At LCRC, we know our best chance of achieving lasting impact in reducing interpersonal violence begins with the children. When children are exposed to trauma, it not only affects their lives in the present but it can have lasting consequences throughout their entire lives. Adverse Childhood Experiences are linked to toxic stress, poor physical and mental health, chronic disease, poor academic achievement, lower financial success, and early death. In fact, a high majority of women who reside at Mary’s Place have suffered horrific childhood traumas. Problems that domestic violence victims deal with today can be directly tied to events that occurred during childhood.
What Are ACEs?
Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs include any traumatic event, abuse, or neglect that happened before the age of eighteen. Common ACEs are: divorce/separation of parents, death in the family, parental drug/alcohol use, poverty, bullying, having an incarcerated or mentally ill parent, and verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. These experiences can significantly affect the health and well-being of adults decades later.
What’s the Big Deal With ACEs?
When a child has had an Adverse Childhood Experience it can actually disrupt the way the brain develops. For instance, when a child lives in fear the child must learn to adapt to the fearful environment. These neurophysiological adaptations can alter the brain by constantly having to react when it feels threatened. Just like learning to play an instrument or a sport, the brain gets very good at things that are practiced over and over again. This disrupted neurodevelopment can lead to social, emotional, and cognitive impairments which can cause the child to adopt non-healthy behaviors which can lead to disease, disability, social problems, and early death.
What Can You Do?
According to the CDC, “Safe, stable, nurturing environments play a large role in preventing ACEs by creating a context and atmosphere that allows families to share quality time together, to discuss and resolve conflicts, and to provide emotional support to one another.” Here at the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center we strive to do just that. When living at Mary’s Place, women and children are able to cope with their trauma in a positive and violence-free environment. Through parenting groups, domestic violence classes, and counseling sessions women benefit from much more than a safe place to sleep. We offer on-site childcare, fun activities, community events, and counseling for the resident children, too.
But, we can't do this alone and need your help! Will you partner with us to positively impact the lives of the children we serve?