This weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer for an event facilitated by TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) practitioners, Casey Call, PhD and Daren Jones, Training Specialist. The first event was called Trauma-Informed Classroom and the second was a Fost/Adoptive Parent Family Activity Camp. At the camp, fost/adoptive parents learned different interventions based upon the three principles of TBRI (Connecting, Empowering, Correcting). There were sensory bins filled with all kinds of stuff, weighted superhero sock creations, glitter bottle-making, and more in our area, the Empowering Station. I was stationed at the Essential Oils Center, which was awesome because I love essential oils. I talked to fost/adoptive parents and their kids about different essential oils and their properties, e.g., calming, alerting, immune support, etc. Kids got to smell a variety of oils, pick their favorite, and add some drops to a miniature roller ball container (with carrier oil) to take home.
The Trauma-Informed Classroom training was for fost/adoptive parents, teachers, camp counselors, etc., who work with kids from hard places. Attendees learned strategies to help kids who’ve experienced significant trauma in a group/classroom setting and may have difficulties self-regulating or managing emotions. It also provided a brief intro to how trauma affects the brain and neurochemistry, as well as causes gaps in a child’s development, which I won’t get into here. The events gave me hope that fost/adoptive parents can learn an evidence-based approach to help kiddos learn to regulate better and learn to connect with and empower their kids. It gave me hope that there are interventions out there to help fost/adoptive parents, but also that there are parents out there seeking help. The weekend was impacting for all who attended, including the volunteers. It was cool to see parents and kids connecting and having fun together. And the smiles on the kids’ faces were precious.
I created the piece above over the weekend, along with a couple of other sketches, using colored pencils mostly. Although the weekend events were great, I was completely exhausted afterwards. Often in my profession, I feel hopeless that anything I do makes a difference. The work is difficult, but the feeling of reward or gratification is low. Art and creative expression give me hope and fill in the gaps when I’m feeling depleted and need to re-connect to my heart and soul.