Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Trauma, Transformation and Triumph


April 14, 2014

Youth advocates, educators, elected officials, students and youth serving organizations are launching a national campaign to advocate for reform in youth service models.The kick-off event titled: Trauma, Transformation and Triumph will occur on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 2pm to 4pm at Virginia Avenue Park’s Thelma Terry Center in Santa Monica, Ca.

The program for the launch will feature presentations from young adults who overcame severe trauma in their lives to lead successful careers in education. “We can all draw inspiration from Angel Villasenor and Michelle Castillo. Their story of triumph over trauma is what every child in America facing similar circumstances needs to hear. As policy makers, educators, scholars and youth service providers we need to understand how trauma impacts the human experience so that our programs and policies are aligned with the reality of what children and families need to achieve well-being,” stated Oscar de la Torre, member SMMUSD Board of Education.

Participants will learn the theory and practice of Trauma Informed Care through video and power point presentations and will also hear from national advocate James Encinas who is leading a coast to coast bike ride to bring awareness to the issue.

“I’m riding because I believe that true correction involves personal growth that can lead to personal transformation. I believe that Trauma Informed Care policy measures will engender personal growth and educational development, ultimately rendering positive transformation”, stated James Encinas.

Departing from Santa Monica, James Encinas will be using Adventure Cycling map routes which will take him along the coast to San Diego. The Southern Tier route will take him to ( San Diego,CA to Tempe, AZ to El Paso TX onto Del Rio TX through Navasota TX to New Roads,LA) from Louisiana he’ll make his way to Alabama and pick up the Underground Railroad Passage Trail( Mobile,AL to Fulton,MS to Owensboro,KY to Milford OH to Erie, PA) and finish in Philadelphia the city of brotherly love! The national bike ride will take Mr. Encinas approximately 2 months to complete.

“My hope is that we bring awareness to the need for change in our approach to youth development, counseling and initiatives geared towards helping youth and families heal from past trauma so that people can free themselves and lead meaningful and corrected lives,” stated James Encinas.


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