Photo of a Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) training in session

Earlier this week, nearly 50 leaders from the Marshall Square Resource Network learned how to create a greater culture of care in the Little Village community.

Through a training on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), the group of social service providers, government officials and community members discovered how to better understand the lifelong impact of childhood trauma and strategies they can use to respond to local youths’ experiences.

The training and Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative are built on the findings from a 1995 study, which first uncovered the impact ACES—experiences of abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction before the age of 18—had on adults’ health outcomes. Researchers discovered that childhood trauma impacts behavior as well as brain development and  that high ACE exposure can reduce a person’s lifespan by almost 20 years.


At the training, Elena Quintana, PhD, from the Illinois ACEs Response Collaborative, provided strategies for supporting adolescents who are struggling. She urged community leaders to communicate with compassion, patience and and care, and to treat these children as precious, giving them attention, modeling good behavior and creating an environment in which they feel safe.

The training helped mentors and organizations who interact with children consider the implications of ACEs when making decisions about their education, emotional and physical health, discipline and overall well being.

Little Village Neighborhood Network partners in attendance included representatives of Latinos Progresando, Esperanza Health Centers, OPEN Center for the Arts, Sarah’s Inn, the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Lincoln Park Zoo and others.

The tools gained through the training provided a strong foundation for the Neighborhood Network leaders to achieve their common agenda—to support the health and well-being of all residents of Little Village and Marshall Square and to develop community resiliency.