By: Susan Damico, DCRC Assistant Director
I returned to the office after a recent vacation and saw that I had scheduled myself to be out of the office for a full day to attend the conference Children’s Recovery from Adverse Experiences: Is it Luck of Something Else? My first instinct was to cancel. The idea of leaving all of the unopened emails and thinking about all of the people waiting on my responses was making me so anxious. And then something happened— I can’t totally put my finger on it— and I reconsidered. I was reminded about how important it is to focus on my own professional development and to seek out new knowledge. (DARS Initiative Item #4). To print your own copy of the DARS click here!
When I arrived at the conference, I joined a woman for breakfast. We immediately started talking about our work and within five minutes I was certain that I had made the right decision to attend this conference. She spoke of her lengthy career in Head Start and her current position working with homeless young mothers in need of transitional housing. While her career had obviously spanned more than 35 years, her enthusiasm, passion and commitment had not diminished. She spoke about how she was so filled with gratitude to work with families, to share and celebrate their small steps toward self-sufficiency, and to be part of helping them connect to resources in the community that would better prepare them for long-term success. Listening to her talk about her everyday experiences filled me with awe and inspiration.
Following this casual breakfast meeting, we proceeded to listen to a panel of experts talk about building the resilience of children, families and communities. The panelists included Sandra Bloom M.D., Roy Wade, Jr. MD, Ph.D. MPH, Angelo P. Giardino MD, Ph.D, MPH, M. Grace Ryder Ph.D. and Martha Davis, MMS. The panel discussion was inspiring in a totally different way than the breakfast conversation. These individuals (with their long list of academic credentials) spoke eloquently and simply. The way in which they addressed complicated public health issues in such a straight forward manner showed their ability to connect to everyone of us in the room and help us stay committed to our work to reduce adverse experiences in the lives of the children and families.
I left the conference feeling more rejuvenated and less overwhelmed than I had felt in a long time. I was truly inspired by the professionals doing direct service and those doing research at some of the most prestigious institutions in our country. To end a work day filled with gratitude, inspiration, joy and a desire to keep on keeping one…. work days don’t get much better than that!