Great Start Parent Coalition – Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resiliency

Do you know what your ACES score is or do you even know what ACES means? As part of our September coalition meeting participants had the opportunity to learn about ACES, resiliency and so much more by Dr. Marguerite Morgan. It has been a joy to have Dr. Morgan present at our coalition meetings and parents truly love her!

Our meeting started out with a creative & interactive ice breaker by Yolanda, one of our parent representatives. Yolanda encouraged participants to close their eyes and imagine that there is a pilot with an airplane full of gas ready to take you anywhere in the world that your heart desires and to think about the following questions: (1) where are you going? (2) who are you taking with you and why? (3) are you coming back?

Many of our parents chose destinations outside of the United States including Bali, Hawaii, Bahamas, Ghana and Iceland. The Zoom call was split between parents who would make it a family trip by including their children and those that would leave the kiddos home! It was great listening to the variety of reasons why each destination was chosen.

After the ice breaker, our participants received an exciting announcement! Our in-person coalition meetings have had amazing dinners and with COVID and meeting on Zoom we have not been able to have food…until this meeting! With modern technology we were able to order Door Dash for participants who joined our Zoom meeting. This was such a great treat!

Dr. Morgan began her presentation on ACES and Resiliency with explaining the purpose of Arbor Circle’s programs, which are to prevent, reduce and alleviate the effects of childhood trauma resulting from abuse and neglect. She presented startling statistics during her presentation including, but not limited to, the following below:

Dr. Morgan also talked about toxic stress, COVID 19’s impact on early childhood and ACE’s including the impact that it has had on children who now are home the majority of the time due to the stay home stay safe, social distancing orders or virtual school.

Dr. Morgan shared with the group the amazing benefits of hugging your children. Aside from the closeness parents will have with the children by hugging them,  hugs also help children grow smarter, grow physically, keep them healthy, stop temper tantrums, build resilience, make kids happy and deepen the bond between parent and child.

There were also various examples that Dr. Morgan provided throughout the meeting with stories of children and with various levels of abuse and the participants were encouraged after hearing the child’s story to discuss the adverse childhood experiences on the child, the effects the experiences would have on growth and development and symptoms/behaviors the child is displaying.

At the end of the meeting, the group was very quiet. The participants were digesting the wealth of information and knowledge that had just been shared with them. This is only a snapshot of the information provided by Dr. Morgan and to truly grasp everything that was shared – you had to be there! 😊


Funding from the Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education supports the implementation of Great Start.