Pathways to Education Kingston recognized for promoting community resilience
July 31, 2023
A team from Pathways to Education Kingston has received an international award for developing innovative, trauma-informed training programs available to community organizations in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) region.
Called Teach Resilience, the three-year-old educational social enterprise fosters resilience building at an individual, community and system level. Last week, it was recognized by the U.S.-based Community Resilience Initiative (CRI) with their Community Resilience in Action Award – the first Canadian group to be so honoured.
“Your efforts in promoting community resilience have been truly inspiring, and we are delighted to recognize your contributions in this field,” said CRI Executive Director Rick Griffin, at a presentation in Roanoke, VA. “Your innovative initiatives, perseverance, and dedication have demonstrated the transformative power of community-driven approaches to building resilience.”
Pathways Program Manager Roger Romero accepted the award with Trauma Responsive Team Leads (TRTLs) Stephanie Wight, Garry Castle and Kara Fry. Noting that more than 2,000 people from KFL&A educational, social service and community groups have already attended Pathways training sessions, he added: “We’re really excited to be moving trauma-response work forward, in our own area and beyond.”
The impetus for this program came from viewing a documentary, Paper Tigers, about a “last stop” high school in Walla Walla, Washington where students were sent when struggling in the regular system, recalls Romero. The principal had attended a neuroscience conference that detailed how adversity in childhood affects long-term health and social outcomes, and decided to replace his school’s punitive approach with more supportive measures. The results were overwhelmingly positive.
“It was the same kind of approach we were taking at Pathways – focusing on relationships and connecting with young people in a different way than the traditional systems,” says Romero. ““We knew at the time that our methods were different, but we didn’t know the science behind it or have a formalized structure and language to describe it.”
Through a grant from the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area, Pathways was able to book training for several staff members with the international Community Resilience Initiative. Revenue from the Teach Resilience sessions is reinvested in Pathways to Education’s local programming to deal with budget reduction issues, as a true “social enterprise,” says Romero.
In October 2023, a Kingston symposium for educators, service providers, community members and decision-makers will focus on using the trauma-informed approach to build resilience across KFL&A. “When people go to different agencies across the community, we want them to experience relational, healing interactions,” says Romero. “Neuroscience proves that resiliency comes from the community, rather than the individual. People can’t pull themselves up without supportive systems.”
More details about the Teach Resilience program and how to arrange training is available at: teachresilience.ca