Hanna Boys Center Hosts Trauma, Adversity Seminars


Following last year’s seminar on adverse childhood experience (ACE), with expert Robert Anda , Hanna Boys Center has planned an extensive collaboration with an expert in the field of trauma and healing.

Robert Macy will lead five workshops with topics on youth violence, relationship-building, and healing in the family and community.

“What we’re really talking about is the impact of adversity and trauma, and what you do about it. What are some strategies to get kids to make better decisions?” said Brian Farragher, the Center’s executive director. “Robert Anda said ‘here’s the problem.’ Now, what do we do about it?”

The series began Feb. 10 and runs once a month through September. The next workshop is March 30, entitled ‘Teenagers and Parents: The Role of Anxiety in Teen-Parent Relationships.’ They are free and open to the public.

Macy, who is based in Boston, MA, is spending one week a month for the rest of the year training staff at the Center. He is also presenting lectures and seminars to the community, and providing consultation at local schools for social emotional learning and childhood adversity.

Among his long list of credentials, Macy runs the International Trauma Center (ITC), in Boston. He has 35 years of practice dealing with physical and psychological trauma interventions, and has led numerous response and behavioral health recovery teams during national and international disasters.

Just one of the many projects the ITC is involved with is providing subject matter expertise and consultation for the US Attorney General’s Federal Advisory Commission on Children Exposed to Violence. It also implements projects in many countries around the world to assist those traumatized by violence and behavioral health recovery teams during national and international disasters.

Many of Hanna’s boys come from troubled homes and have experienced more than their share of childhood adversity.

“We have kids that have had significant adversity in their lives,” Farragher said. “Part of our mission is not just the 108 we serve, but kids everywhere.”

With the recent addition of several buildings including a 300-person fine arts auditorium, and a new admissions and alumni center with conference rooms, the Center has been reaching out to the community to utilize the space.

Hanna Boys Center is host to about 40,000 people in the community a year who use the facility for sporting events, nonprofit meetings, and professional development sessions.

At last year’s ACE seminar, Anda met with community educators with the hope of beginning what the medical researcher said is a much-needed grassroots effort toward a paradigm shift on social health issues. He encouraged the group to start with a cross-section of different agencies and disciplines getting together to create outreach. With increasing exposure, nimble, smaller agencies eventually get the attention of the legislature where laws can be changed and implemented.

Every other month Hanna hosts an offshoot group from the ACE seminar, which is looking at ways to get the word out. Farragher also gives ACE and childhood adversity presentations to schools and community organizations.

“We’ve become a little bit of a hub, getting people coalesced around the issue. There is a lot coming to the table with exciting possibilities. Really good things are happening,” Farragher said.

For the Robert Macy seminars, the Center has reached out to their community partners that include Valley of the Moon , Child and Parent Institute , VOICES, and to the broader community.

By Cynthia Sweeney, North Bay Business Journal

Reprinted from an article in the North Bay Business Journal

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