Documentary Screening and Discussion of “Resilience” at the Avalon Theatre

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It’s natural for adults to reminisce about childhood being an idyllic time devoid of responsibilities and the pressures of adulthood. The reality, however, is another thing altogether.

In fact, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration’s 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, more than 46 percent of U.S. children under the age of 18 have experienced at least one traumatic event called adverse childhood experiences or ACEs. Nationally 21.7 percent of children under 18 have experienced at least two ACEs while in Maryland 15.4 percent of children have had at least two ACEs.

ACEs include a variety of traumatic events including parental divorce, physical and sexual abuse, witnessing violence or abuse and neglect. These events not only impact children while they are happening, but also well into adulthood where they can show up as physical or emotional conditions such as depression, alcoholism and substance abuse as well as chronic medical conditions like heart and liver diseases.

Award-winning filmmaker James Redford, director and co-producer of Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope.

The good news is that’s not the end of the story. Through child abuse prevention programs as well as teaching resilience skills, child advocates can help children and families heal thereby mitigating ACEs’ potential long-term affects.

This inspiring message is the theme of an upcoming film screening and discussion called “A Night of Hope,” which will take place on Thursday, April 18 at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E. Dover Street in Easton.

At the event, the film Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope will be shown at two screenings, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. The documentary is one hour long. The event is free. Reservations are required. To RSVP for the screening, visit bit.ly/2XUXmie. For more information, call (410) 770-5369 or email Cheryl.younker@maryland.gov. For more information on the film, visit https://kpjrfilms.co/resilience/.

The event will feature the film’s director James Redford who will lead discussions after both screenings. “We started making Resilience to make this science digestible and relevant to everyone, and to showcase some of the brave and creative individuals who are putting that science into action. There is a growing group of pediatricians, educators and communities who are proving that cycles of disease and adversity can be broken,” Redford says.

For Shari Blades, Assistant Director for Adult Services and Child Welfare, Talbot County Department of Social Services, watching the film triggered a personal aha moment. “Earlier this year I sat in the audience and watched Resilience and listened to a panel discussion afterwards,” says Blades, who is coordinating April’s event. “I knew then that we had to bring that message of hope to the Shore,” she adds.

Her colleague and Coordinator of the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center, Lauren Krasko agrees. “Each day we work as a multidisciplinary team to serve the needs of children and their families going through trauma. Healing from ACEs and providing the tools for families to better cope with challenges to mitigate the impact of ACEs are the way we can rewrite their stories,” she says.

“In addition,” says Linda Webb, Talbot County Department of Social Services Director, “we’d like to continue learning about how we can prevent adverse childhood experiences in the first place. Our goal in hosting the Night of Hope is to promote awareness about how, as a community, we can build resilience in children, families and, ultimately, in our community as a whole,” she adds.

Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Talbot County Department of Social Services will host A Night of Hope in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Talbot County Health Department, CASA of the Mid-Shore, For All Seasons, Mid Shore Behavioral Health, Talbot County Department of Emergency Services, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Talbot Partnership. The event is one of a series of events and activities happening in April to draw attention to National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Other National Child Abuse Prevention events being planned include a ribbon-hanging event at the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center, which will be held on Tuesday, April 2 at noon. During the event, CAC partners will tie 76 ribbons on a tree at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center, 219 S. Washington St., Easton. Each ribbon acknowledges a child served by the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) during the past year. After the event, the CAC will hold an open house with tours from 1 to 3 p.m.

In addition, every Thursday in April, Doc’s Sunset Grille, 104 W. Pier Street, Oxford, will donate 15 percent of all sales to the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center and Talbot Community Connections, a nonprofit arm of the Talbot County Department of Social Services.

Founded in 2003, the Talbot County Children’s Advocacy Center offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary responses to alleged incidences of child sexual and physical abuse. Housed at the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton, the CAC works in partnership with law enforcement agencies, the state’s attorney’s office, medical professionals and child advocates so that mid-shore children and families impacted by sexual or physical abuse can heal. For more information, visit talbotcac.org, call (410) 820-7141 or email or talbot.cac1@maryland.gov.

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