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Resilient communities raise resilient children.

ACEs stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences. These experiences include things like physical and emotional abuse, neglect, or household struggles (divorce, hunger, loss, or incarceration) affecting children before the age of 18. Over time, these issues can cause long-term damage especially for children suffering from a high number of ACEs.

Coming together and creating positive experiences for children suffering from ACEs can help build the resiliency children need to overcome Adverse Childhood Experiences.

  • ACEs: Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Leads to toxic stress
  • Leads to chronic health conditions
  • Leads to repeating the cycle of ACEs
  • ACEs: Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Countered with Protective Factors
  • Builds resilience
  • Leads to healthy, stable homes

The CDC estimates at least 1 in 7 children experienced abuse or neglect
in the last year.

How ACEs impact a child‘s health.

Adverse Childhood Experiences build and lead to ongoing stress — known as toxic stress or trauma. Toxic stress activates a child‘s fight or flight response, which can result in a flood of stress hormones impacting a child‘s developing brain, metabolic regulatory systems, and cardiovascular system. The result is that children may have difficulty paying attention, remembering facts, or fighting illnesses. Children with multiple ACEs often have low academic scores and can turn to substance abuse, eating disorders, or other poor health behaviors as a way to cope or protect themselves.


During the “fight or flight“ response, your body releases chemicals or hormones which increase your heartbeat and send blood rushing to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important hormones. If the stressor doesn‘t go away, these hormones remain active, causing lasting damage.

Imagine revving an engine or running a blender for days or weeks at a time. Eventually, the motor wears out. It‘s the same with our bodies. Recent studies have shown that the greater the number of ACEs a child experiences, the more likely they are to have chronic illnesses like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes as adults. Adults who experienced multiple ACEs are more likely to die younger than those with fewer or zero ACEs.


ACEs affect people at ALL income and social levels. However, the CDC estimates ACEs are five times more likely in lower income households.

There is hope! ACEs can be prevented, and their effects reversed in children.

Just because someone experiences a number of ACEs does not mean they are destined to chronic health conditions later in life. The effects of ACEs can be overcome. Positive, supportive relationships with adults promote healthy growth, coping skills, and resilience in children.

All our life experiences are wired into our biology, and positive experiences can reduce the effects of negative experiences. Combined research from the fields of Neuroscience (brain function), Epigenetics (gene evolution), ACEs, and Resilience or N.E.A.R. science shows that ACEs are only risk factors. The tools that can help children with ACEs avoid long-term health concerns are known as protective factors. Protective factors help children build resilience or bounce back from ACEs and avoid negative health outcomes.


Supporting and nurturing protective factors can improve health, well being, and safety in communities. Together we can reverse the effects of ACEs, prevent future ACEs, and build resilient communities.