This week our Executive Director, Jenny Thompson, was a guest speaker on a panel for the ACEs Action Alliance. Acronyms being what they are, let me explain just how important this one really is…
ACEs stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences. At first this may seem like too broad of a spectrum to really mean anything, but there are very clear definitions of what ACEs are and they are as heavy and real as you may expect: physical abuse, criminal member of household, emotional neglect, just to name a few. The impact of ACEs is overwhelming. Being exposed to ACEs can lead to social, emotional, and physical impairments, early engagement in risky behaviors, and can even contribute to early death due to these factors and more.*
But here is the good news, and why Jenny was invited to share on the ACEs Action Alliance panel: “stable, nurturing relationships with caring adults can prevent or reverse the damaging effects of this toxic stress.”** Mentoring is a big part of PAL’s programming and this is one of the core reasons why. By providing a mentor — a caring, steady, influence — for the youth in our community, we are fighting the good fight against ACEs. And, we are seeing results.
Nationally, there is a 46% reduction of juvenile-related crime and victimization among youth who have become involved with PAL; a huge number drop in regards to early risk behaviors! Also, there is a documented 28% increase in grade performance among PAL youth. So not only are participants lowering their problem behaviors, they are also learning to commit to bettering themselves and thriving within their challenged environments.*** The chart below shows even more of the positive attributes of what can happen when a youth has an active, positive mentor in their lives.
Results such as these are thanks to steady mentors and other community members who make PAL’s programming possible. Cops who are in classrooms on a regular basis, are working weekly with small groups, or are out coaching and refereeing sports tournaments are all strong positive role models for youth and are actively defeating what could be the harmful results of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
If you want to learn more about ACEs or find out how to get involved in our programming to help reverse their effects, feel free to contact us via our website by following this link: http://vancouverpal.org/contact/.