Recent Grant Helps Create Positive Childhood Experiences and Reduce Impact of Trauma

ACES hurts
ACES (adverse childhood experiences) can mar a future.

Most of us share a belief and desire to see all members of our community develop our fullest potential. We know, when each of us can contribute our best, our whole community benefits. 

Many of the children Humility of Mary works with are starting their individual journey with challenges and obstacles that make their journeys difficult.  And often, at a decidedly disadvantage compared with other children their age. 

32 of the 40 of our families have experienced intimate partner violence.  Fleeing a dangerous home without a safe place to go is a painful, difficult decision.  But sometimes, it is the ONLY option.  Families fleeing violence is by far the leading cause of homelessness that come to Humility of Mary for help.

Research shows that negative childhood experiences without interruption, intervention, and healing creates more violence, victimization, and sometimes perpetration.  “Hurt people, hurt people”.

The same research informs of what we know from our own life experiences.  Positive experiences can help re-establish the building blocks and foundation for future, lifelong health and opportunity.

This research has helped identify leading contributors to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and their effects. The more ACES a child is exposed to at a young age, the greater the challenges a child faces in the near and distant future.  In addition to violence, other ACES include substance use, neglect, chronic poverty, incarceration of a parent or loved family member, divorce, and sudden death of a loved one. Any one or combination of more than one of these experiences can lead a family into experiencing yet another ACE, homelessness. 

Positive, healing interventions and ongoing supports can help stabilize children who have multiple ACES and thereby help increase their chances of accomplishing their life dreams and hopes. 

By stabilizing families, Humility of Mary Housing minimizes the toll of ACES on the children we serve. Providing a safe place to live de-escalates ACES harm on a child.

Since 1990, HMHI has worked with families experiencing homelessness. By helping parents reach their parental, education, and employment goals, HMHI helps families break the cycle of ACES. 

This year, HMHI has received a grant from the Davenport based HAVlife Foundation to help children pursue their life dreams and hopes and overcome the obstacles and pains of the past.

One of the ways to support children who have experienced an ACE is for them to have a caring and supportive relationship with at least one adult.   This person is often a teacher, coach, or other adult mentor they interact with on a regular basis.  Studies show that young people that participate in music, arts education or extracurricular sports program helps contribute to their overall social, behavioral and cognitive development.   

With the assistance of the HAVlife funds, HMHI will be able to help one of our young men with the expense of renting or purchasing a drum set and private lessons.  This is just the start of unwinding the damage of the past and renewing hope for a young man’s bright future.

Humility of Mary Housing and Humility of Mary Shelter helps families and individuals end the painful cycle of experiencing homelessness.   But we cannot do this work alone.  Each day we work closely with organizations like the HAVlife Foundation, police, schools, and other service providers to increase positive experiences for all of the participants in our various housing programs.  Better understanding of ACES help all of us accomplish this important service in our community.

To that end, Humility of Mary Shelter’s Director of Services Christie Adamson is in the final stages of becoming a community trainer in the Eastern Iowa – Western Illinois Trauma Informed Care Consortium’s ACES training program.  Christie will be able to help Humility of Mary staff and other service providers identify young children and adults who are exhibiting behaviors related to trauma and possible interventions.

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