February 9, 2021
Trauma-informed Care Takes A Village
By Yesenia Maldonado, LCSW, Director of Social and Emotional Learning, Office of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Chicago

Childhood trauma is common. According to research at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), two thirds of children in the United States experience a traumatic event or circumstances by the time they turn 16. Whether they personally witness a traumatic event or are exposed to it on the news or social media, children may experience intense emotions and a heightened sense of insecurity. Trauma is an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening. It has lasting adverse effects on a person’s ability to function and their mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Children’s reactions to traumatic events depend on the severity of the event, the availability of support, and their age, personality, and previous experiences of trauma. This infographic from NCTSN provides developmental trauma responses.

At any stage of development, a major factor in recovery from a traumatic event is the presence of a supportive and caring adult in a child’s life. In my role as the Director of Social and Emotional Learning at the Office of Catholic Schools, I work with educators on implementing trauma informed SEL to establish positive relationships with all students.

Multi-Faith Veteran Initiative in Community through Community
By Walidah Bennett, Director, Multi-Faith Veterans Initiative, Egan Office for Urban Education and Community Partnerships, DePaul University

The Multi-Faith Veteran Initiative (MVI) works in partnership with Chicago communities to improve the quality of life for veterans and veteran families. More specifically, MVI seeks to strengthen the capacity of faith-based institutions to partner with behavioral health resources, community organizations, and other service providers to engage with and support the Veteran community.

While veterans, on average, successfully transition to civilian life, a significant number face challenges, which result in harm and distress. Since many veterans are reluctant to seek assistance from the Veteran’s Administration (VA), the faith community is poised to serve as a valuable resource in assisting veterans’ efforts to reconnect to their community.

The Initiative takes a broader community approach to addressing veterans who struggle with issues of Moral Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The development of veteran community spaces within local houses of worship provides a mechanism to strengthen community coordination around veteran and veteran family issues. This effort facilitates an organic collaboration with not only faith stakeholders but also among behavioral health and social service providers within the community including the local Veteran’s Administration.

Catholic Charities Offers Domestic Violence Westside Expansion Program
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago's Domestic Violence Westside Expansion Program provides free and confidential services to individuals impacted by domestic violence.

The goal of the program is to empower survivors, assist them in regaining control of their lives, and ultimately move survivors toward healing.

The program, located at Augustus Tolton Peace Center, 5645 W. Corcoran, Chicago, serves survivors of domestic violence on the westside of Chicago who are 18 years and older.

Services include:
  • Domestic violence counseling
  • Safety planning
  • Case management and advocacy
  • Mental health services, if needed
  • Domestic violence support groups
  • Life skills training groups
  • Referral and linkages to Catholic Charities programs including: Legal, Food, Health Care, Shelters, and Housing
Click here to download.
"Our second goal is to collaborate with hospitals and service organizations to increase prevention, awareness, and services for survivors of domestic violence," said Beth Klieger, clinical manager, domestic violence, Catholic Charities. The program will provide community partners with:
  • Outreach and training on dynamics of domestic violence and best practices to screen patients
  • Community education and seminars on healthy relationships

Call 312-655-7106 for intake. For more information, contact Beth Klieger.
Savvy CaregiverTM Training Program
  • Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. – noon, starting March 2 and April 13
  • Wednesdays, 7:00-9:00 p.m., starting February 17 and April 7
  • Thursdays, 2:00-4:00 p.m., starting March 4 and April 15

The Savvy CaregiverTM training program is designed for people caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease or a related memory problem. The sessions are offered at no cost via videoconference with available call-in capacity for people who do not have internet access.

Each training series offers 12 hours of training broken up into six, two-hour sessions. To get the most out of the program, participants should plan to attend all six sessions in the series for which they register because one week builds upon the information in the prior week.

To register or for more information Email Victoria.russo@cityofchicago.org or call 312-743-3528.
Self-Care Corner
Courtesy: Gift of Voice. Click below to download.
Upcoming Events

Feb. 11, noon-1:30 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the Illinois ACE's Response Collaborative and Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

An introduction to the scientific model of Brain-Body Regulation. Major topics will include the impact of childhood experience, how traumatic experience disrupts regulation, and how restoring regulation is the key to healing. This model recognizes the patient-client as the most important member of the team.

Feb. 11, 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Cancer Collaborative

LGBTQ+ communities are disproportionally affected by cancer. The executive director of the National LGBT Cancer Network will join us to share tools and strategies for improving outcomes for LGBTQ+ populations across the cancer continuum. Gain insight into the barriers, stress, and stigma that LGBTQ+ cancer patients and survivors can experience, and learn how you can better serve LGBTQ+ members of your community.

Feb. 15 and 16, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the United Church of Christ

Join Chuck Alphin, certified Kingian Non-Violence Trainer, for two teach-in sessions to explore:

  • the myths and facts of non-violence
  • types and levels of conflict
  • six principles of Kingian non-violence
  • six applications of Kingian non-violence
Click here to download.

Feb. 16, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Sponsored by Population Health Learning Collaborative

Across the nation, many faith communities are wondering what they can do to help address different aspects of the housing crisis. They often have significant assets that could be leveraged in a broader strategy, but they have questions, concerns, and limitations that often hold them back from taking action.

This live, interactive webinar builds on the content from the Solution Summit for the Housing Crisis, and everyone who registers will be sent the recordings of two sessions from that online event from November of 2020 as well as the recent recording of the Panel Discussion + Q&A.

An important part of this webinar is the introduction of a six-month group coaching program that will guide interested faith communities through the journey of putting many of these ideas into practice.

Feb. 18, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

The event will feature six to eight African-American artists from Christian and Muslim communities expressing socially conscious and personally inspiring messages.

This event is being coordinated by Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago's A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement in partnership with the American Islamic College and the Inter-Religious Institute at Chicago Theological Seminary. Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Interfaith Youth Core, Silk Road Rising and Young Chicago Authors are also partners in this program.
Click here to download.
Jan. 28, 4:00 p.m.

Sponsored by HIV Vaccine Trials Network and COVID-19 Prevention Network

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on many communities, including Black, Latinx, other communities of color, and trans communities. These communities are also vulnerable to HIV and other chronic health conditions due to structural and systemic racism. In this session, we will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Latinx LGBTQ communities, what lessons learned from the HIV response have informed the COVID-19 response, and how we can support each other during this time.

Click here to download.

March 11, noon-1:30

Co-sponsored by The Illinois ACE's Response Collaborative and Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

Exploration of emotional trauma from systemic oppression - using the scientific model of brain-body regulation. Major topics include research on the impact of everyday discrimination on mental and physical wellness and understanding how structural racism and exclusion of sexual and gender minorities are a root of health disparity.

  • Wednesdays, through April 28
  • 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health

“What’s Next?” is a weekly resilience program that combines evidence-based scientific studies with encouragement from faith-based resources. Participants will gain tools to:

  • build resilience amid the difficulties of life
  • learn from their experiences
  • use the knowledge they gain to nourish themselves and the world around them

Attend any or all sessions. LaShondria Purnell, RN, a faith community nurse with Advocate Aurora Health, facilitates "What's Next?" and looks forward to learning alongside you.
We welcome your submissions for future issues of the Chicagoland Trauma Informed Congregations Network newsletter.

Please contact Cindy Novak if you have an event, resource or story you'd like to share. Thank you!