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  • Writer's pictureNoah Lattanzi

Sunrise and Trauma Informed Approaches - Applications in Afterschool

Earlier this month, new staff joined Sunrise's Director of Trauma and Curriculum, Marina Fradera, for a professional development session exploring Trauma Informed Approaches to youth development and its applications in the after school environment.

These sessions provided foundational information to understanding the basic concepts of trauma, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), resilience, and protective factors while providing concrete strategies for integrating these concepts into the OST environment.

We're taking the opportunity here to share some of the learnings from those training sessions to give our families a better sense of what exactly Trauma Informed Practices look like at Sunrise.

  1. Trauma Informed Approaches are there as a tool for us to help adults interpret and react to students' behavior in non judgemental, developmentally appropriate ways.

  2. Understanding the trauma informed approach helps us to reframe behaviors. Instead of seeing adverse behaviors as "disrespectful or problematic" the trauma informed approach aims to mitigate "dysregulated" or "escalated" behavior patterns through activities and practices designed to calm the body and mind and move towards a more regulated or de-escalated "brain state".

  3. It's completely natural to want to be punitive, to snap back when a person curses you out or ignores your instructions, even if that person is a 7 year old child. It is critical that we as adults consistently practice different approaches that are designed to redirect and de-escalate these reactions in ourselves in order to avoid escalation, retraumatization, promote healing, and restore connections and trust between staff and students.

  4. At Sunrise there are many techniques and practices we put into our daily procedures that encourage students and staff to self regulate their behavior. Some of these techniques include physical activities that cross their bodies' midline, control the pace of breathing, and release energy.

  5. Trauma is complex. Our main goal is always to adknowledge potential trauma that could be causing dysregulated behaviors and to create environments where students and staff can feel comfortable together and build stronger, trusting relationships.

Sunrise offers several unique workshops designed to explore key concepts in Trauma informed approaches for youth serving organizations , a set of lessons learned from a combined understanding of neurobiology, epigenetics, ACEs, and resilience.

Sunrise's trainings are open to any interested OST provider or educator. To learn more about Trauma informed trainings here at Sunrise visit us on the web at

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