Andrews Participates in Trauma Resiliency Seminar

   Campus News | Posted on June 26, 2024

The Berrien Community Foundation (BCF), in collaboration with Andrews University's International Center for Trauma Education & Care, recently hosted an impactful seminar series titled “Repair the RIFT: Resiliency in the Face of Trauma.” This initiative, driven by BCF's Women's Giving Circle, aimed to equip community members with a comprehensive understanding of trauma, its effects, and strategies for fostering resilience.

The “Repair the RIFT” seminars were designed to provide participants with essential knowledge about trauma, including its definition, impact on health and behavior, and methods for building resilience. The seminars were free—including lunch—ensuring accessibility for community members. There were three sessions: one in Niles, Michigan, and two in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The sessions attracted over 50 attendees each, demonstrating the community's strong interest and need for such educational opportunities.

The seminars were led by Ingrid Slikkers, director of the International Center for Trauma Education & Care at Andrews University, and Leslie Rodriguez, current Master of Social Work student. Their expertise in trauma education provided attendees with valuable insights into both overt and hidden traumas, such as bullying, emotional abuse and spiritual abuse.

In her presentation, Slikkers emphasized the importance of community and relationships in the healing process. She stated, “You can heal from trauma without a therapist, but you cannot heal from trauma without a community.”

Diane Young, a community member who attended the seminar, shares, “When I got the invite, I immediately accepted because trauma is so huge. A lot of young people and adults in our community have faced trauma and don’t know how to deal with it. I wanted to learn more about it, how to deal with trauma, and how to help others.”

Young further highlighted the significance of community in trauma recovery, stating, “I learned a lot, especially about the importance of community. We all play a role in healing and relating to people with trauma to better our community.”

Susan Matheny, program director at the Berrien Community Foundation, praised the Women's Giving Circle for their dedication to creating the seminar. “The Women's Giving Circle decided that one of the ways to really help their community is for the county to become aware of trauma and start the process of healing together,” she says.

Slikkers reflected on the importance of Andrews University’s involvement in local initiatives, noting, “Even though the International Center for Trauma Education & Care reaches worldwide audiences, it's a huge blessing to be able to serve our local community because Andrews is part of Berrien County.”

Andrews University, the Berrien Community Foundation and the Women's Giving Circle have taken a significant step toward building a more resilient Berrien County community. For more information on resources in Berrien County, visit the BCF website, and for inquiries about the Andrews University International Center for Trauma Education & Care, visit their linktree.

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