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OK25by25 promotes Resilience and Family Positive Workplace

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Ken Stoner, Oklahoma County District Judge; Sherry Fair, executive director of Parent Promise, and Paco Balderrama, Oklahoma City Police Deputy Chief, discuss the Resilience film during a training of guardian ad litems. [PROVIDED]
Ken Stoner, Oklahoma County District Judge; Sherry Fair, executive director of Parent Promise, and Paco Balderrama, Oklahoma City Police Deputy Chief, discuss the Resilience film during a training of guardian ad litems. [PROVIDED]

What’s the best way to improve the wellbeing of young children and their families in Oklahoma?

The OK25by25 Early Childhood Coalition has focused its efforts on two major programs: Resilience and Family Positive Workplace.  Both of these programs support the goal of improving the wellbeing of children, pre-birth to five, and their families.

The goal of OK25by25, a 10-year initiative managed by the Potts Family Foundation (PFF), is to move Oklahoma to the top 25 states, by 2025, in selected early childhood metrics. 

“The rapid pace of brain growth and development through age five makes it a critical time period of opportunity and vulnerability,” said Craig Knutson, Potts Family Foundation president and CEO. “Both the Resilience and the Family Positive Workplace programs address the core objectives of our early childhood initiative.” 

What is Resilience?

Researchers have found a very strong link between the toxic stress generated by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and long-term negative health effects.  The most serious finding is that adverse childhood experiences can lead to life-threatening diseases like obesity, heart and lung disease, diabetes, substance abuse and mental illnesses, and ultimately to premature death up to 20 years early. Through the study of epigenetics, it is now known that toxic stress can pass from one generation to another through genetic modifications. A new study from Northwestern University links poverty to the same DNA alteration process seen in toxic stress indicating that poverty like trauma leaves a mark on our genes. 

The science of resilience informs us that providing safe, supportive and stable family relationships and environments can buffer the effects of trauma. Due to the plasticity of the brain, Resilience can actually help repair past structural problems and improve coping skills.  PACEs (Protective and Compensatory Experiences) are recognized resilience responses to ACEs. 

“The high prevalence of unresolved trauma among the school-aged population is a public health epidemic that threatens children’s academic and social mastery,” said Susan Craig, PhD, educator and presenter at last year’s Raising Resilient Oklahomans! Summit. “To be effective, school improvement must be seen through a trauma-sensitive lens.”

A documentary film being shown statewide by the Potts Family Foundation provides a vehicle for sharing information about the importance of raising resilient children. “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope” has been shown in 123 individual screenings to nearly 7,800 viewers. 

“Every film screening is followed by a reactor panel to help the audience process the powerful information and think about next steps,” Knutson said. “We really focus on educating people about the ‘science of hope’ – the protective factors or PACEs.”

Educating the public is important because untreated trauma can have costly lifelong effects. The Sycamore Institute estimates the annual economic impact of ACEs in Tennessee at $5.2 billion. By providing resources, sponsoring presenters and building networks, OK25by25 seeks to help communities become more resilient.

“Being trauma-informed service providers means we’re able to better understand the needs of children in foster care and how to best meet those needs,” said Raquel Razien, with United Methodist Circle of Care. “It also means we’re able to provide support to the foster families we serve by helping them to understand behaviors and emotions of the children in their care through a trauma informed lens.” 

Family Positive Workplace

This program is an initiative for businesses to have the opportunity to earn the Family Positive Workplace Certification for implementing practices and policies that support families and provide ways for employees to more easily balance family and work obligations. 

As a part of the program, the PFF hosts free workshops and presentations across the state helping businesses and organizations develop and/or revise their policies and practices toward a more family positive focus.

Over the years, businesses have substantially reduced the risk of workplace injuries and accidents, but the harm to employees from stressful working conditions hasn’t gotten nearly the same attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that “stress is the leading workplace health problem, ahead of physical inactivity and obesity”. Those problems create indirect costs to employers and they are often more expensive than the direct costs of workers compensation and health benefit costs. Having appropriate policies and practices in place can more effectively address this growing concern.

 “The inclusion of the Family Positive Workplace into our program of work is a logical adoption given our focus on the wellness and development of families and their children,” Knutson said. 

 “Participation in certification programs allows Dal-Tile to benchmark against independent standards set by policy and industry experts. Family Positive policies assist in retaining exceptional team members and recruiting future talent.” said Craig McNeil, HR Generalist.

In 2018, 12 Oklahoma companies and organizations were recognized with the inaugural Family Positive Workplace Award.  Applications are currently being accepted for the 2019 recognition and can be found on the website listed below.

OK25by25 uses a variety of social media tools to promote its message of “raising resilient Oklahomans” including website www.ok25by25.org, Facebook www.facebook.com/OK25by25, and the virtual community ACEsConnection – www.acesconnection.com/g/raising-resilient-oklahomans.

This article is sponsored by the Potts Family Foundation. 

Related Photos
Ken Stoner, Oklahoma County District Judge; Sherry Fair, executive director of Parent Promise, and Paco Balderrama, Oklahoma City Police Deputy Chief, discuss the Resilience film during a training of guardian ad litems. [PROVIDED]

Ken Stoner, Oklahoma County District Judge; Sherry Fair, executive director of Parent Promise, and Paco Balderrama, Oklahoma City Police Deputy Chief, discuss the Resilience film during a training of guardian ad litems. [PROVIDED]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-46c896f76a7d7e08e5c25518639d4102.jpg" alt="Photo - Ken Stoner, Oklahoma County District Judge; Sherry Fair, executive director of Parent Promise, and Paco Balderrama, Oklahoma City Police Deputy Chief, discuss the Resilience film during a training of guardian ad litems. [PROVIDED]" title="Ken Stoner, Oklahoma County District Judge; Sherry Fair, executive director of Parent Promise, and Paco Balderrama, Oklahoma City Police Deputy Chief, discuss the Resilience film during a training of guardian ad litems. [PROVIDED]"><figcaption>Ken Stoner, Oklahoma County District Judge; Sherry Fair, executive director of Parent Promise, and Paco Balderrama, Oklahoma City Police Deputy Chief, discuss the Resilience film during a training of guardian ad litems. [PROVIDED]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-226d96123bbc7ce3cc48e4749d68b1da.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma’s First Lady moderates a panel following the Resilience film showing in Tulsa. From left to right: Sarah Stitt, Joe Dorman, Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, Dr. Tessa Chesser, Rep. Carol Bush, Dr. Deb Shropshire and Timothy Michaels-Johnson. " title="Oklahoma’s First Lady moderates a panel following the Resilience film showing in Tulsa. From left to right: Sarah Stitt, Joe Dorman, Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, Dr. Tessa Chesser, Rep. Carol Bush, Dr. Deb Shropshire and Timothy Michaels-Johnson. "><figcaption>Oklahoma’s First Lady moderates a panel following the Resilience film showing in Tulsa. From left to right: Sarah Stitt, Joe Dorman, Dr. Jennifer Hays-Grudo, Dr. Tessa Chesser, Rep. Carol Bush, Dr. Deb Shropshire and Timothy Michaels-Johnson. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-eb801ab5f48c604095d37444d9ecb552.jpg" alt="Photo - State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister moderates a panel consisting of David Prater, Oklahoma County District Attorney; Megan Bryant, Mid-Del Schools and Dr. Deb Shropshire following the Resilience film last October. " title="State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister moderates a panel consisting of David Prater, Oklahoma County District Attorney; Megan Bryant, Mid-Del Schools and Dr. Deb Shropshire following the Resilience film last October. "><figcaption>State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister moderates a panel consisting of David Prater, Oklahoma County District Attorney; Megan Bryant, Mid-Del Schools and Dr. Deb Shropshire following the Resilience film last October. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-db39aff594b27aa0059579037d934dcd.jpg" alt="Photo - Reactor panelists Dr. Robert Block, Dr. Deb Shropshire and Annette Jacobi discuss the Resilience film with members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives." title="Reactor panelists Dr. Robert Block, Dr. Deb Shropshire and Annette Jacobi discuss the Resilience film with members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives."><figcaption>Reactor panelists Dr. Robert Block, Dr. Deb Shropshire and Annette Jacobi discuss the Resilience film with members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-aade880b2db65e1f98a2665012f2b7cc.jpg" alt="Photo - 2018 Family Positive Workplace Award Recipients" title="2018 Family Positive Workplace Award Recipients"><figcaption>2018 Family Positive Workplace Award Recipients</figcaption></figure>
Eddie Roach

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OK25by25 - Oklahoma Early Childhood Coalition

The Potts Family Foundation is passionate about improving the condition of Oklahoma’s future workforce: Oklahoma’s children. Our collective response to these trends is to create a nonpartisan coalition of impassioned organizations that are focused on the critically important issues that can help eliminate the conditions that are impairing our young children from becoming a successful workforce. OK25by25's goal is to raise Oklahoma's rankings of early childhood wellbeing to the top 25 states by 2025. Read more ›

NewsOK BrandInsight provides a place for local organizations and companies to connect directly with the NewsOK audience by publishing articles of interest on the NewsOK digital platforms in a special section.
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