Today, I was privileged to attend the Stoneleigh Foundation’s Symposium: From Risk to Resiliency. This is an annual event to deal with the issues of violence against children in the City of Philadelphia. Key professionals who deal with some of our children’s and adolescent’s deepest problems were presenting and attending.
Overview: Stoneleigh Foundation Symposium
Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia provided the keynote address, and other professionals both from Philadelphia and Boston also spoke. As you may know, cities like Philadelphia and Boston have some significant youth violence issues, but the goal was to attempt to grasp the magnitude of issues we have among our children including their mental health.
I was extremely impressed by the emphasis on helping kids discover some of the reasons they are participating in abnormal or dangerous behavior because this is truly their process, their learning curve, their consequences and their journey of truth.
The symposium focused on the stress urban youth are under and the undeniable trauma they face in so many neighborhoods, where they could become numb or accepting of the pain they are facing.
While that stress can be the prompter for kids to make better choices, there is a need for a relationship with a key adult mentor. The mentor must not tell them what to do but help them discover how to manage their stress without succumbing to the pressures in their very challenging lives.
We certainly have a long way to go to learn how to help our kids to become resilient.
I am still amazed that although we know so much about what leads to mental health issues, issues that are compounded by the trauma that our kids face, and yet the indicators to prevent violence seem not to acknowledge much of the current research. Many systems still function in the same traditional, unhelpful ways.
But as amazed as I am, I am more encouraged because of symposiums like this one. This symposium is to help professionals deal with the root cause of our youth in crisis, to help them build resilience. We need new ideas, new perspectives and ways to build relationships with kids that will empower them with hope and skills so they may discover a new personal journey–one built on confidence with connection to someone who truly cares.
In so doing, I am confident new opportunities will rise to overcome serious obstacles and reduce trauma, stress, mental illness and other difficulties that our youth are facing each and every day.
Kudos to the Stoneleigh Foundation for hosting such an important symposium on one of the key issues in our urban communities.