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Monroe County Childhood Conditions Summit Focuses On Interpersonal Connections

(WFIU/WTIU News file photo)

Thursday’s annual Monroe County Childhood Conditions Summit at the Monroe County Convention Center focused on strategies for building and maintaining interpersonal connections with area youth.

Local experts hosted workshop sessions like “Youth and Tech: Finding Unique Ways to Connect With Teens” and “Fostering Inclusion Through Shared Stories.”

Indiana University School of Nursing Special Projects Coordinator Nichelle Whitney hosted a session about communicating through art and theater. Participants in her workshop shared stories from their childhoods and learned to identify those that might have been traumatic as adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs.

“I personally believe that a lot of times, the reason why we miss the mark on being able to serve students who experience adverse experiences is because we don’t know how to connect with them,” Whitney says.  

Youth Services Bureau Clinical Coordinator Allison Zimpfer-Hoerr is a member of the planning team. She says the first summit, held two years ago, helped define how the places where young people learn, live and play develop their childhood.

“It’s more than the services that they engage in, but it’s the community that we create and reinforce for them,” Zimpfer-Hoerr says.

Zimpfer-Hoerr says strengthening kids’ childhood conditions also means encouraging characteristics like confidence and resilience.

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