Strengthening our next generation in the midst of trauma and division
June 19th, 2018 – Our community’s strength lies in our ability to care for the next generation and foster resilient, healthy young people who can make the world a better place. However, trauma and toxic stress – especially during the early childhood years that are critical for development – can have lifelong repercussions for our children’s ability to develop into healthy adults. Families in Vermont and throughout the country face challenges every day that impact this important time in a child’s life. And we all are responsible for changing that.
When a child doesn’t have healthy food at an early age, that stress factor that can impact brain development and affect that child for the rest of their life. When families are forced to separate and children must grapple with the devastating trauma of facing life without their parents, the damage done is incalculable. In light of current events in our nation that have been tearing families apart as they seek a better life in our country, it is important to consider the long-term consequences of what it means to inflict toxic stress and trauma on families and children. In this time of heartbreak and division, we must consider how we can each take action to ensure that children throughout our country can enjoy a healthy childhood that is free of stress and trauma.
At the Vermont Foodbank, we see our role in the complex puzzle of the early childhood experience as ensuring that families have access to enough food every day. By removing this one straightforward cause of stress, we can enable families to better focus on the other challenges they face. But we are providing just one piece of the help that families need to build a stress-free foundation for the next generation. Individuals, organizations, and our government all have roles to play in creating a place where all our children can thrive.
Picture the world you want our next generation to build. Now picture the world we need to provide for them as they grow so that they have the ability to achieve it. I encourage all of us to think about what actions we can take to help families and reduce toxic stress and trauma so that our next generation can be the one our world desperately needs.