On Saturday April 21, 2018, Jenny King hosted a CFFACE vendor table at the 12th Annual Prevent Child Abuse Conference where over 100 Cumberland county community members came together. The conference took place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Cumberland County Department of Social Services in Fayetteville, North Carolina. In addition to CFFACE, vendors for this conference included Cumberland County Guardian Ad Litem Program, Cumberland County Health Department, Partnership for Children, Army Community Services (ACS), Alliance Behavioral Health, and Cumberland County Department of Social Services. Food and refreshments were provided to those attending the conference as well.
The documentary, RESILIENCE: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope by James Redford, provided focus for participants as they completed individual ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) surveys, viewed the documentary, and engaged in a discussion with key community leaders who were part of a panel of speakers. The panel discussion focused on challenges that the Cumberland County community is experiencing with their children and the ways that the community is working together to address these challenges and improve the lives of the families, children, and youth in their community. Panel members included representatives from local law enforcement, childcare agencies, and schools.
Following the panel discussion, participants in this conference had the opportunity to listen to the personal story, a story of resilience, from a family member in their community. The audience was captivated and supportive of the speaker as she detailed the challenges and adversities she experienced as a child and the impact it had on her as an adult. She spoke honestly to the group attending about how the presence of some protective factors, key people, and supports in her life assisted her in being resilient as an adult. Her story of resilience left a powerful feeling of hope and strength with the people in the room and they gave her a standing ovation at the completion of her talk.
The focus of this conference really speaks to the efforts and commitment of the community in Cumberland County who has been working since 2013 on creating a community wide plan for families and children living there. The plan centers on strengthening protective factors to make prevention efforts, education, and family support services accessible to all families and children. The committee working on this plan is SOAR- Strengths in Overcoming Adversity through Resiliency. In November 2017, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners approved the community wide plan.
For more information on the efforts and next steps for the SOAR group, please click here.