#APYDCON 2018: Trauma-Sensitive Education

The Alliance for Positive Youth Development (APYD) is one of the program initiatives within our Beyond Good Ideas Foundation. APYD is an international membership network connecting and supporting individuals that have dedicated their career to youth and youth development. Each year we host an online Best Practices for Youth Conference (APYDCON) focusing on three themes affecting today’s youth. This 3-day free virtual conference consists of expert panels with Q&A sessions and afternoon lectures. This year’s themes are Trauma-Sensitive Education, Youth Homelessness, and LGBTQ Bullying in School Settings.

Our SISGI intern, Kristal Ibrahim choose the Trauma-Sensitive Education theme. Kristal is a Master of Social Work student from the University of Southern California. For the past 6 months, Kristal has worked in the planning and logistics of the overall conference. We recently interviewed her about APYDCON 2018 and this is what she told us:

Why did you choose this topic?

I’m highlighting trauma-sensitive education because of my passion for social justice. I wanted a topic that was related to education, but that also called attention to the persistent societal barriers plaguing those in minoritized populations. Many children and young people who are part of minoritized populations live with complex trauma, and that complex trauma is due to those same societal barriers that I want to point out. So raising awareness about trauma-sensitive education fit the bill, for me.

Why does trauma-sensitive education matter?

I think it’s important to talk about trauma-sensitive education because so many of our youth are dealing with complex trauma or even a single trauma. Any trauma can have lasting effects on a young person’s physical and mental development, and over 60% of the US population has experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives. When you think about it, since so many people are living with the effects of trauma, youth worker professionals are very likely to encounter kids or youth who need help coping with the effects of trauma.

Can you tell us a little about your speakers?

All of the women who will be speaking about trauma-sensitive education at APYDCON are amazing educators! They each bring so much experience in supporting students with trauma histories, but what’s really great about having them speak on this topic is that they each have different perspectives on the matter. For instance, Towana co-managed a group home for foster children, and now supports college students with trauma histories. Anna is an interior design professor, and she is also a mom to a child with a trauma history, due to the circumstances of his adoption. And Anne-Marie has been a therapist, a school social worker, and is currently a school social worker administrator supporting kids of all ages. I’m excited to see how their insights on trauma-sensitive education reflect their different backgrounds.

What discussions can attendees expect from the panel and lecture?

APYDCON attendees can expect to hear about strategies to help us support students with trauma histories, as well as strategies that haven’t worked to help such students. We can also expect to hear about the challenges that we might face when trying to support students with trauma histories, and how to identify students with trauma histories.

Why should people register for APYDCON 2018?

I would encourage people to register for APYDCON so that they can learn about supporting youth with trauma histories, from experts who are in the trenches. I always find it inspiring to hear from those who have experience with the work, and who are currently active in it. It makes me feel like I’m not alone in my passion to increase social justice, and that I can trust what they’re saying since I know that they speak from recent experience.

Kristal will moderate the APYDCON Trauma-Sensitive Education workshops on August 6th, 2018.  Visit ideas4youth.org/apydcon to register for FREE and learn more about the virtual conference.


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