Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to volunteer at an event facilitated by TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intevention) pracitioners, Casey Call, PhD and Daren Jones, from Texas Christian University. The first event was called Trauma-Informed Classroom and the second was a Foster/Adoptive Family Activity Camp where fost/adoptive families had the opportunity to learn and practice some of the interventions from the three principles of TBRI (Connecting, Empowering, and Correcting). I was stationed at the essential oils center, which was awesome because I love essential oils. I had the opportunity to work with the kids and foster/adoptive parents, introducing different oils and their properties, e.g., calming, alerting, immune support. The kids got to pick the oil they liked and put some drops in miniature roller ball bottles to take home.

The Trauma-Informed classroom training was geared toward not only fost/adoptive parents, but teachers, camp counselors, and other professionals who work in group setting with kids from hard places. Attendees learned strategies to help kiddos with sensory-related issues, or difficulties regulating. It was a great weekend, but also pretty exhausting. In the evenings, I practiced sketching and used colored pencils mostly on the sketches I drew. I really need to purchase paper specifically for water colors, as staining is a real problem on other types of paper. Alas, I just haven’t had the time.

So this is one of the pieces I created. The weekend training and activity camp gave me hope that fost/adoptive parents can help their kids learn and grow, learn to cope when experiencing difficult emotions, and learn new ways of behaving. There’s so much more about TBRI that I love, including educating parents on how trauma affects the brain and neurochemistry, which causes significant gaps in a child’s development, etc. that I won’t get into here. It also gave me hope personally because the weekend made a huge impact on all who attended, including the volunteers – often in my profession, I get hopeless because I’m so darn tired, and it often feels like the work I do makes no difference whatsoever. Art and creative expression definitely help fill the gaps in my own life when I’m feeling depleted and need to connect with my own heart and soul.