Community Partners – Calmer Choice
December 21, 2021
At Children’s Cove, our team members work to support children and families through incredibly difficult situations. For those familiar with our work, and understanding the impacts of child sexual abuse, a frequent question our team members receive is “how do you do it?” There is an unspoken acknowledgement that for those in the professions such as law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, doctors and CNAs, mental health professionals and child advocacy center staff pay a toll for their roles in providing that service. Either witnessing the physical impact of trauma, or experiencing it second hand, the vicarious trauma and secondary traumatic stress is incredibly high.
For many, acknowledging this impact can be seen as a weakness. Either due the culture of the organization / field, or the personal implications of stating “I am having a hard time with this.” However, at Children’s Cove, we address secondary traumatic stress, burnout, and self-care right in the interview process. And the conversation is continued throughout the tenure of our team member at Children’s Cove. Addressing vicarious trauma effectively is incorporated in our requirements for national accreditation.
For the last few years, we incorporated several practices in the organization to address these issues as a part of our cases and include our multi-disciplinary partners as much as we can. However, over the last year we have looked for new ways to incorporate skills and self-care as we onboarded new staff members and look to the future. It was exciting for us to connect with Calmer Choice, which has started running programs with other child advocacy centers in the state, and with first responder agencies in our area.
Developing a mindfulness practice can have numerous benefits in everyday life.”
Founded in 2010 Calmer Choice is an innovative, one-of-a-kind non-profit organization that has operated in twenty-eight schools and more than a dozen community-based organizations across Cape Cod. Calmer Choice has become a thought leader in the practice of secular mindfulness in education and is increasingly viewed as a catalyst for creating positive change in schools. The framework that guides Calmer Choice programming is grounded in current academic and scientific research on the benefits of social emotional learning, coupled with mindful awareness training for cognitive, emotional, physical, and social well-being and health.
Calmer Choice has partnered with researchers from Tufts, Yale, MIT, and Harvard to study the impact of its program with over 2,000 students. Evaluations support the effectiveness of the program, as well as demonstrate the feasibility, efficacy, and applicability of teaching these skills in public schools. Their incredible program has impacted more than 38,500+ children in eight school districts, reaching approximately 20% of all students and families living on Cape Cod.
Beginning in January, Children’s Cove team members will begin an eight-week course with facilitators from Calmer Choice to develop a personal mindfulness practice. These skills can have numerous benefits in everyday life, such as reducing anxiety and stress, and increasing stress management supporting healthy relationships, increasing positivity and empathy, improving immune system function, focus, attention and enhancing resilience. These skills will be incorporated into our team response and debriefing of cases and to maintain the overall wellness of the organization. We are looking forward to this course, and the continued partnership with Calmer Choice on Cape Cod.
If you would like to increase your own mindfulness practices, or to learn more about the programs offered by Calmer Choice, they have a YouTube channel with guided mindfulness exercises with playlists for children (and adults.)