The YMCA of Greater Louisville’s partnership with the Bounce Coalition aims to train staff in trauma-informed care.
As prime out-of-school time and early childcare providers, community centers have the opportunity to be at the forefront of incorporating trauma-informed care in the health and recreation arena, especially for children.
One organization that has taken the step to lead in trauma-informed care is the YMCA of Greater Louisville. In a quarterly survey of the Community Rec advisory board, Steve Tarver, the president and CEO of the Louisville Y, addressed many topics that are top of mind for him as an operator right now. One especially is the need to incorporate trauma-informed care as child-facing organizations. He shared the Y’s partnership with the Bounce Coalition has helped his staff address this very need in the Louisville community.
The Bounce Coalition builds the resiliency of children, adults and families by improving knowledge about the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) — potentially traumatic events — and the skills to help people bounce back from adversity.
Through its partnership with Bounce, the Louisville Y addressed organizational needs and participated in a number of professional development trainings including practice strategies and role playing. These trainings were led by Joseph Bargione, a member of the executive committee of Bounce, and a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist.
“When we go into a community, we tell them trauma impacts kids 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said Bargione. “We don’t just want to work with one segment of that community. Here in Louisville, we worked with the school system, the YMCA and other after-school hour providers because we believe if we’re all using the same language and practices then the kids benefit.”
Bargione further described the mission behind Bounce is to provide resources and trainings, but ultimately the goal is to make the organization self-sustainable in being trauma-informed. This is exactly how Bounce partnered with the Louisville Y.
“With the Y, we did two foundational trainings on ACEs and building resiliency in kids,” described Bargione. “Then we did specialized trainings for the staff around de-escalation through the lens of being trauma-informed. What I also love about what we did with the Y was parent trainings. Having out of school time providers, parents and educators all on the same page will give kids a better outcome.”
To emphasize the necessity of trauma-informed care in child-facing organizations, Bargione added about 66% of the population in the U.S. has at least one ACE in their life. While this is a sobering statistic, he shared each person in the community recreation industry has the opportunity to help.
“What we always tell people who are getting into the child service arena is you may not make a million dollars, but I can tell you there’ll be nothing more valuable than developing relationships with the kids,” said Bargione “That is the No. 1 protective factor for kids against trauma and ACE. Regardless of your role in the organization, if you have a good understanding of what ACEs are and you know what your role is, you could be that positive adult and change the trajectory of that young person’s life just by having a positive relationship with them. For most of us, that goes to our core of wanting to help others.”
Joseph Bargione shared the four Rs of trauma-informed care:
- Realize: A widespread understanding of the impact of trauma on kids.
- Recognize: Know the signs and symptoms of somebody who is exposed to trauma.
- Respond: In the practices you put in place for your employees by providing professional development and in your policies.
- Resist Re-traumatization: Through practices and behaviors as providers, we don’t want to re-traumatize.