BEND, OR -- The United Way of Deschutes County recently received its largest grant ever. The $2 million dollar award is from the Central Oregon Health Council as part of its regional health improvement plan.
United Way of Deschutes County Executive Director Ken Wilhelm says the money will be spread over three years to benefit the TRACES initiative. "It stands for Trauma, Resilience and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Right now, the grant will be about the ‘building resilience’ part of it, in response to mitigating or preventing trauma and adverse childhood experiences."
United Way of Deschutes County shifted its focus, in the past year, to address conditions – like poverty and addiction – that can lead to childhood trauma. "What we’re trying to do is get further upstream and deal with some of the conditions that seem to keep these issues going so long," Wilhelm tells KBND News. "So, is there a way that we can get preventative or changed how the system operates? So, we can get some long term change." He says the issue deeply impacts the entire community, "The consequences for unresolved trauma show up down the road in a number of ways; in particular, health and learning outcomes. So, particularly with young kids, they enter school maybe delayed in their physical development and certainly in their educational development and that can have profound effects down the road, in 10 or 20 years."
Wilhelm says TRACES involves partnerships with a number of other local agencies and organizations, as well as the United Way of Deschutes County. The initiative includes an effort to help adults identify children impacted by traumatic events. Click HERE
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