Who We Are/Our Mission

The Rural Resiliency Community Alliance is a volunteer non-profit organization established to educate our local communities about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and childhood trauma. Our mission is to raise community resilience by empowering both children and adult to develop, evaluate, and sustain resources to combat ACEs’ potentially lifelong negative effects.

What Are ACEs?

ACEs or Adverse Childhood Experiences is a term derived from a 1995-1997 study by Dr. Robert Anda and Dr. Vincent Felliti. Anda and Felliti asked a group of over 17,000 middle-class adults receiving their physicals ten questions about their life experiences before age 17. The questions dealt with such things as abuse, parental substance abuse, and other difficulties within the family. For every answer of “yes,” they added a point to the patient’s “ACE score.” The ACEs study goal was to determine if the patient’s negative experiences as children correlated with later health outcomes. The study determined that a person with an ACE score* of 4 or more is at significantly higher risk for 7/10 of the leading causes of death in the United States.

*Do you know your ACE score? If not you can take this short ACEs quiz to find out.

What is Resilience?

As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resilience is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” In the context of ACEs, that can be a tall order, but there are a few things to know that can get you started:

  1. There is no shame in having an ACE score- According to the CDC, about 61% of American adults have experienced at least one ACE. Over 15% have experienced four or more.
  2. ACEs are everywhere- In studies done by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) across 25 states, the patients were diverse in race, gender, age, financial stability, and many other factors. Despite their differences, the percentage of people with one or more ACEs stayed about the same.
  3. ACEs are NOT a death sentence- Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the Surgeon General of California reminds us that “…ACEs convey risk, not destiny… “. Though being aware of risk can be frightening, it can also be an opportunity to assess your choices and make healthy adjustments to avoid ACEs potential adverse outcomes.
  4. It is never too late to seek help– Renowned psychologist Danielle Render Turmaud put it this way in Psychology Today. “Although the consequences of trauma are lasting, the powerful thing is that it is never too late to begin recovery. It is true that the longer trauma goes unaddressed (especially for children) the more challenging recovery may be, but it is never too late for someone to begin.”

*If you or someone you know is suffering from ACEs’ effects and don’t know where to find help, please visit our resources page.

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