Changing Minds: The Campaign to End Childhood Trauma

Artistic image of a brain x-rayFUTURES has partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Ad Council to create Changing Minds, a national campaign that will raise awareness, teach skills, and inspire public action to address a hidden epidemic in America‒children’s exposure to violence and childhood trauma.

Witnessing violence in the home, school or community can affect children throughout their entire lives. This multi-year campaign will engage teachers, coaches, counselors, nurses and other front-line educators and caregivers on proven ways to help children heal from trauma.

Our goals:

  • Educate about the problem of childhood trauma but most importantly on the solutions that exist;
  • Advance programs and practices that help to make schools, homes, and communities safer for children and youth; and
  • Help grow leadership in various fields (e.g., education, health, community, and justice).

New and evolving scientific research reveals that a child’s positive and negative experiences can literally shape, and reshape, the brain. The more a child is exposed to traumatic events, the more neural connections are created in regions of the brain that involve fear, anxiety, and impulsiveness—while fewer are created in regions that involve reasoning, planning, and behavioral control. The good news is that the young brain is malleable, or “plastic,” and fostering stable, supportive relationships can prevent or even reverse this damage — resulting in lifelong benefits for the child’s learning, behavior, and overall health.

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