34.8 million US children are missing out on the wonder of childhood through abuse, neglect, domestic violence, parental mental illness, or parental substance abuse.
Regardless of race or economic background, nearly half of all American children are dealing with what pediatrician's are calling, "Toxic Stress."
TOXIC STRESS CAN HARM A CHILD’S DEVELOPING BRAIN AND BODY, IMPACTING THEM FOR LIFE
Unchecked, toxic stress can dysregulate a child's stress response and lead to life-long behavior problems, learning difficulties, and physical health issues.
According to StressHealth.org, kids who are exposed to very high doses of toxic stress without the support of a loving adult "can have more than double the lifetime risk of heart disease and cancer and a nearly 20-year difference in life expectancy. They’re also at greater risk for depression, obesity, substance abuse problems, smoking, lung problems, and teen pregnancy, along with other chronic illnesses down the road." This is why early intervention is critical.
Normal everyday stress, like starting a new daycare or taking a test at school. Stress hormones help the body do what’s needed in the moment, but once the event passes, our body goes back to its normal state.
More serious stress like an injury, immigration, or living through a natural disaster. A flood of powerful stress hormones help the body rise to the occasion. The presence of a caring and trusted adult offsets this rush, calming the child’s stress response, and building resilience.
Severe or long-lasting stress such as emotional or physical abuse, or neglect—without support from a caring and trusted adult. Powerful stress hormones overwhelm the child’s body and brain. This can result in lifelong issues with mental and physical health, as well as behavior.
TOXIC STRESS IS MULTIGENERATIONAL AND CAN IMPACT ENTIRE COMMUNITIES
When parents have experienced toxic stress themselves, it can be difficult for them to buffer their children against it. This creates a cycle of toxicity which can lead to something called, "Community Trauma."
With parents and children both suffering from toxic stress, community-based solutions are needed.
LOOK FOR THE GOOD PROJECT CREATES A SCHOOL CULTURE OF BELONGING AND MUTUAL SUPPORT
We work directly with elementary schools to improve the climate using a two-week, school-wide Gratitude Campaign. The student-led program is:
Easy to implement
Builds relationships between children and adults
The program is universal - affecting kids suffering from toxic stress as well as those on the opposite end of the spectrum, who may be struggling with the perfectionism that comes with privilege or opportunity.