“Paper Tigers” film screening to showcase study findings, bring strategies to Cabell, Mason counties

Edited from a Press Release
“Paper Tigers” film screening to showcase study findings,  bring strategies to Cabell, Mason counties

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Spearhead change from the family to community level.

The Cabell County Family Resource Network (FRN), Cabell County Student Empowerment Team and Marshall University are hosting a screening of the film, “Paper Tigers,” on Sept. 25.

“Paper Tigers” captures the pain, the danger, the beauty, and the hopes of struggling teens — and the teachers armed with new science and fresh approaches that are changing their lives for the better.

The film will be shown in Cabell and Mason County on Sept. 25 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Cabell County location is at Marshall University’s Memorial Student Center Room BE5 (One John Marshall Drive in Huntington). The Mason County location is at MU’s Mid-Ohio Valley Center (One John Marshall Drive in Point Pleasant).

“The negative risk factors and toxic stress children face can have lasting impacts on their development and long-term health,” said Debra Bowyer, Cabell County FRN Coordinator. “However, the documentary highlights a ‘trauma-informed’ approach that the school used to help students overcome the adversities. The presence of one dependable and caring adult gave hope and made a difference.”

The event will start with the film and end with a discussion on how participants can implement strategies from the film in their own lives and communities. Registration is required. To quickly register for either location, R.S.V.P. at Bit.ly/Papertigers_MU_Registration. CEUs are available for WV social work licensure.

According to the “Paper Tigers” website, more than two decades ago, two respected researchers, clinical physician Dr. Vincent Felitti and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiologist Robert Anda, published the game-changing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) Study. It revealed a troubling but irrefutable phenomenon: the more traumatic experiences the respondents had as children (such as physical and emotional abuse and neglect), the more likely they were to develop health problems later in life — problems such as cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. To complicate matters, there was also a troubling correlation between adverse childhood experiences and prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse, unprotected sex and poor diet.

The CDC states that childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue.

dverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) have been linked to:

  • risky health behaviors,
  • chronic health conditions,
  • low life potential, and
  • early death.

As the number of ACEs increases, so does the risk for these outcomes. The wide-ranging health and social consequences of ACEs underscore the importance of preventing them before they happen. CDC promotes lifelong health and well-being through Essentials for Childhood – Assuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for all children. Essentials for Childhood can have a positive impact on a broad range of health problems and on the development of skills that will help children reach their full potential.

Combined, the results of the study painted a staggering portrait of the price our children are paying for growing up in unsafe environments, all the while adding fuel to the fire of some of society’s greatest challenges. However, this very same study contains the seed of hope: all of the above-mentioned risk factors — behavioral as well as physiological — can be offset by the presence of one dependable and caring adult. It doesn’t need to be the mother or the father. It doesn’t even need to be a close or distant relative.

More often than not, that stable, caring adult is a teacher.

It is here, at the crossroads of at-risk teens and trauma-informed care, that “Paper Tigers” takes root. Set within and around the campus of Lincoln Alternative High School in the rural community of Walla Walla, Washington, “Paper Tigers” asks the following questions: What does it mean to be a trauma-informed school? And how do you educate teens whose childhood experiences have left them with a brain and body ill-suited to learn? Against the harsh reality of truancy, poor grades, emotional pain and physical violence, answers begin to emerge. The answers do not come easily. Nor can one simply deduce a one-size-fits-all solution to a trauma-informed education. But there is no denying something both subtle and powerful at work between teacher and student alike: the quiet persistence of love.

This program is presented with financial assistance as a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

Learn more about the film at kpjrfilms.co/paper-tigers. To learn more about the Cabell County Family Resource Network, visit www.cabellfrn.org.

 

The Cabell County Family Resource Network (FRN) is a partnership of individuals, families and agencies working together to promote the well-being of children and families in Cabell County. Since its incorporation in September 1993, the Cabell County FRN has brought together a broad-based representation of partners, including business representatives, consumers, and service providers from health, education, housing, and social services. These partners are critical to improving the well-being of our families and children. The Cabell County FRN envisions a coordinated, community-based social service system responsive to the needs of families and effective in enhancing the success of individuals and families to responsibly achieve their goals.

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