Youth held space to heal the pain of adults
SUNRIVER; October 2019: Many of the attendees of the youth-facilitated "Nothing About Me Without Me" workshop thought they would be getting only information about how to work with traumatized youth. But, the adults in the room were also invited to recognize and own the ways that unprocessed trauma shows up in their work and family relationships and to understand how their emotional triggers interact with and also trigger trauma-based behaviors in their students and in their own children and other family members.
"This, by far, was the most impactful session I have attended," noted attendee Jeremy Birch. "The messages, vulnerability, and realness of what was shared were so powerful and created opportunities for me to reflect on my practices, my personal life, my own trauma, in ways in which I'm helping or harming the students I work with on a daily basis."
Added attendee Allyson Dubuque: "I learned that I need to understand and respond to my own trauma backpack before working with my young people. Thank you so much. Your work has been the highlight of this conference for me and exactly met my needs for serving my community and students in a more compassionate and meaningful way. I am excited to follow your work and learn from your stories. THANK YOU!"
Here is some of the other nuggets of truth that attendees reflected on after the workshop:
"I learned much more about how to approach things from a perspective of forward-focusing resiliency."
"I still have a lot of anger I have to work through."
"This reinforced the 'fake hierarchy stuff" and faking being OK are dangerous. Checking in with humility and being a tool for youth and doing my own work are key."
"I learned that I need to understand and respond to my own trauma backpack before working with my young people. Thank you so much. Your work has been the highlight of this conference for me and exactly met my needs for serving my community and students in a more compassionate and meaningful way. I am excited to follow your work and learn from your stories. THANK YOU!"
"Acknowledging and working through my own traumas to be able to serve my youth as best I can. Listening to the things my youth aren't saying."
"The space must be created and provided for youth to show us as their most true and authentic selves. And adults can't fear that; they need to foster that for themselves."
"Knowing your own experience is critical."
"Be an ally, not a fixer."
"So much learning how we need to acknowledge and be aware of our own trauma before we can help others with theirs. Letting youth speak and not assuming what they need. Owning our actions."
"Timely reminder to recognize and assess my own trauma responses and the importance of helping the adults I work with to do the same in order to ensure we are not adding additional harm to the youth's experience."
"My body learned and I'm trusting my brain caught a thing or two, too. Best kind of learning."
"Working through trauma and pain cannot be in independence. It's a community practice."
"I learned tools to help heal the generational trauma in my family. I learned how to properly support my children. Thank you!"
"I learned how our own trauma completely affects our parenting. We need to be aware of how we are feeling or bringing into a room or home, because we can transfer our energy to those people."
"I must leave space for emotional response. My trauma response is to fix. This is not healthy for everyone and I must take an internal evaluation of what this does."
"I was so impressed by the presenters and what they brought to the space. The training provided some great tools to recognize trauma in children and how to engage them in a way to work through it."
"It's OK to be vulnerable and show young people how to feel and express our own trauma."