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Roots of Resilience

The Roots of Resilience campaign is a multi-media campaign focused on educating the public about the importance of protective factors, such as positive adult support, in the lives of kids. Youth in our community have tremendous potential and we all benefit when this potential is realized. Excelsior Springs SAFE is excited to partner with individuals, organizations, and various areas of our community to ensure that our actions support youth resilience and mental health. When we are intentional, and work together, we can ensure that ALL kids have the opportunity to thrive.

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Supporting Healthy Brain Development in the Face of Adversity

As children grow up, their brain continues to grow, building a foundation for the way they interact and engage with the world. Early childhood through adolescence is a time for intense brain and body development. A child's brain learns all sorts of things, including how to respond to adversity or stress. 

When stress is time-limited and the child has adequate adult support, the brain and body respond appropriately and the impact of the stress is healthy and formative. On the other hand, chronic and ongoing adversity, in the absence of stable and reliable adult support, is called toxic stress. Toxic stress floods the body with dangerous levels of hormones. When children experience more toxic stress, the likelihood of health problems, substance use, and mental health disorders are more likely to occur down the road.

The best way to support healthy brain development in the face of adversity is to reduce the exposure of children to toxic stress and build the buffers of support around youth experiencing toxic stress. We call these buffers RESILIENCE. There is tremendous responsibility, and obligation, for all of us to ensure that youth are buffered from toxic stress. 

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Rooting Our Youth in Resilience

Resilience means being able to bounce back from adversity. Resilience is not something you are just born with. It is something that can be acquired, and caring adults have a strong role to play in helping kids become resilient to the adversity in their lives.

Building resilience by providing buffers to adversity during childhood is extremely effective and provides hope! Excelsior Springs SAFE, through our Roots of Resilience program, have launched a framework for action that adults can use to build resilience in youth! 

When we model and teach self care, build connections, and challenge growth, we get out ahead of issues like youth substance use and build our communities’ strength. We are excited to equip you with these ideas that can help reduce the impact of toxic stress on children. Click on each of these three areas to find out how you can help protect kids from substance use and protect their mental health through specific actions.


Opportunities for Further Learning

Roots of Resilience Action Guide:
The Roots of Resilience Action Guide is a small group study guide designed to help individuals learn, discuss, and plan next steps for building resilience in youth. Download a copy of the Action Guide here or contact us to inquire about facilitation. 

Resilience Trainings/Presentations:
Every adult can help build resilience in youth and we want to help inspire and encourage adults to take action. Request a training on resilience for your audience (church, workplace, community group, staff meeting) by contacting us.

Further Reading

There are multiple resilience-building models that inform and guide our coalition's work. 

For further reading, check out:

1. Building Resilience Through Developmental Assets: The Search Institute, through decades of research, has identified 40 assets that help contribute to a child's healthy development. Development Assets are factors that make it more likely that a child will be successful academically, socially, and behaviorally. The more of these assets that youth have, the less likely they are to engage in a variety of negative behaviors including substance use and violence. Likewise, the more of these assets that youth have, the more likely they are to show “thriving indicators” such as succeeding in school, helping others, and overcoming adversity.*  By being aware of these factors, you can help build them in your own children and children around you.

2. Building Resilience through HOPE: HOPE- Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences is a resilience framework that values the importance of positive experiences.  HOPE works to shift the focus from one that is negative or deficit based to one that identifies, promotes and celebrates access to positive childhood experiences. The four Building Blocks of HOPE include 1) Relationships that are Safe and Supportive, 2) Safe, Stable and Equitable Environments to live, learn and play, 3) Social and Civic Engagement that leads to mattering and belonging, and 4) Opportunities for Emotional Growth.  Check out the HOPE Resource Library for additional research, fact sheets, presentations, and media.  

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