Starting off the new year, the Central Kansas Community Foundation and Hesston Community Foundation partnered to bring a training seminar to the area that has been in the works for some time, hosting "Understanding the Tapestry of Trauma" at Hesston's Dyck Arboretum in two sessions this week (Jan. 7/8 and 10/11).
Former HCF Director — and current independent contractor with CKCF on disaster response preparedness — Susan Lamb helped lead the seminar, which she noted was something she had been wanting to offer in the community since receiving STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) training in the aftermath of the events that occurred in Harvey County on Feb. 25, 2016.
While it took a little longer than Lamb hoped to get additional certified STAR trainers in the area, the opportunity finally arose in 2019 to help spread that approach — with a little financial assistance from a partner entity, Funders' Network.
Invitations were extended to numerous individuals in the region who could benefit from the trauma responsive techniques at the center of the seminar — ranging from law enforcement to educators to health care professionals. Specifically, Lamb said the training was directed towards those individuals who may need to be able to respond to trauma-induced behaviors but have minimal exposure about how to approach those situations.
"Our primary goal is to get a conversation started across the county and the south central Kansas area about how we can better serve the needs of individuals who are working through issues related to trauma," Lamb said.
Topics covered by the seminar included implications of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), community impact of traumatic events, building resiliency and self-care techniques and more.
"Understanding the Tapestry of Trauma" was adapted from the STAR curriculum Lamb initially received training in two years ago at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Pennsylvania. This was the first such seminar put on by the community foundations within Harvey County, now having enough certified facilitators, and it couldn't come soon enough for Lamb.
"Every day there's some kind of incident," Lamb said. "If it's not in area, it's certainly within a 50 or 60-mile radius. That shows that individuals are experiencing issues, unhealed trauma issues, and it impacts communities; it impacts families, schools, workplaces and we have much work to do, so I think it was time to get started."
Giving community partners and local professionals the skills needed to be able to respond to traumatic issues is crucial with the increasing frequency of such events. With the seminar, Lamb hopes attendees will take away new insights of how to approach situations in a trauma-responsive way, as well as working to get others in their community engaged in a similar fashion.
While the first training was well attended (for which she was grateful), Lamb said she expect more to come as CKCF and other community partners work towards spreading that trauma-responsive approach.
"I'm pretty optimistic that this is good timing for our area," Lamb said, "and that people are ready to continue or be introduced to this type of work."