A solid familial foundation is imperative in the development and future success of children and youth. Year after year, Crossnore Communities for Children of Winston-Salem works diligently to mindfully place children with foster families based on the specific needs of the child and family. To combat the negative effects of multiple placements in foster care for a prolonged amount of time, it is imperative that organizations such as Crossnore find the perfect fit for children and families until a child is adopted or reunited with his or her birth family. Crossnore’s recruitment team and licensing workers are well adept at speaking with prospective foster families and providing monthly information sessions open to the public in order to provide clarity on what various Crossnore programs entail.
This spring, team members at Crossnore Communities for Children and its Center for Trauma Resilient Communities (CTRC) were elated to receive a $4,000,000 ReCast: Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Crossnore’s four-year We Heal Together project will utilize the grant beginning in October. We Heal Together seeks to employ a community-driven implementation of strategies to build trauma-resilient communities, primarily in East Winston-Salem neighborhoods. Crossnore strongly believes that embedding these strategies deep within the community of East Winston-Salem is imperative, as it fosters longevity for tools and practices that eventually become the community’s framework for mitigating trauma and violence afflicting the East Winston community. The We Heal Together project will tackle the root causes of violence, as opposed to solely handling the aftermath of traumatic situations, which often leave destruction in their wake. By establishing itself in the community through working collaboratively across systems and agencies, and by working alongside community stakeholders, We Heal Together will identify new opportunities for support and sustainable change.
In applying for the grant, Executive Director for the CTRC, Lina Pasquale, explains that Crossnore teamed up with Action4Equity and Forsyth Futures in drafting a proposal that aligned with Crossnore and Winston-Salem’s community efforts. Historically, federal grants have typically been given to large educational institutions conducting research or state and local government organizations. Although Crossnore’s CTRC has been working in various pockets across the nation for the last five years, its name is still relatively unknown outside of North Carolina. Receiving a competitive SAMHSA grant of such a large sum of money is quite the feat for Crossnore, but warranted nonetheless.
According to Lina, “Having ample funds for the We Heal Together project is nothing short of exciting because this project will be a true depiction of our mission in action. This grant will allow us to have the resources and support needed to further community resilience and build upon the current strengths and assets in East Winston-Salem.”
We Heal Together’s approach is two-pronged. It will respond to community stress currently occurring in the East Winston community, primarily due to gun violence, and will also work from a strength-based and asset-driven perspective with community members to leverage assets and provide practices that community members can utilize in working with trauma-exposed youth in the community. Additionally, We Heal Together strives to hold learning engagements and educational events with first responders regarding youth mental health first aid, risk factors for trauma exposure and improvements in community outreach.
Statistically, individuals 18 years or younger exposed to a variety of household dysfunctions or community violence have higher rates of health risk behaviors (everything from unwanted pregnancies, STDs, high-risk behaviors such as reckless driving, violence, etc.). Crossnore acknowledges that by fostering positive relationships within families and creating opportunities to work within that family construct, neural networks of connectivity, adaptability and attachment can be reestablished in order to help heal the wounds trauma leaves behind.
Throughout We Heal Together, Crossnore will be working with eight backbone agencies within the East Winston community that will serve as leaders in the community. CTRC will hold open community sessions, wellness events, introductory overviews and workshops for anyone in the public who wishes to attend. Community needs and strengths assessments will be conducted and used to gather more information on the community’s current state of needs and implement proper tools and strategies.
Interested in learning more about Crossnore Communities for Children and the We Heal Together project? Visit Crossnore’s website at crossnore.org for more information, call 336.721.7600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.