Training to help youth organizations better serve kids in after school programs

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An area health system is looking to help local after school youth organizations better serve kids by offering trauma-informed care training.

Marshfield Clinic Health System held a specialized training for schools and community based organization's after school program staff.

The trauma-informed care training is focused on helping staff identify and support children who have suffered from traumatic events in their life.

Program manager Jennifer Smith explained, “How staff can learn to help kids who may have had early traumatic life experiences develop some skills and create an environment of safety where kids have a place where they can go after school and feel a sense of belonging and start to develop some of those skills that they might not have developed otherwise.”

The two day training teaches staff how to make sure kids basic needs are met, and they're feeling safe, when they attend after school programs.

Smith added, “We also know there's a long-term impact of those early experiences. Individuals that have had early experiences are more likely to develop and addiction, more likely to have a mental health diagnosis, more likely to have cardiovascular disease, more likely to develop disabilities.”

The Boys and Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley says participating in the training will help staff react positively in difficult situations.

Chief operating officer Travis Ida said, “Everyone is different and every situation is different and you're going to try and react and see some situations where kids, you want the best for them, and if they don't react a certain way you need to be patient calm and be empathetic to realize that everyone is going through something and you need to be there to support and be patient with them.”

The Boys and Girls Club says it hopes by attending the training staff will have a larger impact on the children the organization serves.

Center director Roxie Schmidt explained, “Being able to have people attend a trauma specific informed training allows us collectively to be able to better serve, more positively communicate with each other and have better language around what we're really looking at and assessing so that when we are looking to create a larger impact we're able to do that collectively as well as individually.”

The training lasted for four hours, there will be a two week break to process the information and then another four hour training will take place.