Taking a Grassroots Approach to Healing Trauma

February 22, 2023

In addition to the individual, group and family services we provide, Wyandot BHN also oversees a program dedicated to building a trauma-informed and resilient community. Called Alive & Thrive, this program relies on two full-time staff—Director Chandra Green and Project Manager Shelby Mabery--who spend their time raising awareness about trauma and what communities can do to help heal from it. Their work is critical, especially in Wyandotte County, where poverty, systemic racism, and relatively high rates of crime expose many people, especially children, to chronic stress—a key contributor to the county’s poor health and behavioral health outcomes.

Of course, this work cannot be done in isolation. To that end, Alive & Thrive has built a network of more than 35 nonprofits, grassroots organizations, government agencies, businesses and individuals who help define how Wyandotte County’s diverse communities can respond to and heal from trauma. 

Alive & Thrive works with these partners to help them address systemic issues that contribute to trauma—or that re-traumatize people—as well as become trauma-informed to better serve the community. That can mean doing something as simple as improving the timeliness of services to delivering a service in such a way that makes a client feel welcomed and cared for, not a special ‘case’ that needs to be ‘solved.’ The network also includes “Community Champions,” individuals who carry out projects supported by Alive & Thrive that focus on unique strategies for building resilience. 

The network focuses on three primary tasks:

  • Raising Awareness about the impact trauma and ACEs have on individual and community health. A great example of this is a recently-launched campaign called “It Starts With Me WyCo,” which shares ideas for building resilience that come from Wyandotte County residents.
  • Engaging community members, neighborhoods, and organizations in a conversation about the role they can play in healing from and preventing trauma. Efforts include workshops, conferences, and the Community Projects.
  • Aligning and Supporting actions that arise from these conversations to prevent trauma and promote resilience and community healing. Trauma trainings for organizations and employees in Wyandotte County are one example of how Alive & Thrive creates a common approach for becoming a trauma-informed agency.

Alive & Thrive would love to hear from you if you’re interested in joining its network! Just reach out to Director Chandra Green at Chandra.green@wyandotbhn.org. To financially support the work that Alive & Thrive is doing in Wyandotte County, please click here