may not realize that 24,093 child abuse reports were acted on in six months during 2020. (www.azcourts.gov/casa/Child-Welfare/Child-Welfare-Stats) . With such a large number, we may ask, “What can one person do?”
Here are a few suggestions:
- Train your brain.
Take at least a few minutes each day to be aware of your thoughts’ pace, take note of your emotions, and give awareness to your sensations. Use this practice to increase your awareness. Addressing your needs comes later. Take regular mindfulness breaks to be and let thoughts float by like clouds. In our hurried society, pausing from “doing” may seem insignificant. However, over time you will reap the benefits and realize how impactful mindful breaks can be. Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth has a monthly mindfulness opportunity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to be added to the mindfulness listserve.
- Fill your toolbox.
Recognize how trauma response may present itself in ourselves and others. We may personally and professionally know adults, youth, and children who are people-pleasers, workaholics, uncooperative, aggressive, or engage in risky behaviors, seclude themselves, or slow to make positive changes. Many of these behaviors may have their roots in toxic stress or trauma.
Our focus needs to be on N.E.A.R informed prevention (neuroscience, epigenetics, A.C.E.s, and Resiliency). Simply put, neuroscience has proven stress and trauma impact brain development. However, the study of epigenetics has confirmed both trauma and resiliency carry through genes. Therefore, epigenetics gives us all hope that we can collectively build resiliency in ourselves and our community! Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth has hour-long, on-demand webinars available on their website www.coconinokids.org/prevention to ensure we all have the language and tools we need to support N.E.A.R-informed communities!
- Build Protective Factors for yourself, your community group, or organization
Strengthening Families™ is a research-informed approach to increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Knowledge of the Protective Factors Framework can support families, schools, faith institutions, organizations, and communities in building five critical protective factors: resiliency, connection, concrete support, knowledge of child development, and social-emotional competence of children, in their sphere of influence. Each protective factor demonstrates “small but significant” changes. By increasing our awareness and utilizing protective factors, collectively, we can make a massive difference in the lives of many! Email email@example.com to schedule a Protective Factors training.
- Engage your sphere of influence!
Whether through group experiences, webinars, virtual training, or simply your personal and professional social media pages, spread the word about mindfulness, resiliency, and protective factors! Each of us has the power to help individuals and organizations get the connections and tools they need to thrive rather than merely survive!