recently began as SCAN’s Trauma-Informed Specialist embedded in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond. Through this unique partnership between SCAN and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, she is the first Trauma-Informed Specialist embedded within an out-of-school time setting in our area. We are thrilled to have her experience, expertise and positivity on board at SCAN as we launch this new initiative.
What has your life/work experience been that brought you to SCAN?
I began working as a Special Education teacher in Richmond Public Schools in 2003. As a native of Glen Allen, I was very naïve to the poverty and trauma that plagued many of my students and their families. I sought out more information about substance use disorder, cultural responsiveness, and historical trauma as I navigated the systems and resources that could best support my students both in and outside of the classroom. For nearly twenty years, I worked in a variety of capacities in public education, and briefly in correctional education, and always made center to my teaching, my student’s social emotional learning needs. This became hallmark to my classroom instruction. It wasn’t until 2006 when my best friend, Angel J. Jackson, and her father, Herbert Sharpe, Sr., were brutally murdered that I truly understood how deeply trauma could impact an individual and their family. This single event changed the trajectory of my career and I began to delve deeper into mindfulness and trauma informed practices. I have since released two books,
The Mindfulness Room
Breathe, Baby, Breathe: An ABC Guide to Mindfulness
, which both serve as guides for teachers and parents in helping students to develop mindful practices. I hope to release
Circle Up: A Kids Guide to Restorative Practices
Think, Baby, Think: An ABC Guide to Restorative Practice
s this spring, which will introduce the power of restorative practices, forgiveness and healing to young children.
What inspires you to stay involved with your work at SCAN?
My husband, children, my community, and the memory of my best friend encourage me to stay involved with my work with SCAN. I truly believe that we are not defined by our traumas and one caring adult can change the course of a child’s life.
Is there anything you wish other people knew about SCAN?
I wish that more people knew the power of community building that is woven throughout the mission of SCAN. A major part of our work is building healthy communities.