The ACE in Gun Violence: Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences
Monday, December 9
4:00 – 5:45 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
(lower level, east side at back)
7039 Mission Road
As we confront the seemingly daily acts of gun violence here and around the country, we struggle to understand their root causes. Poverty, joblessness, depression and hopelessness all play a significant part, in addition to the easy access to guns.
Another contributing factor to violent behavior is the effect adverse childhood experiences (ACE) can have on the healthy development of a child. Environments with abuse and/or neglect, parental mental illness, substance use, divorce, incarceration and domestic violence can traumatize children and severely compromise their future ability to cope in the world.
We heard first-hand testimony of that dynamic from Ples Felix, one of the keynote speakers at the Heartland Coalition’s Community Forum in October. Ples pointed to his grandson Tony’s early years in a household led by a single, overwhelmed teenaged mother struggling with an extended family of drug users and gang members. At age 14, Tony shot and killed a 20-year-old college student in a gang initiation and then spent the next 25 years in prison.
The good news? ACE is commanding increased attention from researchers trying to better understand its role in contributing to violent behavior. That’s why we welcome to our December meeting Barbara Unell, a local author of several books on parenting and an authority on ACE. In a new one-on-one format with GAGV president Judy Sherry posing questions, Barbara will share information about a particularly groundbreaking ACE study which included some surprising insights. Though the initial childhood trauma can’t be undone, recent ACE studies can expand our perspective and offer ways to mitigate its far-reaching potential for harm.
Join us December 9 for this insightful program!