It’s been seven years since SaintA began its journey to implement a trauma-informed philosophy and practice across the entire organization. We’ve built a trauma-informed model based on the evidence of scientific research, trained all our staff, trained thousands of others across Wisconsin, closed and added programs, pushed to do things differently, celebrated some and struggled sometimes, too. We’ve developed a passion for applying the science in a trauma-informed way.
It’s clearly a journey, not an event, to become trauma informed. We’ve nearly tripled the organization in the seven years: more people served, more staff, more focus on measuring outcomes, and amazing success stories. In that timeframe, the discoveries of science have exploded into the human services sector and, gradually, into the mainstream media. Early brain development, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma-informed and evidence-informed practices, poverty, toxic stress, resilience — all are part of the contextual framework for safe children, strong families, and healthy communities. They are essential ingredients in the recipe to generate hope and create healing.
We can’t advance an improved future for today’s children without these concepts, grounded in science and implemented with just the right dosing. We now know you can’t talk about ACEs without discussing resilience or about toxic stress without exploring the principles of early brain development. You can’t emphasize the science without acknowledging the importance of artful understanding and application. And yet, embracing the art of the science is where the true transformation begins.
This type of transformation does not blink on a computer screen or hop out of a book but comes in the form of caring and competent people who got into this human serving work for reasons that are more about the art than the science, about making a difference, helping someone in need. They are transforming lives by applying the science in creative and unique ways. I am grateful every day for the dedication of SaintA employees who strive to be effective change agents for the children and families they serve. We ask them to know quite a lot about many things to be successful in this work. They are artists and scientists rolled into one. And it’s really in the art of the science where the greatest possibilities exist.
I can’t wait to see what’s next on the journey.
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