Donation to Support SJSD Students Facing Trauma

Donation to Support SJSD Students Facing Trauma
Posted on 09/29/2020
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(September 29, 2020) - Three St. Joseph Rotary Clubs came together for the first time to provide funding for professional training and supplies to create programs designed to help children with reducing the impact of trauma, allowing them to better focus and be successful in school. 

A check was presented to the district officials at a special ceremony at Mark Twain Elementary on Sept. 29. The funding will go to support B.A.R.K. (Behavior Animals Rescuing Kids) Therapy Dogs, a new program currently operating at two SJSD schools, Mark Twain and Coleman Elementary schools. These specially trained dogs have proven to be a valuable resource by promoting social and emotional well-being among children and adults.

Nearly half of the nation's children have experienced at least one or more types of serious childhood trauma, according to a new survey on adverse childhood experiences by the National Survey of Children's Health (NHCS). This impacts nearly 35 million children nationwide. Even more concerning, nearly a third of U.S. youth age 12-17 have experienced two or more types of childhood adversity that are likely to affect their physical and mental health as adults. Prevention, trauma-healing and resiliency programs may mitigate the impact of childhood trauma, which can include chronic disease and mental illness.

In May 2016, Missouri passed legislation to begin addressing this national understanding that changes must be made to help children who have experienced trauma. Every school in the state of Missouri is now required to receive information from The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on becoming trauma informed. 

The St. Joseph School District began work to become trauma informed in 2009, prior to this mandate, and won “National School District of the Year” for bringing information from the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children to the St. Joseph community. Since receiving recognition, the district has expanded the scope of their work in this area, including Trauma 101 training presentations for all teachers & staff, not just school counselors and social workers, at every school in the district, comfort corners, Rotary Recovery Rooms and the new therapy dog program. 

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