A program at Pathways to Education Kingston was recently recognized with a prestigious international award in community resilience for its work in establishing trauma-based training programs for organizations throughout the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington (KFL&A) region.
Earlier this month, the team behind ‘Teach Resilience,’ a program focused on “trauma-informed” resilience-building initiatives, was awarded the Community Resilience in Action Award by the Community Resilience Initiative (CRI). The award was presented to Pathways Program Manager Roger Romero, as well as Trauma Responsive Team Leads Stephanie Wight, Garry Castle and Kara Fry, during CRI’s annual conference, which took place July 20 and 21, 2023, in Roanoke, Virginia.
“Your efforts in promoting community resilience have been truly inspiring, and we are delighted to recognize your contributions in this field,” CRI Executive Director Rick Griffin said during the presentation. “Your innovative initiatives, perseverance, and dedication have demonstrated the transformative power of community-driven approaches to building resilience.”
According to a press release issued by Pathways after the conference, more than 2,000 people in the KFL&A region have taken part in training sessions since the Teach Resilience program was launched in 2020. The Kingston-based organization is the first Canadian recipient of the award.
“We’re really excited to be moving trauma-response work forward, in our own area and beyond,” remarked Romero.
According to the organization, the Teach Resilience program was inspired by the 2015 documentary ‘Paper Tigers,’ which profiles a “last stop” high school in the state of Washington and its unique approach to discipline in an attempt to better support students who are overcoming traumatic events.
“It was the same kind of approach we were taking at Pathways — focusing on relationships and connecting with young people in a different way than the traditional systems,” recalled Romero. “We knew at the time that our methods were different, but we didn’t know the science behind it or have a formalized structure and language to describe it.”
Using the documentary as inspiration, staff at the local Pathways organization were able to book training sessions with CRI, thanks in part to a grant from Community Foundation for Kingston and Area, which helped the organization develop a model for Teaching Resilience. According to the press release, any revenue generated through the program is invested back in the organization’s additional program offerings, while helping to alleviate challenges associated with recent reductions to Pathways’ budget.
The award comes ahead of an upcoming symposium for local educators, service providers, community members, and decision-makers, which will focus on a “trauma-informed” approach to “reliance building.” Romaro noted, “When people go to different agencies across the community, we want them to experience relational, healing interactions… Neuroscience proves that resiliency comes from the community, rather than the individual. People can’t pull themselves up without supportive systems.”
The symposium is currently scheduled for Octobe, 2023. For more information about Teaching Resilience, or to book a training session, visit teachresilience.ca.