(July 2020) Wyandot Behavioral Health Network has received a $215,000 grant from Wyandotte Health Foundation to continue the work of a program that supports grassroots efforts to help communities prevent and heal from trauma. This marks the second consecutive year that the Foundation has awarded its Cross-Sector Collaboration grant to the program, Alive & Thrive Wyandotte County.
“We’re incredibly grateful for Wyandotte Health Foundation’s support,” said Randy Callstrom, Wyandot BHN President and CEO. “We especially appreciate their commitment to addressing the effects that trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have had on the health and mental health of our community.”
A 2014 Kansas Department of Health and Environment study showed that 64% of Wyandotte County adults have experienced at least one ACE in their lifetimes, compared to 55% for all Kansans. It also found that:
Cathy Harding, Wyandotte Health Foundation President and CEO, said the Foundation’s strategic plan calls for reducing the incidence and/or minimizing the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences in the county. Alive and Thrive, Harding noted, is the largest initiative the foundation has supported in this area.
“The work that Alive and Thrive is doing requires collaboration among many organizations and individuals who serve, live with, and worship with people who have experienced trauma,” Harding said. “There are no easy solutions to the challenges our community faces related to trauma, and no single organization could possibly meet all those challenges. This is why it’s important to have a program like Alive and Thrive to support and coordinate grassroots efforts that help their communities prevent and heal from trauma.”
Alive and Thrive Director Chandra Green said she’s looking forward to expanding the program’s work during the next year. Over the past year, she added, Alive and Thrive has increased the size of its network to include more than 40 organizations and individuals; recruited 14 volunteer facilitators to provide trauma-informed training to the public; created a strong communications infrastructure that includes a website, enewsletter and Facebook page; and held several events to raise awareness about the effect that trauma has on the health of Wyandotte County.
In the next 12 months, Green said, Alive and Thrive’s facilitators will use trauma trainings as a vehicle to recruit people who can serve as “resilience champions” for their communities. These champions will be paid a stipend to raise awareness about the effect trauma has had on community health and to spearhead projects, funded through the grant, that promote healing. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has required Alive and Thrive to adapt its approach to this work and to implement standards to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, it has not curbed the momentum created in the grant’s first year.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of this work,” Green said. “The last year has shown us that our community is eager to join a movement dedicated to creating an environment where every Wyandotte County residents is safe, healthy, and resilient.”