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The Charlotte Resilience Project is a community initiative focused on creating awareness of the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), trauma and toxic stress, providing information and resources on trauma-informed care and resilience, and leading mobilization efforts to support successful outcomes for children and families.

In 1998, Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published a study, titled the “Adverse Childhood Experiences,” or the “ACE study”, one of the largest investigations ever conducted to determine the connection between childhood trauma and poor life and health outcomes.

This ACEs research had some striking findings:

    • The higher the ACE score, the higher risk for chronic disease as an adult including, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and cancer. There was a 20-year difference in life expectancy for children left untreated for high ACE scores.
    • There was a direct link between ACEs and mental illness, high risk behaviors, incarceration, and work issues such as absenteeism.
    • ACEs are incredibly common. In this study of more 17,000 participants, two in nine people had an ACE score of 3 or more, and one in eight had an ACE score of 4 or more.

Researchers also began to study and highlight the impact of toxic stressprolonged stress without the resilience-building support of a positive adult—and learned that this type of stress impacts the functions and structure of children’s brains. They noted that intense stress and adversity can change children’s brains and bodies; disrupting behavior, growth, immune systems and learning; leading to an increase in attention deficits, learning disabilities, hyperactivity and anxiety.

With a mission to create a healthy, compassionate, resilient community, the Charlotte Resilience Project is leading work to educate and empower the community to better support children and families through trauma-informed care and resilience-building strategies.

Thompson CEO, Will Jones, member of the Charlotte Resilience Project’s Executive committee, shared why Thompson Child and Family Focus is supportive of this work,

As an agency that focuses on providing hope and healing for children and families, we understand and see the value of an initiative like the Charlotte Resilience Project. They are shining a light on the impact of trauma, and creating awareness to galvanize our community not only to take action to prevent ACEs, but also to build resilience in children and adults. Like us, they are clearly working to ensure that a traumatic history in childhood doesn’t result in a negative outcome or destiny as an adult.

One way to get involved is to host an event to show the film Resilience, which highlights the ACE study and the impact of trauma on the brain. Additionally, the Charlotte Resilience Project focuses on mobilizing the community as a partner to build resilience through the work of Resilience subcommittees in various sectors including: early childhood, education, corporate, faith, healthcare, justice, legislative, and nonprofit.

With that in mind, the Charlotte Resilience Project invites all community stakeholders to participate. “This is a “with” effort, not a “to” – we are serving as partners to help convene, facilitate and empower our community,” said Elizabeth Trotman, the project’s manager. “We invite everyone, parents, pastors, providers, educators, administrators, professionals, neighborhood leaders…everyone to get involved. ACEs impacts all of us, and it will take all of us, working together to build a resilient community.”

Ways you can get involved:

    • Host a showing of the film Resilience, at your place of worship, school, or club.
    • Sign up to receive trauma-informed and resiliency training to enhance your role as a parent, teacher, service provider, community leader or volunteer
    • Sign up to participate on one of the Resilience subcommittees to help drive the work in the specific sectors: Early Childhood, Education, Corporate, Faith, Healthcare, Justice, Legislative, and Nonprofit.

What can I do as a parent?

    • Take the ACEs test, and know your score.
    • Determine if your child has a high ACE score.
    • Download this parenting guide.
    • Reach out to obtain behavioral health/ therapeutic services if needed and/or contact the Charlotte Resilience project to obtain information on Resiliency tools and training
    • Advocate for ACEs training and screenings in your school, doctor’s office, etc.
    • Know that you are NOT alone

For more information, contact Elizabeth Trotman at the Charlotte Resilience Project at
For more information on ACEs and trauma-informed care, visit

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