My wife and I hosted a recent conference session focused on public school realities and trends that are transferrable to churches. My role leading an organization that partners churches with schools provides a unique, panoramic view into both worlds.
Let’s zoom in on a topic sweeping across our land and through the education system, and yet receives little mention throughout the faith community. That topic is “trauma,” along with its partner “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs). Maybe you’ve heard of trauma-informed schools or communities. If not, you will. Or should. Same with ACEs.
Adverse childhood experiences need no definition; too many kids become victims every day. Trauma, though, refers not to the actual event itself but, rather, to the response and its effect on a person’s ability to cope. That effect travels throughout all corners of a traumatized life; school, church, everywhere.
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David Staal serves as the president & CEO of Kids Hope USA, a national nonprofit organization that partners local churches with elementary schools to provide mentors for at-risk students. A senior editor for Christianity Today and International and former children's ministry director, he also authored these books: