The Impact of Trauma on Our Youngest, Most Vulnerable Learners (and What This Organization is Doing to Help)

How Childhood Trauma Impacts Long-Term Development (and What This Organization is Doing to Help)

At the Ounce of Prevention Fund, we are committed to giving children in poverty the best chance for success in school and life. We advocate for and provide the highest-quality care and education from birth to age 5. The Ounce has been doing this work for more than 35 years, and we know how important it is to create healthy, positive relationships between children, parents, caregivers, and educators. Building these strong bonds early in life can protect children from the impact of trauma, stress, and adverse childhood experiences. And, when we do this well, we build the foundation for healthy, emotionally stable, and capable children and adults.

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Research has shown that early childhood interventions change life trajectories. The Ounce consistently delivers early intervention solutions to help young children and families get a strong start in life. Since babies are “wired” to learn as much as possible during the first five years, we know that if we can reach parents early, through these interventions, we can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

This year, at our It’s Good Business to Invest in Young Children Annual Luncheon, the Ounce welcomed Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness, to explore the impact of stress and trauma on our youngest, most vulnerable learners. Dr. Burke Harris shared with the more than 850 business, civic, and philanthropic leaders in attendance that high doses of adversity in childhood can lead to long-term changes to the developmental structure of the brain and nervous system. This science shows that learning and behavior problems are often directly correlated with toxic doses of adversity and stress.

The work we do at the Ounce to put science into everyday practice and to develop and deploy early intervention solutions for children and families is critical. Our mission is anchored in a growing body of scientific evidence about early brain development; we use private and public funding support to develop and implement innovative solutions and replicate them for greater reach and impact.

As a result, we have an opportunity to improve outcomes for our next generation, and to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. It’s our goal, our passion, and our strategic mission.

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For more insight into Dr. Burke Harris’ work, you can read her book “The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity.”

Visit the Ounce of Prevention Fund website to learn more about the organization or to join us in our efforts to break the cycle of poverty.