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Out & About: Film, Panel Discussion, Focus on Adverse Childhood Experiences



Valley News Calendar Editor
Monday, September 17, 2018

White River Junction — Mentoring organization Windsor County Partners is teaming with Vermont’s Building Bright Futures to host a screening of Resilience, a documentary about the effect “adverse childhood experiences” have on youth.

The free event takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Briggs Opera House, 5 S. Main St., in White River Junction. Following the film, Bob Coates, executive director of Windsor County Partners, will moderate a panel discussion that features Abby Tassel, assistant director at WISE; Mary Bender, pediatrician at Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center and Tonya McMurney, clinical director of The Family Place.

Adverse childhood experiences are events that occur during childhood that can impact a child into adulthood through chronic health conditions including obesity, diabetes, depression and heart disease, misuse of alcohol, smoking and drugs and life events including graduation rates and lost time in the workforce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last spring, members of Windsor County Partner’s board of trustees saw Resilience.

“We knew we really wanted to get it out to our community,” said Megan Culp, president of the board. “It’s really well done.”

In addition to exploring ACEs, the film details what can be done to help children cope with them and become more resilient.

“For a long time we understood the psychological effects or traumatic stress on children,” Culp said. More recently, the long-term effects are being studied and explored.

Educators, parents and anyone who interacts with children could benefit from viewing Resilience. According to the CDC, one of the ways to mitigate the damage of ACEs is through “safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments.”

That’s one of the places Windsor County Partners comes in.

“Evidence is saying that one consistent caring adult in a kid’s life can have a profound positive effect on them,” Culp said.

Windsor County Partners pairs adult volunteers with children ages 7-18 to serve as adult mentors. Volunteers must be 18 and older and pass extensive background checks. Mentors commit two hours every week to meeting with the child they are paired with. While each pairing is slated to last a year, many partnerships last much longer.

“The longer the mentorship lasts the larger the impact on the child and the family,” Culp said.

Editor’s note: For more information about the documentary or volunteering with Windsor County Partners, visit windsorcountypartners.org. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.