At the end of last month, I attended the Crime Victim Rights Week ceremony in Montpelier, Vt., an annual event that highlights the contributions of allies, survivors and state- and community-based victim advocates. It was well worth the trip—on a rural transport bus through picturesque villages with a very friendly self-appointed ‘bus greeter,’ although that’s another story!—and not only did I enjoy hearing the stories of this year’s awardees, I also came home with some great new resources and a sense of where I need to ‘build my bounce.’
The morning session with Nefertiti Bruce of Devereux Center for Resilient Children focused on fostering resiliency. However, rather than the usual presentation about how to build resilience in youth, Nefertiti turned the spotlight on us, the people who work with and support victims of trauma. Her talk was based in part on Devereux’s Build Your Bounce campaign, a resource for adults who want to live with more initiative and determination. As professionals accustomed to caring for clients, we sometimes need a reminder that we’re only able to inspire others, if we ourselves are living joyful, healthy lives. If you need a refresher (like I did, after a recent stressful move), take a minute to check out what Devereux has to offer. And if you ever get the chance to hear Nefertiti, take it; she’s warm, funny and insightful.
Most of the people at the ceremony, like you and I, already had some training in resiliency theory and trauma-informed care. But this did not stop me from taking notes. Instead it freed me to write down the phrases that inspired me or struck me as powerful images to motivate me to take good care of myself. Here are some of my favorite take-aways from Nefertiti:
- When you’re in a bad place, it’s like carrying a suitcase full of bricks. Resilience means you’ll either build some more muscle or take some of that stuff out.
- We should embrace a commitment to ourselves that is equal to that we dedicate to our clients.
- Resilience has to be (and can be) nurtured.
- Some people wish they had the problems you have.
- Don’t let what’s going on in the world stop you from doing your best.
- There may not be time for everything but there is enough time for the important things. Choose.
In addition to these nuggets of wisdom from the morning session, I also walked away with free resources created by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Vermont and the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services: most notably, the updated Vermont Victim’s Resource Directory and Internet safety guides for teens and parents. The guidebooks are graphically appealing and hip to be attractive to young people; they guide teens through typical online scenarios and teach them how to pick up on potential danger. The parent’s side focuses on teaching parents some online ‘lingo’ and providing tips for talking to young people about staying safe.
So, what are you doing to build your bounce today?
~ Jen Smith, Research Associate