Brain Blocks

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can have a profound impact on a child’s development. United Way volunteers are digging into some important learnings about the root causes of intergenerational poverty.

The trauma from events such as witnessing abuse, going hungry, or the death of a parent all change how the brain develops. A brain in survival mode leads to a child that acts out at school and at home, when they feel unsafe. That behavior increases the likelihood of suspension and/or expulsion from school. Youth who are suspended or expelled are extremely unlikely to complete high school. The effects of those experiences can have a lifelong impact, and be passed to the next generation.

United Way of Central Washington is partnering with schools and other nonprofits to hold a forum this winter for our partner agencies and area teachers. Our goal is to equip those in contact with youth and families with information and tools to fight the effects of ACEs in two ways. First we can help prevent ACEs. And we can learn how to work with youth that may have several ACEs due to trauma, gain the skills to teach youth resilience, so more youth will have the opportunity to stay in the classroom, continue to learn, and graduate on time.