ACEs are not just a private or personal issue within families. The effects of ACEs impact each and every one of us. Conversely, we all have the power to combat ACEs by just being aware of the community around us and understanding how ACEs may be affecting our friends and neighbors. In our daily lives we are parts of multiple networks — including families, neighbors, caregivers, teachers, social workers, spiritual guides, and more. If each of us look at the people around us through the lens of ACEs and offer our understanding, support, and guidance, we can help build stronger, more resilient children and become resilient communities.
The CDC states that in 2008, it was estimated that the lifetime economic cost associated with child abuse and neglect was approximately $124 billion dollars — more than the cost for stroke, or Type 2 diabetes.
Every day, we‘re offered opportunities to make a small difference in the life of someone around us. Start by listening. Is your co-worker stressed because their spouse is out of work? Does a visiting child seem afraid to go home? Is your student acting out in class? Instead of judging the action, consider what happened to them. Look for opportunities you have through your social network to help. Help can be as simple as offering an ear to listen or encouraging a family-friendly work environment. It can mean helping to direct people to resources to ensure basic needs are met or giving a child an outlet for positive interactions.