Childhood trauma training offered

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland Dr. Ronald Dwinnells, founder of the Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation, standing, speaks with LaShanda Sugg of Finding Hope Consulting, left, Danette Palmer of Homes for Kids, Kenya Franklin of Trumbull County Combined Health District, and Tim Schaffner of Trumbull County Children Services, during a trauma training conference Friday at Leo’s Ristorante for area health care providers, educators and medical professionals.

HOWLAND — The story of a mother who dealt with her young child wanting to die because he felt he was causing problems between his parents was a strong message shared with more than 120 people who gathered last week for a childhood emotional trauma conference.

Parent Chandra Kelly shared her passion for wanting to help her 5-year-old son who she said was being abused and neglected by her ex-husband and faced many problems.

“It’s horrible to have to watch your child go through this and not being able to change the circumstances. I was able to help him to cope and how we dealt with it. I want to help others so no children fall through the cracks,” she said.

More then 120 mental health professionals, community educators, social and behavioral counselors and health care providers attended Friday’s conference at Leo’s Ristorante.

Dr. Ronald Dwinnells, founder of the Butterflies and Hope Memorial Foundation, which provided funds for the event, said it is important for physicians and medical providers to do intervention to help children who are at risk.

“When you have 15 minutes to see a patient, you can’t spend an hour talking about depression. We need to ask ‘How are you doing?’ It is important to diagnose the children who are at risk as early as possible and do intervention. To be a good doctor, you have to have a good heart,” he said.

Dwinnells spoke on the physician’s role and the medical provider’s role in trauma, stressing the need for “passion” in what each person does.

“The key today for any of you is to have passion. As leaders we sometimes get involved in so much else, such as personnel issues, we neglect it. In order to be a good leader and effective leader, you have to be passionate. There is a quote ‘If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you to your purpose’,” Dwinnells said.

Margie Alexander, coordinator of Family and Children First Council, which hosted the event, said event speakers focused on recognizing the emotional and physical toll of trauma and how to best address it.

“Since 2012, we have been working to inform the community on the effects of trauma, especially in childhood. The different speakers shared on how to address trauma. Now that we know the effects of trauma how do we work with families and children to address it,” Alexander said. “We’re excited to take another step in developing a trauma-responsive community, a community that understands the effects of childhood trauma and provides the supports needed for recovery.”

Trauma specialists with Finding Hope Consulting also provided information to the attendees. Dwinnells said it is important to create a trauma-responsive community.

Matt Kresic, CEO for Homes for Kids, said he and the staff are learning more about how to deal with children who have experienced traumatic situations and help them to be successful.

“The training is especially helping our newer staff,” he said.

Jodie Milhoan, facilitator of Trumbull County’s Family Dependency Treatment Court, said she and others in the courts have to work with families who have faced traumatic situations and how to best resolve conflicts.

Edward Bolino, supervisor of outreach services for Valley Counseling, said the information he obtained will not only help his staff but also the young clients.

Dwinnells two years ago created the foundation after his mother died. Dwinnells said he plans to continue his goal of climbing 14 tall mountains before he turns 70, including Mount Kiliminjaro in Africa this June.

His foundation “Climbing For Hope” raises awareness that helps children dealing with trauma.

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