(Photo above | courtesy of United Way
United Way of Deschutes County has been awarded a three year, $2 million grant from the Central Oregon Health Council (COHC) in support of their TRACEs Community Resilience Building Initiative. TRACEs stands for Trauma, Resilience and Adverse Childhood Experiences and is a United Way-led community initiative. The goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of Central Oregon residents by building resilience and helping people thrive.
TRACEs is a long-term effort focused on systemic change, building resilience and shifting the culture in Central Oregon to become more trauma-aware and informed. COHC representatives use the word resilience to describe the combination of individual skills and perspectives, social connectedness and community resources that define the ability to thrive in the face of adversity.
“The TRACEs initiative is a phenomenal example of Central Oregon as a region working collectively toward common goals,” said Dan Stevens, PacificSource executive vice president and chair of United Way’s 2018 fundraising campaign. “This project represents the collective and aligned efforts of the education, healthcare, nonprofit and government sectors and will have a meaningful impact on our community’s health in the long term.”
Having been awarded this grant, the United Way and COHC are enthusiastic about having resources to help impact the lives of children and families in Central Oregon for generations.
One of TRACEs goals includes improving wellbeing by increasing engagement and quality of life while decreasing chronic health conditions and substance abuse. They plan to improve educational attainment with increased kindergarten readiness, attendance and graduation rates.
TRACEs aims to promote community education about the effects of adverse childhood experiences and the power of resiliency. They intend to ensure that high need populations get their needs met early in life to avoid future challenges and costs.
In Central Oregon the cost to society of childhood trauma is estimated between $38 and $81 million per year. Traumatic experiences early in life disrupt development and can lead to behavioral, mental and health issues later in life.
The COHC grant requires TRACEs and United Way to achieve specific performance milestones each year. In order to monitor their progress, TRACEs is working closely with OSU-Cascades to create shared metrics by which resilience and trauma-informed care can be better understood and desired outcomes can be achieved.
“We will know if we are successful when we see child, youth and adult resilience improve. We currently have no common understanding of how resilient we are (or are not). By working with OSU-Cascades, we’ve been able to identify a common way to measure resilience using the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM) from the Resilience Research Centre,” said Diana Fischetti, United Way of Deschutes County director of development and marketing.
The CYRM is a measure of the resources available to individuals that may bolster their resilience. The detailed process metrics will help the TRACEs initiative know if they are on track and allow them to share results with partner organizations.
As the backbone organization for the TRACEs initiative, United Way of Deschutes County is responsible for guiding vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, promoting shared measurement, building public will, advancing policy and mobilizing funding, as well as providing financial management for the project.