Who We Are
Research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) clearly outlines the connections between traumatic experiences and increased risk for poor educational, behavioral and physical health outcomes. Unaddressed childhood trauma and toxic stress are serious issues nationally and here in Maine.
Oxford County is home to troubling statistics related to ACEs. It’s a community where 26.3% of children under 18 live in poverty (vs 14.8% statewide), according to data from the Kids Count Data Center. Children living in poverty are more likely to experience childhood adversity and are often in homes with fewer resources to address trauma. The 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey shows us that our high school students experience depression and consider suicide at some of the highest rates in the state.
ResilientME (formerly Oxford County Resiliency Project) is a collaboratively developed initiative that seeks to change these outcomes for the children and families of Oxford County. partners, including schools, parents, mental health providers and other community stakeholders, know that poverty, instability, and the stress caused from a lack of resources can have long-lasting effects on a child’s life. Resiliency, or the ability to heal and recover from adversity, is what the group seeks to foster in our students, schools, and communities.
We also know that an effective approach to building resiliency in children and youth is to involve the whole family and engage the community. ResilientME has designed an approach that is multi-pronged, reaching students, school staff, parents/guardians, the community and helping professionals from the community. Our goal is to increase schools’ capacity to systemically support students’ mental health and well-being.
ResilientME in organized into workgroups which meet regularly.
The Trauma-Informed Schools workgroup works to support school-based partners in their efforts to respond to student trauma and build resilience in schools. It includes teachers, administrators, school counselors and social workers, partners from many social service agencies, wellness practitioners and community members.
The Oxford County Prevention Council (which works to address child abuse prevention) also functions as the Family & Community Engagement workgroup. Its members come from community action programs, the faith community, public health, social service agencies, youth mentorship programs, and more.
Interested in joining a workgroup or attending an upcoming meeting? Please be in touch!
We would like the thank the John T. Gorman Foundation in supporting this important work. In the spring of 2018, they awarded a grant to the Oxford County Resiliency Project (or ResilientME) to increase the capacity of Oxford County schools to support students’ mental health and well-being and improve their social, emotional and academic outcomes.