Anti-poverty advocates of all ages gathered on Thursday at the Chase Center at the Riverfront for a daylong conference focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through a trauma-informed care approach. The daylong event, Coming Together: The Cycle Can Be Broken, was presented by Corteva Agriscience.
Spearheaded by the Food Bank of Delaware’s Coalition to End Hunger and Brae’s Brown Bags and chaired by First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney, the day-long event featured programming for both adults and children. Attendees of all ages mingled over breakfast while learning about available resources through a community fair before adults and children split off to participate in two separate conferences.
More than 100 students spent the morning rotating stations where they learned about healthy eating, gardening, shopping on a budget, yoga and mindfulness and more. Students had an opportunity to measure how much fruits and vegetables they consume through the Food Bank of Delaware’s new veggie meter. The Delaware Farm Bureau’s mobile ag unit was on hand for a demonstration about agriculture in Delaware, while the Delaware Master Gardeners showed students how to regenerate vegetables and why worms are so important for the ecosystem. Students also participated in a community service project by packing care bags for the homeless through Brae’s Brown Bags.
While children rotated stations, adults participated in their own conference. Dr. Joan Gillece, Ph.D., Director, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Center for Innovation in Trauma Informed Approaches, kicked off the formal day with a presentation on trauma and why it must be addressed in the community.
“We’re more than our trauma,” she told a packed room of close to 300 attendees. “What can we do to lift people up? Start with what’s right. It all boils down to how we treat one another. All the things I’m going to tell you cost no money.”
At the conclusion of Gillece’s session, attendees were dismissed to breakout sessions. Becky Haas, Trauma Informed Administrator for Ballad Health in Tennessee, shared a trauma-informed system of care that works.
“Trauma-informed care is a complex situation,” she explained. “There is no magic wand. Moving from awareness to action takes a multi-agency approach.”
At the conclusion of the morning break-out session, students and adults reconvened for lunch and remarks from former NFL player turned farmer, Jason Brown, presented by the American Dairy Association North East.
He told adults and students to “never stop living, never stop loving and never stop growing. Let’s start promoting what matters most – making sure our children have healthy food.”
At the end of lunch, students were dismissed for the day while adults participated in two breakout sessions with the option to participate in the Brain Architecture Game presented by the Delaware State Education Association.
The game engaged participants in a hands-on experience that builds understanding of the powerful role life events have on early brain development – what promotes it, what derails it, with what consequences for society.
The conference ended with a community service project sponsored by Chase. Chase associates arrived on site at the conclusion of the conference to pack alongside conference-goers 11,000 meals for the Food Bank of Delaware’s weekend backpack program for kids.