A Night of Hope will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Milton Theatre. A screening of the award-winning documentary, "Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope," will be followed by a panel discussion with opportunity for questions.
Research has proven there is a dangerous biological syndrome caused by abuse and neglect in childhood. Laura Porter, co-founder of ACE Interface, said, "This is the biggest public health discovery we've ever seen."
Children & Families First seeks to prove there is hope. Over the past nine years, the agency has worked diligently to expand community awareness of adversity’s effects on brain development. CEO Leslie Newman shares her hope. She said, "Knowing that through thoughtful partnerships and collaboration, it is possible to stop the intergenerational cycles of abuse that lead to adverse health outcomes, and as a leading advocate around children's issues, Children & Families First is well positioned to energize the community for positive change."
"Resilience," a one-hour documentary directed by James Redford, reveals that toxic stress caused by adverse childhood experiences can trigger hormones that wreak havoc on the developing brains and bodies of children, impacting them for life and increasing their risk of disease, homelessness, prison time and even early death. Taking a step beyond problem identification, "Resilience" shares hope with the promising national movement to prevent childhood trauma, break cycles of adversity, and greatly improve the health and social fabric of future generations.
That hope will grow as attendees hear directly from a panel of five Delaware professionals actively engaged in the movement, including these:
Dr. Lee Pachter, DO, is a pediatrician and director of Community & Clinical Integration in the Department of Pediatrics at Nemours A.I. duPont Hospital for children, and a professor of pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. Pachter's research has focused on the sociocultural determinants of child health and healthcare, childhood stress and adversity, health disparities, racial discrimination and child health, and children's behavioral health. He is co-chair of the Philadelphia ACEs Task Force, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
Dr. Uday Jani, MD, FACP, is a board-certified internist in private practice at Shore View Personalized Care in Milton. He is fellowship trained in integrative medicine by Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned founder of integrative medicine. Jani said, "Health is a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." As an integrative medicine practitioner, he takes into account all factors that influence health including body, mind, spirit, lifestyle and community, blending the best of traditional, integrative and functional medicine.
Dr. Julius Mullen Sr., ED, NCC, LCMPH, is a nationally certified mental health counselor and chief clinical officer overseeing the behavioral health, child welfare and education departments of Children & Families First Delaware. Mullen is co-creator of the IMPACT Leadership youth mentoring program which encompasses two gender-based programs, MAN UP and UNIQUE!, and is a professor of mental health, school counseling, psychology and social science at Wilmington University. Mullen is an expert in trauma-informed care and brain science, believing all persons are one caring adult away from living out their dreams regardless of adversity.
Pastor Michael Bell serves in the mental and behavioral health field providing therapeutic services to children, youth and their families as senior pastor at two Delaware churches, privately as a life and relationship coach, and employed by the Woodbridge School District in a newly instituted therapeutic classroom. As a former teacher in the private sector, his expertise was sought by the State of Delaware to develop therapeutic classrooms in all districts. Bell said, "People of integrity are really the richest people on earth," mentoring and encouraging young men to be men of character despite past missteps and ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences.
Whitney Price, MEd, is a former special education teacher and current school counselor with a bachelor of science degree in behavioral science, a master of education in special education, a master of education in school counseling, and a certificate of advanced study in school counseling. Price works at G.W. Carver Academy, an alternative placement within the Indian River School District for students classified with learning, behavioral and/or emotional disabilities. She sees firsthand the effects ACEs have in the school setting, impacting learning and emotional regulation for her students.
Laura Rimmer, development officer with Children & Families First, said, "It is not only an honor to feature the knowledge of our panelists, but more importantly, their range in practice areas speaks to the fact that only together can we ensure the well-being of our children; only together can we turn hope into reality for future generations."
Although the event is free and open to the public, reservations are required to ensure seating. For more information or to reserve seats, go to www.cffde.org, email Laura.Rimmer@cffde.org or call 302-604-6277.