Community Building

Piloting a movement, together

When you follow a river to its source, follow the water’s path upstream and take the largest of the tributaries each time the river splits.

This gives you a unique perspective, in that you can witness how the river, at its current size, is built of smaller tributaries.  These tributaries, some permanent springs and other rain gullies and other seasonal contributors, aren’t just part of the river—they are the river.  If you follow the river to its source, you will learn that each river starts off as a tiny stream or freshwater spring; the river only later grows larger as other tributaries feed into it. Each one of us is that stream; each one of us has the potential of that spring that starts the river off.  It is only through the power of others, flowing together in unison, that we can be a river. The strength of a great river cannot be ignored—it shapes the landscape around it and brings significant change. We must unite, have a shared vision, and be that river. – the Druid’s Garden Blog

What gives me hope?  Knowledge that can transform how we’re in relationship with each other and how we love and support children and their families. The ACE Study provides insight that, when applied, supported and coordinated can transform not only those relationships but our community.

I’m also hopeful as I see evidence of efforts to become a more “healing” community all over Battle Creek and Calhoun County.  I find the river metaphor appropriate when it comes to our current reality.  While efforts may not appear as aligned and coordinated as possible; all of the efforts are flowing in unison.

Learning my personal ACE score was a pivotal moment in my life. What it provided me was insight into not only why I am who I am, but what happened – in both good and not-so-good ways – that made me who I am.  It informed how I reflect on my parenting and relationships (both personal and professional). And this new-found awareness of brain development and what it takes to overcome or mediate the impact of toxic stress in our bodies, especially the bodies of children, now fuels so much of what motivates me.  As I’ve learned more about how universal ACEs are across every demographic, I’m now convinced that we can approach our collective work with an assumption that if we create a system that works for those with high ACE scores, we will meet the needs of everyone.

BC Pulse was born of a desire to create the space necessary for us to learn together, identify strategies that would support that learning and a supportive structure to ensure that we are all moving in the same direction.  All in an effort to shift community conditions in ways that create better outcomes for children and their families.  We’ve made significant progress in those efforts.

So as we’ve learned together about the impact of trauma/toxic stress and what we can do about it, BC Pulse has positioned itself to provide the necessary tools (data collection, training coordination, peer learning opportunities, communications) to ensure that we’re all moving in the same direction as it relates to supporting families with young children.  While not everything appears connected yet, I’m hopeful that as time goes on, the river will become more obvious to others.