Building Resilience in Child and Youth-Serving Organizations

The Bounce Coalition recently wrapped up its year-long work with two youth-serving organizations in the Greater Louisville area. With support from the C. E. and S. Foundation, Bounce provided training and technical assistance to the YMCA of Greater Louisville’s Infant, Toddler and Preschool Program and School-Age Child Care Program (K-8), and Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana’s legacy clubs in the Newburg, Parkland, and Shawnee neighborhoods to become trauma-informed organizations – serving children and families through self-sustaining healing-centered policies and practices.

Kids today face a growing number of stressful and traumatic experiences throughout their lifetimes. Kentucky is among the top 14 states leading the nation in childhood adversity, with 22 percent of children having experienced two or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). These conditions have only been exacerbated by the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustices that our country has faced over the past year and a half.

Bounce was able to work with each agency to assess where they were in their respective journeys to become trauma-informed agencies, using our Organizational Readiness Assessment. The results of this assessment allowed Bounce to co-create year-long program plans for each agency that outlined the type of trainings and technical assistance they would receive based on their agency’s needs.

Over the 12+ months of work, Bounce hosted 8 rounds training for staff and board members of Bounce 101: Intro to ACEs and Trauma-Informed Principles with 158 trainees and Bounce 102: Building Resilience with 143 trainees. When asked, “How would you describe your skill level in building resiliency skills BEFORE this Bounce training and AFTER this training?” 55% of trainees rated their skills as “Good” or “Excellent” before the training compared to 88% after the 101 and 102 trainings.

Additionally, Bounce trained 67 agency staff and board members on its newest curriculum Racial Trauma and Healing. When asked, “How would you describe your knowledge of racial trauma BEFORE this training and AFTER this training?” 76% of trainees considered their knowledge to have been “adequate” or “extensive” before the training compared to 100% of trainees indicating their knowledge was “adequate” or “extensive” after the training.

Bounce also trained agency staff and board members on a variety of supplemental trainings, including (a) Self-Care: More Than Deep Breathing, Essential Oils, and Chocolate; (b) Resiliency Building and Strategy Practice; (c) Effective Problem-Solving Teams; and (d) De-escalation Strategies. Fifty-nine parents and caregivers were trained on Self-Care and Building on Your Child’s Strengths.

Most importantly, each agency now has 8 Certified Bounce Trainers on staff. These staff went through Bounce’s three-day Bounce University train the trainer program and are now able to continue to bring Bounce’s foundation training (Bounce 101 and Bounce 102) to new staff.

In addition to training, Bounce provided technical assistance to each organization in the form of monthly meetings to discuss organizational goals, review organizational and staff level evaluation results, facilitate organizational action planning, and conduct policy review. Bounce also brought together staff and leaders from each organization to engage in a Learning Collaborative that allowed them to share successes, challenges, and best practices they’ve experienced throughout the grant work.

As a result of this work, both agencies saw significant increases in agreement responses on the post-test Organizational Readiness Assessment when compared to the baseline assessment. Bounce was given the opportunity to engage with the organizations at all levels – staff, leadership, board members, and even parents and caregivers. The buy-in at all levels of each organization was most impressive throughout the year-long work. By educating individuals inside and outside of the organization, partners were better able to create a culture that values resilience building and healing. As Steve Tarver, Chief Executive Office of YMCA of Greater Louisville stated:

“The impact of trauma leading to poor health, particularly of our younger youth, is compelling. The need to build leadership that can show positivity in building resilience and showing empathy is of critical importance. The support of Bounce in promoting this training to a large and diverse audience of leaders makes an observable difference in building protective factors for children that pay dividends now and in the future.”