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Baltimore youth teaches Enoch Pratt Library staff how to help kids experiencing trauma

Baltimore youth teaches Enoch Pratt Library staff how to help kids experiencing trauma
Posted at 10:58 PM, Feb 04, 2022

BALTIMORE — The entire Enoch Pratt Free Library staff took part in an in-depth virtual training to better understand how to respond to trauma and help in the healing process.

The training was part of the city’s efforts to train city agencies on trauma informed care which is required under the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act.

“You can’t have a conversation about youth, without us,” said Jima Chester who is a youth ambassador with the Healing Youth Alliance.

Healing Youth Alliance is program that is working to address the effects of trauma in Baltimore.

“A lot of my peers even at Poly or at other schools across the city, them experiencing or seeing so much negative influence, they often fall victim to it, so we see a lot of substance abuse with youth and that’s an effect of trauma,” Chester said.

Chester was one of the ambassadors that led an in-depth virtual training for the entire Enoch Pratt Free Library Staff on how to recognize the signs of trauma and help in the healing process.

“You know when you don’t have a support system and you’ve experienced something that is traumatic and you realize that it’s traumatic, not having somebody who is open to or just taking the time to listen to what you have been through it can definitely cause more harm than good,” she said.

Another youth ambassador Sydney Johnson shared how violence has taken a toll on her family.

“My mother's brother was murdered at 21, my mother has a son murdered at 21 and my brother is now 21 and it is really devastating and you’re walking on eggs shells like oh my god please get me past this point. If I can get past this point i think if I can make it over this hump maybe it won’t happen to me again. The generational trauma that occurs is really a lot. It's a lot,” Johnson said.

Chester said training library staff on how to better understand trauma can be impactful because kids use libraries sometimes as a second home.

“They’re safe places,” she said.

She also said it’s encouraging to see adults willing to listen to kids about their traumatic experiences.

Chester said that can go a long way in helping kids heal.

“You can’t make decisions about us, without us,” she said.