Bucks-Mont Collaborative Virtual Community Summit

Our Evolving Journey: Adverse to Healing Community Environments

Thursday, May 19, 2022
Whova (Whova is a virtual event platform)

Summit Overview

As we deepen our understanding of Adverse Childhood and Community Experiences (ACES), how do we journey from adverse to healing community environments? How can we be a part of transformational social change that brings justice and healing? How do we find our own pace and place in this work?

We'll come together on May 19 to learn from leaders engaged in social change and community healing work, to deepen our relationships with one another, and to strengthen our readiness and commitment for the continued work ahead.

Thank you to our incredible speakers! We are deeply thankful for this day of learning and community with you. Review our Summit Speaker List!

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Registration is open! Register now for the May 19 summit.
We look forward to learning with you!View the Summit Agenda


Keynote Speakers

Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy - Back by Popular Demand!

Dr. Kenneth V. Hardy is the President of the Eikenberg Academy for Social Justice and Director of the Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York, NY. 

Dr. Hardy provides Racially Focused, Trauma Informed training, executive coaching, and consultation to a diverse network of individuals and organizations throughout the US and abroad. He is a former Professor of Family Therapy at both Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Syracuse University in New York, and has also served as the Director of Children, Families, and Trauma at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York.

He is the author of multiple books, including, Culturally Sensitive Supervision: Diverse Perspectives and Practical Applications; Promoting Culturally Sensitive Supervision: A Manual for Practitioners; Revisioning Family Therapy: Race, Class, and Gender; and Teens Who Hurt: Clinical Strategies for Breaking the Cycle of Youth Violence. Additionally, Dr. Hardy has appeared on ABC’s 20/20, Dateline NBC, PBS, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Rhonda V. Magee, MA, JD

Rhonda V. Magee is a Professor of Law, Mindfulness Teacher, and leading Antiracist, Social Justice and Equity Educator and Advocate.

Rhonda is a Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, and has spent more than twenty years exploring the intersections of anti-racist education, social justice, and contemplative practices.

She is the inaugural recipient of the Reed Smith Excellence in Wellbeing in Law Award (2022). A Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, she is a global/international Keynote speaker, mindfulness teacher, practice innovator, storyteller, and thought leader on integrating Mindfulness into Higher Education, Law and Social Justice. A student of a range of Buddhist traditions, she has served as an advisor to a range of leading mindfulness-based professional development organizations, including the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, the Brown Mindfulness Center, the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, and the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. 

Rhonda’s award-winning book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness, was named one of the top ten books released for the year by the Greater Good Science Center and received similar recognition by Psychology Today and the editors of Mindful.org.

Virtual Community Summit: Breakout Sessions

Presenters: Melissa McDermott, Training and Outreach Specialist, Keystone Crisis Intervention Team (KCIT) of NOVA Bucks, and Donna Welsh, MSW, Coordinator, KCIT of NOVA Bucks

Description: While the term self-care has been popularized and prescribed as the way to wellness and the solution for mitigating stress, another equally important part of the solution has been left unacknowledged. Community care is the other arm of wellness and can be defined as, “giving and receiving care in ways that support shared wellbeing and connectedness, particularly amidst shared struggles” (Brown).

Overall, wellness must then include community care as well as self-care. Community care is pertinent especially in times of trauma, when caring for self becomes difficult at a time when care is most needed. Prescribing self-care at this time is misguided at best, and at worst, can lead to a feeling of shame compounding the harm of the original stressor. In social justice movements, “community care means liberation for those of us who struggle alone, fearing the burden we place on others” (Jones, 2017). Community care can remove feelings of isolation and foster a sense of connectedness, which is one of the most, if not the most important factor in healing.

The KCIT team utilizes a community care approach called Group Crisis Intervention (GCI) to support crime victims and their communities throughout PA in their recovery from traumatic events. During this presentation, we will explain how trauma affects individuals and their communities and how KCIT can help. KCIT responds to any crime that thrusts a community into grief and crisis often leaving them wondering how their world will ever be okay again. We will provide case studies of responses given and the benefits provided to communities. We will also explain how to access this resource and underline the accessibility of this free service for all who reside in PA.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify the difference between self-care and community care and why both are important.
  • Participants will be able to identify the gap that exists in services after first responders leave the scene of a crime and that KCIT services work to address this gap.
  • Participants will be able to explain the Group Crisis Intervention response and how it can benefit communities.

Presenters: Sandra L. Bloom, MD, Founder, CREATING PRESENCE, and Associate Professor, Health Management and Policy, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University

Description: In this presentation, Dr. Sandra Bloom will describe her latest work, CREATING PRESENCE®, a new approach for creating trauma-responsive and trauma-resilient organizations. CREATING PRESENCE focuses on developing the ethical climate necessary to help people who have suffered moral injuries to heal, recover, and participate in a vital community. CREATING PRESENCE expands our current understanding of what it means for entire organizations to immerse themselves in understanding and responding to adversity, chronic and toxic stress and traumatic experiences. The most significant challenge in introducing an organizational approach is to get everyone in the environment aligned around a set of agreed upon, culturally relevant and trauma-informed values, knowledge, practice, and skills in a way that is economically feasible and logistically possible. Conveying scientifically based content is vitally important but so is the embedding of processes that allow diverse groups of people to unlearn habitual patterns, learn new patterns, and then apply that learning in a wide variety of complex situations. CREATING PRESENCE Implementation uses a hybrid approach, depending largely on distance learning and web-based consultation in order to make the adoption of this approach cost-effective.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define moral injury
  • Describe the values defined by the P.R.E.S.E.N.C.E. acronym
  • Emphasize trauma-informed leadership

Panel: This panel will include seven representatives who are serving on these committees and will explain the challenges and efforts to create a trauma-informed system within their specific focus area.

Prevention: Jeanine Lisitski, PhD, Chief Program Officer, Cora Services, Inc.

Juvenile Justice: Andrea Work, Director of Quality Assurance in Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Court Judges Commission

Policing: Chief Randy Cox of Somerset Borough

Courts: Hon. Kimberly Clark, President Judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Corrections: Kelly Evans, Deputy Secretary for Reentry for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Probation & Parole: Michael Harrison, Deputy Chief, Bucks County Probation & Parole

Reentry: El Sawyer, CEO & Founder, Media in Neighborhood Group

Panel Moderator: Rob Reed, Co-Chair, CJAT & Executive Deputy Attorney General for Special Initiatives

Description:  This panel will discuss the ongoing process of creating a trauma-informed Criminal Justice System in Pennsylvania.

As Background, in 2019, Governor Tom Wolf established the Office of Advocacy and Reform to create a trauma-informed Pennsylvania. At the outset, a group of 25 people across Pennsylvania were selected as a “Think Tank” to provide the foundation to achieve this PA goal, resulting in the report issued in July of 2020 that can be accessed via this link: Trauma Informed PA Plan (PDF)

In the fall of 2020, the initiative was renamed HEAL PA and 14 “Action Teams,” including the Criminal Justice Action Team (CJAT), were created to identify the specific actions and steps needed to create a trauma-informed PA. The focus of the CJAT was to bring together criminal justice professionals and others to create a trauma-informed criminal justice system throughout Pennsylvania. Meeting regularly for more than a year, 100 mostly volunteers from across Pennsylvania have come together to serve on six committees: Prevention, Juvenile Justice, Policing, Courts, Corrections, and Probation/ Parole & Reentry.

Learning Objectives: The goals of this panel discussion include:

  1. Explaining the ongoing process of becoming a trauma-informed Pennsylvania and creating a trauma-informed criminal justice system.
  2. Discussing why these goals are important.
  3. Providing an understanding of the many historical and current challenges in the criminal justice system and how applying a trauma-informed lens can help enhance outcomes.

Presenter: Kevin Mehnert, MBA, CWMF, Training Specialist, Children and Family Services, Merakey

Description: “Inviting our thoughts and feelings into awareness allows us to learn from them, rather than be driven by them.” This quote from Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, author of Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, succinctly sums up the power of mindfulness. Most of the time in our daily lives, we are instinctively reacting to unconscious, automatic activities of the mind and nervous system. Anxieties, fears, attitudes, beliefs and biases developed through our life experiences, all live in ingrained neural networks, lurking below the level of consciousness awareness, driving our thoughts, feelings, and actions. In this experiential workshop, participants will explore neuroscientifically-based mindful cultivation practices that strengthen emotional intelligence, promote personal and interpersonal well-being, and ultimately empower us to build healing communities.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the defining characteristics of mindfulness.
  2. Explain how stress physiology relates to emotional dysregulation and influences interpersonal interactions.
  3. Explain how mindfulness practices build emotional intelligence and promote personal and interpersonal well-being
  4. Utilize neuroscientifically-based mindfulness practices to self-regulate one’s own physiology and cultivate personal/interpersonal well-being.
  5. Envision how mindfulness practices can be used to develop trauma-informed organizational cultures and healing communities.

Presenter: Kenneth V. Hardy, PhD, President, Eikenberg Academy for Social Justice and Director, Eikenberg Institute for Relationships in New York, NY

Description: In times of great racial turmoil, turbulence, and strife there is always a population of committed and conscientious individuals outside of the targeted racial group who aspire to be allies in the struggle for racial and social justice. Being an effective cross-racial ally requires more than having good intentions or possessing a passionate desire to make a difference. At its core it is less concerned about what ones says, or aspires to be, and more about the actions that one ultimately takes. Being an effective cross-racial ally requires knowing thy self as a racial being as well as developing mastery of a skillset that is germane to having intense, complicated, and nuanced conversations about race and racism.

This session will conduct a comprehensive exploration of the salient issues and pitfalls that often impede the ability of the well-intentioned aspiring ally from becoming and being an effective cross-racial ally. Special attention will be devoted to identifying the steps and strategies for becoming and being an effective cross-racial ally.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To provide participants with strategies for becoming effective cross-racial allies;
  2. To provide strategies for challenging and overcoming personal barriers (such as white fragility) that serve as roadblocks to becoming and being an effective cross-racial ally;
  3. To provide strategies for enhancing racial literacy as tool for fortifying effective cross-racial liaisons.

Facilitators: Kevin Jones, MS, Lecturer, IIRP Graduate School and Mary Jo Hebling, MS, Dean of Continuing Education and Faculty Lecturer, IIRP Graduate School  (International Institute for Restorative Practices Graduate School)

Description: Help your community gain a shared understanding of collective harms. Our communities need opportunities to process the personal and collective impact of emotionally charged events. From the effects of COVID and racism to natural disasters and sexual abuse, we seek healthy forums in which to express our feelings and truly hear one another.

With roots in indigenous cultures around the world, listening circles provide people an opportunity to speak and listen to each other in an atmosphere of safety, decorum and equality.

Listening circles emphasize storytelling for cultivating empathy. To help people gain a shared sense of understanding and emotional connection, these circles can be used in communities, workplaces, schools, organizations, neighborhoods, universities and families. Listening circles are not dialogues or discourse but a time to speak and to listen. During this gathering, you will participate in a listening circle on racism.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Apply storytelling for cultivating empathy.
  2. Gain a shared sense of understanding and emotional connection on the topic of racism.

Trainers: Andrés Celin and Denise Alessandrine, Trainers, Lakeside Global Institute

Description: We cannot escape the fact that COVID-19 is real and has impacted millions of individuals and systems. The most distressing, lingering symptoms are neurological. In times of fear, stress, uncertainty, and loss we can benefit from exploring what has taken place, is going on, and may continue in the future. We can benefit from knowing we have been experiencing something together and feel less alone in facing these challenges. This 3-hour workshop explores our shared experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic through trauma lenses to bring meaning from our experiences. Participants appreciate the impact of a pandemic, both positive and negative, and are encouraged to expand their perspective and skills.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Connect with others related to shared experiences
  2. Apply the LGI Steps of Growth
  3. Appreciate positive and negative impact of a pandemic
  4. Promote self-care and care for others
  5. View brief history of pandemics
  6. Explore impact of pandemic on the brain
  7. Acknowledge grief and loss
  8. View pandemics through trauma lenses
  9. Identify collective trauma
  10. Recognize power of altruism
  11. Identify where we have power