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Helping Kids Dealing With Trauma: The Case For Trauma-Informed Schools And More

Helping Kids Dealing With Trauma: The Case For Trauma-Informed Schools And More


(HELENE) COMING UP ON NEED TO KNOW… MORE
KIDS THAN YOU MAY REALIZE IN MONROE COUNTY ARE DEALING WITH TRAUMA. THE SEVERE IMPACT
OF TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES ON YOUTH AND HOW AREA ORGANIZATIONS PROPOSE WE DEAL WITH IT. ALSO ON THE SHOW – A PROGRAM CONNECTING KIDS
WITH THEIR INCARCERATED RELATIVES THROUGH LITERATURE IS THE SUBJECT OF A LOCAL DOCUMENTARY.
THE STORY BEHIND “STORYBOOK” JUST AHEAD. AND WE’LL TAKE YOU TO A PLACE WHERE STUDENTS
AREN’T ONLY LEARNING MATH, HISTORY, AND SCIENCE BUT ALSO HOW TO BE CARING HUMAN BEINGS.
WHERE READING AND RESPECT ARE EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT – THAT STORY NEXT ON NEED TO KNOW. (MUSIC) (HELENE) CONTINUOUS EXPOSURE TO AN ALCOHOLIC
PARENT. EXPERIENCING PHYSICAL, MENTAL, OR SEXUAL ABUSE BY A FAMILY MEMBER. BEING SEPARATED
FROM A RELATIVE BECAUSE THEY’RE IMPRISONED. THESE ARE ALL TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES COMMONLY
REFERRED TO AS ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES OR ACES. IN MONROE COUNTY, 70% OF HIGH SCHOOL
STUDENTS SURVEYED SAY THEY’VE EXPERIENCED AT LEAST ONE TRAUMATIC EVENT IN THEIR LIVES.
HOW DOES THIS INFLUENCE A YOUNG PERSON’S GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT? ACCORDING TO RESEARCH
– IMMENSELY. IT CAN AFFECT GRADES, CAUSE OUTBURSTS IN THE CLASSROOM, LEAD TO SUSPENSION, EXPULSION,
AND EVEN DROPPING OUT OF SCHOOL ALTOGETHER. LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE COMING TOGETHER NEXT
WEEK TO DISCUSS WHAT THEY BELIEVE IS A PROMISING STEP TO HELP KIDS AND BETTER EQUIP TEACHERS.
HOW? THROUGH TRAUMA-INFORMED SCHOOLS. JOINING ME TO BREAK THIS ALL DOWN IS ELIZABETH MEEKER
– DIRECTOR OF TRAINING AND PRACTICE TRANSFORMATION AT COORDINATED CARE SERVICES, INC., DENISE
QUAMINA – ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL AT JOSEPH C. WILSON HIGH SCHOOL IN THE ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL
DISTRICT, AND MEGAN BELL – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT THE WILSON FOUNDATION. AND WELCOME AND
THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU FOR JOINING ME. SO I JUST WANT TO JUMP RIGHT IN. AND ELIZABETH
I WANT TO START WITH YOU. EXPLAIN THE CONCEPT OF TRAUMA INFORMED SCHOOLS. HOW DO THEY OPERATE? (ELIZABETH MEEKER) TRAUMA INFORMED SCHOOLS
IS WHEN SCHOOLS HAVE A FOUNDATIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF JUST THE THINGS THAT YOU EXPLAINED. HOW
FREQUENTLY TRAUMA IMPACTS THE LIVES OF THE CHILDREN WHO ATTEND SCHOOL AND THEIR FAMILIES
AND THE IMPACT ON THE BRAIN AND LEARNING. AND THEN TAKES THAT UNDERSTANDING AND INFUSES
IT INTO ALL ASPECTS OF THE SCHOOL. SO NOT ONLY KIND OF HOW THEY’RE TAUGHT BUT THE
ENVIRONMENT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES THAT EVERYTHING IS BEING LOOKED AT THROUGH THE LENS OF TRAUMA. (HELENE) I KNOW NEXT WEEK AS I MENTIONED THE
INTRO AREA ORGANIZATIONS ARE COMING TOGETHER AND YOU’LL BE TALKING ABOUT BEST PRACTICES
WHEN IT COMES TO DEVELOPING EXACTLY SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU WERE JUST MENTIONING.
BUT YOU’LL ALSO BE AIRING PORTIONS OF PAPER TIGERS AND IT’S A DOCUMENTARY THAT EXAMINES
A SCHOOL IN WASHINGTON STATE AND IT’S AN EXAMPLE OF A TRAUMA INFORMED COMMUNITY FOR
STUDENTS AND TEACHERS. I JUST WANT TO TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT A FILM THAT WE HAVE OF PAPER
TIGERS. THERE ARE THE KIDS THAT GET LABELED. GET RID
OF EM. LINCOLN SITS RIGHT IN THE HEART OF THE MOST ASSAULTS, GANG ACTIVITY, TRUANCY. I DID HERE THAT IS THE WORST SCHOOL YOU CAN
EVER GO TO ABSOLUTE CHAOS. HE PISSED ME OFF AND I THREW
A CHAIR AT HIM AND I TOLD HIM I WAS GONNA KILL HIM. I WAS PROVIDED TO GO TO A CONFERENCE ABOUT
COMPLEX TRAUMA AND WHAT STRESSES THE BRAIN. I REMEMBER ONE NIGHT I JUST, I DIDN’T WANT
TO BE ALIVE. IT HIT ME, IT HIT ME REALLY HARD. YOU HAVE
TO UNCONDITIONALLY LOVE THEM AND YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE THAT THEIR BEHAVIOR MIGHT BE OUT
OF THEIR CONTROL. TO WATCH THEIR CONFIDENCE COME BACK HAS BEEN
INCREDIBLE. I’M NOT BY MYSELF ANYMORE, I GOT A TEAM (HELENE) SO IN THE MOST RECENT MONROE COUNTY
YOUTH RISK BEHAVIOR SURVEY THE ACE SCORES, THE ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES THOSE SCORES
WERE SHARED FOR THE FIRST TIME FOR MY UNDERSTANDING. I WANNA GET A SENSE. WHAT DO, FIRST OF ALL,
WHAT DO ACE SCORES TELL US? AND THEN LOCALLY WHAT DO THEY MEAN? WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM
THE MOST RECENT SCORES, AND MEGAN I’LL ASK YOU TO TAKE THAT. (MEGAN BELL) AN ACE SCORE REALLY IS A GIVEN
INDICATION OF SOME OF THE EXPERIENCES KIDS HAVE HAD AND THIS IS FOR KIDS ALL OVER OUR
COMMUNITY. AND THEY CAN RANGE FROM SEPARATION FROM A PARENT TO SOME HIGHLY SEVERE BEHAVIOR
AT HOME. AND THAT TELLS YOU, YOU KNOW, MAYBE SOME OF THE STRUGGLES THE KIDS MIGHT HAVE
AND ALSO SOME OF THE RISKY BEHAVIORS THAT IT MIGHT LEAD TO. SOME OF THE HEALTH PROBLEMS
THAT IT COULD LEAD TO AND YOU KNOW ELIZABETH PROBABLY MAYBE COULD TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE
ABOUT SOME OF THOSE BEHAVIORS. (ELIZABETH) RIGHT SO WHAT WE’VE BEEN ABLE
TO SEE JUST LIKE THE ORIGINAL ACE STUDY IS IN MONROE COUNTY WHEN WE LOOK AT THE ACE SCORES
IN COMBINATION WITH THE YOUTH RISK BEHAVIORS THE HIGHER SOMEONE’S ACE SCORE IS THE MORE
LIKELY THEY ARE TO BE EXPERIENCING MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES, TO BE INVOLVED IN VIOLENT
BEHAVIOR, CARRY A WEAPON, FEEL SUICIDAL, OR ACTUALLY ACT UPON THOSE FEELINGS. SO IT KIND
OF SHOWS THAT CUMULATIVE EFFECT OF TRAUMA. SO WHILE MAYBE SOMEONE IS ABLE TO COPE WITH
ONE OR TWO OF THESE AS YOU EXPERIENCE MORE AND MORE OF THESE ACES, IT BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT
TO KIND OF COPE AND SO PEOPLE ADAPT DIFFERENT HIGH RISK BEHAVIORS. (HELENE) SO WHEN THIS INFORMATION HAS BEEN
REVEALED WHAT, HOW DO STUDENTS OR I SHOULD SAY HOW DO TEACHERS HOW DO THEY MAKE THIS
SHIFT SO TO SPEAK TO BETTER HELP AND EQUIP YOUNG PEOPLE DEALING WITH THESE THING? (DENISE QUAMINA) SO I CAME FROM EAST RIGHT
INTO WILSON AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE DID, WE STARTED OFF WITH A GLOBAL INFORMATION SESSION
ON WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU RATHER THAN WHY DID YOU DO WHAT YOU DID RIGHT. AND THEN FROM THERE
I PUT OUT AN INVITE FOR TEACHERS TO A COLLEGIAL CIRCLE. AND SO WE MET MONTHLY TALKING, STUDYING
THE BOOK AND REACHING AND TEACHING STUDENTS WHO HURT. AND SO IN THAT BOOK IT GIVES YOU
REALLY TANGIBLE TECHNIQUES TO FOLLOW THROUGH IN THE CLASSROOM. YOU KNOW MANY OF THE TEACHERS
THAT WERE ACTUALLY IN THIS GROUP HAD COMPASSION TO BEGIN WITH. SO IT WAS EASY FOR THEM TO
COME FOLLOW THROUGH AND USE THOSE TECHNIQUES TO YOU KNOW, WORK WITH THE KIDS IN THE CLASSROOM. ((HELENE) CAN YOU GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF A TECHNIQUE
OR WHAT IT WOULD LOOK LIKE? I KNOW YOU SAID WHAT HAPPENED, ASKING THAT QUESTION AS OPPOSED
TO POINTING A FINGER TO A PROBLEM. (DENISE) WELL TONE OF VOICE. YOUR TONE VERY
CALM SHOULD BE CALMING. BEING ABLE TO OBSERVE YOUR STUDENTS STANDING AT THE DOOR IS ONE
BIG THING. YOU STAND AT THE DOOR YOU CAN GET A GOOD SCAN OF THE STUDENTS, WHAT THEIR DAY
WOULD BE LIKE. I HAVE HAD TEACHERS WHO HAVE SINCE CHANGED THEIR LENS FROM DOING REFERRALS,
WERE ABLE TO SCAN STUDENTS AND GIVE ME A NAME, GIVE ME AN EMAIL, DROP E A PHONE CALL. HEY
QUAMINA I’M NOTICING THIS COULD YOU KIND OF SPEAK TO THIS CHILD? SORT OF THING. SO
THAT’S THAT’S HOW THE TEACHERS AND THE STAFF SHOULD BE GETTING INVOLVED AND THAT’S
WHAT IT SHOULD LOOK LIKE. (HELENE) ARE SOME OF THESE THINGS ALREADY
TAKING PLACE? OR SOME OF THESE PRACTICES I SHOULD SAY ALREADY TAKING PLACE AND NOT JUST
ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOLS BUT ALSO SUBURBAN SCHOOLS AND IS THAT. I’M TRYING TO GET TO REALLY
UNDERSTANDING OF WHY THIS CONVERSATION, THIS DISCUSSION IS TAKING PLACE NEXT WEEK ABOUT
TRAUMA INFORMED SCHOOLS IS IT ABOUT GETTING THE INFORMATION OUT THERE SO PEOPLE CAN BE
MORE SENSITIVE TO IT AND INCORPORATE IT INTO DAILY PRACTICE? (ELIZABETH) ONE OF THE THINGS WHEN WE WORK
WITH SCHOOLS, THERE’S A LOT OF THINGS AND INITIATIVES UNDERWAY THAT WOULD FALL UNDER
THE UMBRELLA OF TRAUMA INFORM.” THIS IS GIVING THEM A NEW LENS TO UNDERSTAND THAT
AND I THINK THE DATA IS SO TELLING. WE’VE ALL BEEN CONCERNED FOR A LONG TIME WITH SOME
OF THESE BEHAVIORS THAT WE’VE SEEN IN STUDENTS AND THIS GIVES US A NEW UNDERSTANDING. IF
WE CAN SHIFT OUR INTERPRETATION TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS MAY BE A CHILD WHO’S DEALING WITH
SOME REALLY DIFFICULT THINGS, WE CAN COME AT THE PROBLEM IN A NEW WAY AND GET BETTER
RESULTS. (MEGAN) THERE’S A QUOTE IN THE FILM PAPER
THAT I THINK IS REALLY RESONANT. IT SAYS “STRESSED BRAINS CAN’T LEARN.” SOME OF THESE KIDS
WANT TO LEARN AND WANT TO DO BETTER, BUT THEY HAVE SO MANY THINGS GOING ON WHEN THEY’RE
NOT AT SCHOOL THAT SCHOOL BECOMES ANOTHER CHALLENGE IN THEIR LIVES. TO HAVE A PUNITIVE
SYSTEM – PUNITIVE SCHOOL – IS MAYBE NOT THE RIGHT BENEFIT FOR THIS CHILD. SO SOME
OF THIS CULTURE CHANGE – WHEN WE SAY A ‘TRAUMA-INFORMED SCHOOL’, IT’S NOT A NEW PROGRAM TO ADD
ON, IT’S NOT NEW TESTING, IT’S NOT NEW ANYTHING. IT’S CULTURE CHANGE. TO REALLY
EMBRACE THE CHILD AND UNDERSTAND THEIR BACKGROUND RATHER THAN TO EDUCATE THEM AND ATTACK AT
THEM. (HELENE) WHEN I VIEW THE FILM, IT SEEMS AS
THOUGH THE TEACHERS AT THE SCHOOL DEVELOPED A NEW SENSE OF UNDERSTANDING IN TERMS OF CONNECTING
WITH KIDS AND UNDERSTANDING WHERE THEY WERE COMING FROM. I KNOW WE HEAR THE TERM ‘TRAUMA-INFORMED’.
HOW DOES IT DIFFER, BECAUSE TO A CERTAIN EXTENT IT LOOKS LIKE PTSD AS WELL – SOME OF THOSE
VERY SAME THINGS THAT YOU MIGHT ADDRESS WHEN IT COMES TO PTSD. ARE THESE TWO THINGS VERY
DIFFERENT OR ARE THEY SIMILAR, JUST UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME? (ELIZABETH) PTSD IS A CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS.
WHAT WE KNOW IS MANY OF THESE KIDS DON’T MEET ELIGIBILITY FOR THAT DIAGNOSIS. THEIR
BEHAVIORS MIGHT LAND THEM WITH DIFFERENT DIAGNOSES, AND AGAIN THAT MIGHT DIRECT THE INTERVENTION
IN A DIFFERENT WAY. SO THIS IS A BROADER UNDERSTANDING, SO WHETHER OR NOT SOMEONE DEVELOPS PTSD, DOES
IT MEAN THAT WE WOULDN’T BE TRAUMA-INFORMED? WE CAN BE TRAUMA-INFORMED TO ANYONE WHO’S
HAD AN EXPOSURE, EVEN IF WE DON’T KNOW IT OR NOT. (HELENE) MEGAN, YOU MENTIONED THIS WAS NOT
ABOUT ADDING ANYTHING NEW. I KNOW MONROE COUNTY HAS TIG THE CONTORTION ON TRAUMA, ILLNESS
AND GRIEF IN SCHOOLS. DOES THE WORK THAT THEY PROVIDE SOMEWHAT ALIGN WITH WHAT WE’RE LOOKING
AT IN TERMS OF THESE BEST PRACTICES? (MEGAN) ABSOLUTELY. TIG IS A PART OF OUR EVENT
NEXT WEEK WITH THE COMMUNITY TO TALK ABOUT THIS. THEY’RE THE RESOURCE FOR SCHOOLS TO
COME TO TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO BE TRAUMA-RESPONSIVE. THEY’RE THE GO-TO PROVIDER FOR RESOURCES,
ALONG WITH ELIZABETH AT CCSI, TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU CAN DO TOMORROW TO START MAKING SMALL
CHANGES, AND WHAT YOU CAN DO IN THE LONG-TERM TO HAVE YOUR ENTIRE SCHOOL HAVE A DIFFERENT
CULTURE. (DENISE) I THINK FOR ME, BEING IN THE SCHOOLS,
EXPERIENCING THE DIFFERENT BEHAVIORS AND THEN APPLYING WHAT I KNOW ABOUT TRAUMA-INFORMED
CARE, I DID SEE A CLEAR DIFFERENCE WITH THE STUDENTS; THE WAY THEY APPROACH ADULTS, THE
WAY THEY APPROACH ME ONCE WE BUILD THAT TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP. THE BOTTOM LINE HERE IS RELATIONSHIP
BUILDING. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CHILDREN, THEY TEND TO NOT BE RECEPTIVE
TO YOU. SO WITH ME WHEN I BRING KIDS INTO MY OFFICE – WHO HAVE DONE WHATEVER ACCORDING
TO THE TEACHER – THE STUDENT GOES ‘I DON’T LIKE HIM, I DON’T LIKE HER’. IT’S ALL ABOUT EMOTIONS AND WHETHER OR NOT
THE CHILD FEELS SAFE WITH THAT INDIVIDUAL. IF THEY DO NOT, THEN YOU WILL SEE THE BEHAVIORS
ACTING OUT. SO THAT SAME CHILD COULD COME TO ME AND WE WILL HAVE A DECENT CONVERSATION
ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED, HOW WE COULD HELP RESOLVE IT, WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO. A LOT OF TIMES
AS EDUCATORS WE WILL TALK TO KIDS – ‘DON’T YOU WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE? DON’T YOU WANT
TO GET A GOOD JOB? DON’T YOU WANT TO HAVE A NICE HOUSE?’ I FINALLY FIGURED OUT – FOUND
OUT, ACTUALLY – IN THEIR WORLD, THAT IS NOT WHERE THEY ARE. SO WE HAVE TO REACH THE
STUDENTS BY EMOTION. LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU CARE ABOUT THEM. ONCE THEY GET TO WHERE THEY
FEEL SAFE, THAT THEY ARE LOVED AND WORTHY, THEN WE CAN START TALKING ABOUT FUTURE GOALS. (HELENE) WHAT’S THE BEST CASE SCENARIO?
HOW DOES THIS WORK, RIGHT? I’M CURIOUS AS TO WHAT YOU THINK IN TERMS OF REALLY IMPLEMENTING
THIS IN SCHOOLS AND CREATING THAT SENSE OF UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS CAN HAPPEN AND THIS
CAN HAPPEN EFFECTIVELY. (MEGAN) THE BEST CASE SCENARIO IS THAT SOME
OF OUR DISTRICTS CAN GO BACK AND SAY, ‘WE WANT TO EMBRACE THIS, MOVE FORWARD, WE WILL
GET THE EDUCATION WE NEED TO SHIFT OUR CULTURE. LONG-TERM BEST CASE SCENARIO IS THAT CAN IMPACT
SOME OF THE POLICY IN OUR COMMUNITY. IT CAN PROVIDE SOME OF THE RESOURCES TO HELP SCHOOLS
BECOME TRAUMA-INFORMED AND TRAUMA-RESPONSIVE, AND GIVE THEM THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL. (HELENE) A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO MEGAN BELL,
DENISE QUAMINA AND ELIZABETH MEEKER FOR YOUR TIME TODAY. I APPRECIATE IT. AND THIS IS ONLY
THE BEGINNING OF THIS STORY. PERIODICALLY WE’LL SHARE UPDATES ON WHERE THINGS STAND
WITH TRAUMA-INFORMED SCHOOLS IN OUR COMMUNITY. AND SO YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY
“PAPER TIGERS,” JUST GO ONLINE TO PAPERTIGERSMOVIE.COM. AND AS WE DISCUSSED IN OUR LAST SEGMENT – IMPRISONMENT
OF A PARENT OR RELATIVE IN ONE’S HOME IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF AN ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCE.
BUT THERE IS A PROGRAM OUT OF THE ONTARIO COUNTY JAIL WORKING TO BRIDGE THE DISTANCE
BETWEEN CHILDREN AND THEIR INCARCERATED PARENTS THROUGH LITERACY. IT’S CALLED THE STORYBOOK
PROJECT AND IT’S THE FOCUS OF A LOCAL DOCUMENTARY. TAKE A LOOK. (INMATE ONE) I GOT CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL MISCHIEF
IN THE FOURTH DEGREE. (INMATE TWO) CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED
SUBSTANCE IN THE SEVENTH DEGREE. (INMATE THREE) THEY SENTENCED ME A YEAR SO
I HAD TO DO EIGHT MONTHS HERE. (INMATE FOUR) PRETTY MUCH THE LAST 12-AND-A-HALF
YEARS. (WOMAN) WE DON’T THINK OF PEOPLE IN PRISON
AS COMING FROM FAMILIES WORTH PRESERVING, WORTH MAINTAINING, CHILDREN THAT WE SHOULD
CARE ABOUT. (INMATE FIVE) YOU KNOW, YOUR BODY MAY BE LOCKED
UP INSIDE A CORRECTIONAL FACILITY BUT THEY CAN’T LOCK YOUR MIND, HEART, AND SOUL UP. (HELENE) JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT THE IMPACT
OF THE PROGRAM AND THE MISSION AND PURPOSE BEHIND THE DOCUMENTARY “TURN THE PAGE”
IS CLAIRE KREMER – THE FOUNDER OF THE STORYBOOK PROJECT AND DIRECTOR AND FILMMAKER LINDA MORONEY.
AND WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU. THANKS FOR BEING HERE. (CLAIRE KREMER) THANK YOU. (LINDA MORONEY) THANKS FOR INVITING US. (HELENE) CLAIRE, I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU WERE
INSPIRED TO START THE STORYBOOK PROJECT MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO BY YOU HEARD ABOUT A PROGRAM
IN TEXAS. (CLAIRE) I READ ABOUT A PROGRAM IN A WOMEN’S
PRISON IN TEXAS – THIS WAS IN AN EPISCOPAL NATIONAL NEWSLETTER. AND IN THIS PARTICULAR
PROGRAM ABOUT EPISCOPAL AND JEWISH WOMEN WERE GOING INTO COUNTY PENITENTIARY AND TAKING
BOOKS FOR INMATES TO READ AND SEND OUT. AND IT JUST SOUNDED LIKE SOMETHING WE COULD DO
HERE BECAUSE OF THE WAY THAT OUR DIOCESE IS SET UP. AND SO I HAD TO DO A LOT OF DIGGING
AROUND. PRIEST FRIENDS HELPED ME OUT QUITE A BIT TO SEE IF IT WOULD BE FEASIBLE TO DO
HERE, AND TO SEE IF THE JAIL WANTED US, WHICH IT DID. ONTARIO COUNTY IS VERY GOOD ABOUT
HAVING PROGRAMS FOR ITS INMATES, THINGS THAT WILL BE HELPFUL TO THEM. AND SO AFTER A LOT
OF MONTHS OF DIGGING AROUND AND SETTING UP A PROPOSAL I TOOK IT TO A DISTRICT COMMITTEE
OF OUR EPISCOPAL CHURCH AND GOT SOME PRELIMINARY FUNDING. (HELENE) WE KNOW THAT ONE IN EVERY 28 CHILDREN
IN THE U.S. HAS AN INCARCERATED PARENT, AND STUDIES HAVE FOUND THAT THE INCARCERATION
OF A PARENT CAN BE MORE SEVERE ON A YOUNG PERSON MORE SO THAN DEATH OF A PARENT EVEN
OR DIVORCE AMONG PARENTS. AND THAT BEING SAID, I WANT TO KNOW HOW DOES LITERATURE…? WHAT’S
THE CASE FOR LITERATURE IN TERMS OF REALLY SERVING AS THIS TOOL TO CONNECT PARENTS AND
YOUNG PEOPLE BASED ON WHEN WE HEAR STATS LIKE THAT? (LINDA) CAN I TAKE THIS? OR DID YOU WANT…? (CLAIRE) YOU CAN TAKE IT. (LINDA) OKAY. I THINK GOING BACK TO WHAT YOU
SAID ABOUT DEATH AND DIVORCE, KIDS THAT EXPERIENCE DEATH OF A PARENT ARE GIVEN EMPATHY BY THE
COMMUNITY, BUT KIDS THAT HAVE A PARENT THAT’S INCARCERATED ARE STIGMATIZED. OFTEN THEY’RE
NOT TOLD WHERE THEIR PARENT IS. OFTEN THEY DON’T KNOW. AND EVEN IF A PARENT IS AWAY
FOR SIX MONTHS, THAT’S A REALLY LONG PERIOD IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD. AND YOU THINK ABOUT
BEDTIME STORIES AND WHAT THAT CREATES; THE ENERGY AND THE FEELING AND THE NURTURING BONDS
BETWEEN PARENT AND CHILD IN ADDITION TO CULTIVATING LITERACY SKILLS FOR THESE KIDS. FOR ANY KID
IT’S SO IMPORTANT. WE KNOW READING ALOUD TO YOUNG CHILDREN IS
SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT, SO WHAT THEY’VE CREATED AT STORYBOOK IS SORT OF THE BEST THAT
CAN HAPPEN UNDER THESE CONDITIONS. I CAN TELL YOU THAT THE CHILDREN GO BACK TO THE BOOKS
– AND IT USED TO BE TAPES, NOW IT’S CDS – OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. SO
THEY ARE CULTIVATING EVEN MORE LITERACY SKILLS FROM THIS REPETITION. (HELENE) SO TELL ME A LITTLE BIT, CLAIRE,
HOW DOES IT WORK? HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK? (CLAIRE) WELL, THE PROCESS WORKS. WE OF COURSE
HAVE TO GET VOLUNTEERS AND THEY HAVE TO BE SCREENED BY THE JAIL, WHICH SOMETIMES TAKES
A WHILE. AND WE ALSO HAVE TO GET SUPPLIES. ONE OF OUR VOLUNTEERS USED TO DO THE CHILDREN’S
BOOK FAIRS AT THE CANANDAIGUA SCHOOL, AND SO SHE COMES UP TO ROCHESTER WHEN ONE OF THESE
BIG COMPANIES HAS BOOKS SALES AND SHE PICKS OUT THE BOOKS AND WE GET THEM AT A VERY GOOD
COST. WE ALSO GET A GOOD DISCOUNT FROM THE GENEVA LIBRARY FOR THINGS THAT WE NEED THAT
AREN’T AVAILABLE ANY OTHER WAY. AND THEN ALL WE DO IS SET UP THE TIMES WITH
THE JAIL. WE GO IN TWICE A MONTH – ONCE FOR THE WOMEN, ONCE FOR THE MEN. WE STARTED OUT
WITH JUST WOMEN AND AFTER A COUPLE OF YEARS THE JAIL REQUESTED THAT WE SEE THE MEN. AND
I WAS A LITTLE NERVOUS ABOUT THAT, BUT THEY ACTUALLY ARE EASIER TO DEAL WITH THAN THE
WOMEN. THEY’RE NOT ON THE SURFACE AS EMOTIONAL AS SOME OF THEM GET. WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH
CRYING PEOPLE AND WE DON’T WANT THE KIDS TO OVERHEAR ANY OF THAT OF COURSE. (HELENE) RIGHT. LINDA, LET ME ASK YOU, WHAT
WAS IT ABOUT THIS STORY THAT MADE YOU SAY, “I HAVE GOT TO DOCUMENT THIS FOR THE MASSES”? (LINDA) YEAH, AS A FILMMAKER I OFTEN READ
THE NEWSPAPER LOOKING FOR INTERESTING STORIES, AND I HAD READ IN THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE
ONE DAY ABOUT CLAIRE RECEIVING A POTTED PLANT FOR STARTING STORYBOOK BECAUSE SHE WAS A BOLD
WOMAN OF COURAGE. AND I THOUGHT, “POTTED PLANT? SURE, BUT THIS IS AN AMAZING STORY.”
AND I’M A MOM AND I READ TO MY CHILDREN EVERY NIGHT. THEY’RE OLDER NOW. IT TOOK
A FEW YEARS TO MAKE THIS MOVIE BUT I KNEW HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS. AND I KNEW THAT I COULD
HAVE ONE DRINK TOO MANY COMING HOME FROM A PARTY ONE NIGHT AND KILL SOMEONE WITH MY CAR. NOT ON PURPOSE, BUT SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN
AND I COULD BE THERE. I COULD BE IN THEIR PLACE. I COULD MAKE A BAD CHOICE. AND SO I
WENT IN. FIRST I HAD TO TRACK DOWN THE REPORTER AND THEN TRACK DOWN CLAIRE AND CONVINCE CLAIRE
AND THEN SHE SAID WELL, IT’S OKAY. AND THEN I HAD TO SPEAK TO THE JAIL AND CONVINCE THEM
TO TRUST ME, AND THEN I FOUND A REALLY GREAT PARTNER IN RAY MANARD OF CRYSTAL PIX TO COME
ON BOARD TO WORK ON THIS FILM WITH ME. AND HE WAS A PARENT AS WELL, AND I THINK PARENTS
JUST UNIVERSALLY GET THIS STORY. I THINK THERE’S A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT JAILS AND PRISONS
RIGHT NOW, BUT THERE’S NOT MUCH GOING ON IN THE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE CHILDREN AND HOW
THIS IS AFFECTING THEM. (HELENE) CLAIRE, HOW RECEPTIVE WERE THE INMATES
WHEN YOU FIRST PRESENTED THIS AS AN OPTION TO DO? WERE THEY A LITTLE SKEPTICAL? WERE
SOME EXCITED? (CLAIRE) IT’S FUNNY THAT YOU ASK THAT. THE
FIRST TIME THAT WE WENT IN WE WERE GIVEN A GROUP OF FOUR WOMEN AND ONE OF THEM WAS IN
HER FORTIES AND QUITE ANTAGONISTIC SAYING, “NOBODY’S GOING TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO
FOR MY CHILD.” AND SHE WOULDN’T TAKE A BOOK. BUT SINCE THEN IT’S BEEN QUITE DIFFERENT
OF COURSE. WORD SPREADS IN JAIL AND THEY ALL COME IN LOOKING FOR PARTICULAR BOOKS AND THEY
ESPECIALLY LIKE BOOKS WITH STICKERS. (HELENE) SO WHEN… (CLAIRE) FOR THE KIDS. (HELENE) YEAH. (CLAIRE) YEAH, STICKERS ARE A BIG DEAL. AND
I DON’T DO ANY OF THE BOOK BUYING, BUT – (HELENE) SO AFTER A PARENTS RECORDS A READING
THEN THAT YOUNG PERSON – THEIR CHILD – ACTUALLY GETS TO HOLD ON TO THIS COPY OF THE BOOK AND
KEEP IT. (CLAIRE) OH YES BECAUSE WE MAKE A RECORDING,
AND NOW WE’RE INTO DOING CDS. WE HAVE THESE LITTLE TINY RECORDERS THAT WE USE, AND THE
CDS GET PUT INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOK FOR SAFETY AND THEN THEY’RE MAILED. ONE OF OUR
BIG PROBLEMS IS TRYING TO FIND PEOPLE THAT CAN BURN CDS. MOST OF THE VOLUNTEERS, LIKE
ME, ARE OLDER. NOT AS OLD, BUT IT’S A TECHNOLOGY THAT WE JUST DON’T HAVE. AND WE JUST… (HELENE) SORRY TO INTERRUPT BUT I DO WANT
TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GET THIS IN BECAUSE LINDA, BEFORE WE STARTED THE INTERVIEW YOU HAD A
NUMBER IN TERMS OF THE NUMBER OF BOOKS THAT HAVE BEEN DONATED. (LINDA) YEAH. I WILL SAY FIRST OFF THAT WHAT’S
ALSO AMAZING IS THAT EVEN IF THERE’S FIVE KIDS, EACH ONE GETS THEIR OWN BOOK AND EACH
ONE GETS THEIR OWN PACKAGE; THERE’S NO SHARING. BUT SINCE THE SUMMER OF 2005 THEY HAVE SENT
OUT 4,989 BOOKS TO 1,856 KIDS. (HELENE) WOW. AMAZING PROGRAM. LINDA MORONEY
AND CLAIRE KREMER – THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME. IT’S A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU
BOTH ON THE SHOW. AND YOU CAN SEE A SPECIAL WORK-IN-PROGRESS SCREENING OF THE FILM “TURN
THE PAGE.” IT’S TAKING PLACE NEXT THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH AT THE LITTLE THEATRE. TO LEARN
MORE AND TO GET TICKETS GO TO THELITTLE.ORG. BUILDING AND SUSTAINING CARING COMMUNITIES.
THAT’S WHAT STEERS THE WORK OF A NON-PROFIT FOCUSED ON CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT RELATED TO
BULLYING AND OTHER BEHAVIORS IMPACTING A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT. THE PROGRAM IS CALLED WE R 3C
AND IT CAN BE FOUND IN SCHOOL DISTRICTS THROUGHOUT NEW YORK INCLUDING FAIRPORT AND CHURCHVILLE-CHILI.
THE LEADERS BEHIND THE NON-PROFIT SAY CHANGING SCHOOL CULTURE AND CREATING CLASSROOMS OF
ACCEPTANCE CAN BE A REALITY. HERE’S MORE ON OUR AMERICAN GRADUATE CHAMPION, WE R 3C. (TEACHER) WELCOME TO OUR WE R 3C LESSON HERE
WHERE WE ARE CELEBRATING WHAT? WHO CAN TELL ME WHAT WE’RE CELEBRATING TODAY? ALISSA? (ALISSA) WHAT MAKES US SPECIAL IN THE COMMUNITY. (TEACHER) YUP! SO WHAT WE BRING UNIQUELY INDIVIDUAL
TO OUR COMMUNITY HERE… (HELENE) WHEN YOU THINK OF A TYPICAL CLASSROOM
LESSON, YOU MIGHT NOT THINK ABOUT STUDYING RESPECT, KINDNESS, AND COMPASSION, BUT THOSE
ARE THE VERY THINGS BEING TAUGHT HERE IN LYNDONVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOLS. TODAY’S LESSON ON CELEBRATING ONE’S UNIQUENESS
IS PART OF THE WE R 3C LEARNING CURRICULUM. (BOB PURIFICO) A LOT OF PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY
SOMETIMES IN EDUCATION, DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT WE JUST DON’T TEACH HISTORY AND ALGEBRA
AND SOCIAL STUDIES. THERE ARE SKILLS THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH A STUDENT LEARNING THE
SKILLS THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH PRO-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR. AND IT’S NOT JUST THEIR PARENTS’
RESPONSIBILITY. (HELENE) WE R 3C FOCUSES ON TEACHING STUDENTS
HOW TO DEMONSTRATE RESPECT, FORGIVENESS, SELF-CONFIDENCE AND A HOST OF OTHER PRO-SOCIAL SKILLS. (BART DENTINO) WE R 3C CAUSES A CULTURAL CHANGE
IN THE BUILDING AND WHEREVER IT’S BEING APPLIED AND HERE’S THE REASON WHY. THE WORD
RESPECT MEANS TO RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF SOMEONE. ONCE THAT VALUE IS LEARNED, THE BEHAVIORS
CHANGE AND BECOME INTRINSICALLY MOTIVATED. (HELENE) DISTRICT LEADERS AND STUDENTS SAY
THE PROGRAM OPENS A DOOR THAT WAS PREVIOUSLY CLOSED – CREATING TRUST AND COMRADERY AMONG
STUDENTS AND THEIR TEACHERS.  (AARON BENNETT) INITIALLY SOMEONE MIGHT LOOK
IN AND SAY WELL THAT’S KIND A WASTE OF TIME, WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT IN SCHOOL? BUT WHEN
YOU MAKE THESE CONNECTIONS AND THEN WATCH WHAT HAPPENS IN THE CLASSROOM AFTERWARDS,
THAT INVESTMENT IS VERY MUCH WORTH IT. (NATHAN DILLENBECK) I THINK IT BUILDS GOOD
CHARACTER IN YOU AND LIKE IF YOU CAN ACT THAT WAY THEN MAYBE YOU’LL BE A ROLE MODEL TO
SOMEONE ELSE AND THEY CAN ACT LIKE THE WAY YOU DO AND IT WILL BE A CHAIN EFFECT FOR EVERYONE. (HELENE) YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT WE R 3C’S
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM ONLINE AT WER3C.ORG. THIS SEGMENT WAS PART OF OUR ONGOING “NEED
TO KNOW” SERIES CALLED “AMERICAN GRADUATE CHAMPIONS.” WE’RE HIGHLIGHTING INDIVIDUALS
AND ORGANIZATIONS HELPING AREA KIDS SUCCEED ON THE JOURNEY FROM PRE-SCHOOL TO GRADUATION.
TO LEARN MORE GO TO WXXI.ORG/GRAD. AND THAT’S IT FOR THIS EDITION OF NEED TO
KNOW. I’M HELENE BIANDUDI HOFER. THANK YOU FOR TUNING IN TONIGHT AND THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND
ON WXXI-TV. AND BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE SHOW OR YOUR FAVORITE STORIES FROM THIS WEEK’S
EPISODE ONLINE. JUST GO TO WXXINEWS.ORG AND CLICK ON THE “NEED TO KNOW” LINK AT THE
TOP OF THE PAGE. HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.

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