‘Lemonade for Life’ ACES training comes to Jones Co.

By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Jones County is one of three counties in Iowa chosen to offer the “Lemonade for Life” community-based project.

     In collaboration with the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition, Jones County Family Council, CPPC (Community Partnerships for Protecting Children), and Cedar/Jones ECI (Early Childhood Iowa), the project includes two days of training.

     For just $25 participants can take part in both trainings, with just 50 slots available. The first training will be held on Thursday, March 12, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Jones County Youth Development Center at the fairgrounds in Monticello. This will be a half-day ACES (Adverse Early Childhood Experiences) training, with the latest information specifically for Iowa.

     The second training will be held on Monday, March 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa. This is a full-day Lemonade for Life Community Training.

     The first training session is a prerequisite to attend the second training.

     Lemonade for Life “is a program created to give individuals practical tools to initiate and process ACES in a sensitive manner. The goal is to utilize the program to identify points of resilience and build hope for children and families healing from past or current trauma.”

     Jean Sullivan of Monticello will lead the training, along with co-facilitator Breanne Ward, a therapist in Des Moines.

     Sullivan started learning about ACES several years ago when she served as volunteer chaplain at Four Oaks in Monticello.

     “It provided an open network with people across the state,” she said.

     Lemonade for Life is now used in 12 states across the country. It began as a pilot project in Iowa a couple of years ago in one rural and one urban community: Council Bluffs and Calhoun County. Now, Jones, Hamilton, and Monroe counties are part of the second round of applicants.

     The partners involved in this training opportunity have already been reaching out to a wide variety of possible attendees, from teachers to law enforcement, administrators, librarians, etc.

     ACES helps identify 10 adverse childhood experiences that can have long-term affects on a child’s health: abuse, divorce, neglect, just to name a few.

     “It’s challenging because those have been passed along through the generations,” she said. It can lead to poverty, substance abuse, physical abuse, unless that cycle is broken.

     “It can also lead to increased health concerns later in life, such as diabetes,” added Sullivan. She said it could decrease one’s life expectancy as well.

     When one takes part in the ACES test, the higher the score, the higher the risk of health, social, and emotional problems later in life.

     These trainings are designed to bring the entire community together to understand the impact everyone can have working together toward a common goal.

     “We want to create awareness about how the community responds,” said Sherri Hunt, ECI director.

     The training will emphasize three tiers involved in ACES: personal, professional, and public. Through the personal aspect, attendees will learn about their own history and see it in a different light. Professionally, how can ACES be applied in the workplace? Publically, are there others who can help take that next step with ACES, such as volunteer coaches, 4-H leaders, Scout leaders, babysitters, school boards, etc.?

     “It’s all about building compassion in the community,” she Sullivan.

     Jennifer Husmann with the JCSHYC said she heard about Lemonade for Life a few years ago, but knew it was an expensive program for the Coalition to do on its own.

     “It was something that came up through research on mental health training and building resiliency in kids,” she said.

     It turned out that ASAC (Area Substance Abuse Council) was already applying for the training program and grant application. That’s when Husmann reached out to Heather Weers, with CPPC/Family Council, and brought multiple entities together.

     “We’re obvious partners in this,” said Husmann.

     Sullivan said the idea with the two trainings is to “focus on a variety of tools to raise awareness and respond to it.” It’s also about setting goals with youth, and how to talk to them about their approaches in accomplishing their goals.

     “Over the last three years, mental health with children has increased,” Sullivan shared. “The suicide rate and drug use has increased. Mental health across the country is taking a dip. We want to know why and how to respond.”

     To register for the two-day Lemonade for Life trainings, contact Husmann at jhusmann@asac.us or 319-462-4327 ext. 202; or Weers at jonescountycppc@gamil.com or 319-480-8684. The deadline to register is Friday, March 6.

     You must register in advance of the trainings in order to participate and to receive a questionnaire that must be filled out prior to the trainings.

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