“I have experienced a lot, but that doesn’t define all that I am.” -High School Student

Many students across our city and country experience trauma that is pervasive and unrelenting. Often these experiences go unspoken and untreated.

With social services constricted and schools feeling like they are forced to cut counselors, our students are consistently told that they are not cared about. Even before the most recent slashing of school budgets that we experienced in PA, many Philly schools were far below the ratio recommended by experts-which is a paltry 250:1. I have yet to work in a school where that ratio serves students well.

Previously, in my brief stint as a social worker, I saw the impact of trauma in children. As a social worker, I made dozens of home visits and parents would describe conditions that would make grown folks wilt under the pressure. Later, I would learn that researchers called this Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and conducted studies.

Researchers determined that “ACEs are adverse childhood experiences that harm children’s developing brains so profoundly that the effects show up decades later; they cause much of chronic disease, most mental illness, and are at the root of most violence.”

Per researchers, 13% of adults in PA have an ACES score of 4 or higher. In the community we serve, 30-45% of adults reported an ACES score of 4 or higher.

Read all of this blog post by Sharif El-Mekki at Philly’s 7th Ward.


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