Mentors put the P in PACES

for mentors for program directors Feb 12, 2024

We can’t talk about complex trauma or children in foster care without discussing the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACES). 

ACES have a profound impact on human development, shaping both physical and mental health outcomes throughout a person's life. These experiences, which include abuse, neglect, household dysfunction, and other traumatic events during childhood, can lead to a range of negative consequences such as increased risk of chronic diseases, mental health disorders, substance abuse, and social problems.

The landmark ACEs study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente found a strong correlation between the number of ACEs a person experiences and their risk for various health and social problems later in life. 

The study revealed that individuals with a higher ACE score were more likely to suffer from a myriad of health issues, including heart disease, cancer, depression, and substance abuse. 

Furthermore, the findings underscore the importance of early intervention and prevention strategies to mitigate the long-term effects of ACEs and promote healthy development across the lifespan.

So what are these early intervention and prevention strategies? That’s where PACES come in. In the world of trauma, we hear ACES and PACES, and PACES includes the positive childhood experiences as well. 

Positive childhood experiences play a crucial role in counteracting the negative effects of ACEs and fostering resilience.

Research suggests that supportive relationships, safe environments, and opportunities for learning and growth during childhood can buffer the impact of trauma and adversity. 

Science shows that children who do well despite serious hardship have had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult. These relationships buffer children from developmental disruption and help them develop “resilience,” or the set of skills needed to respond to adversity and thrive.

Can you see where we’re going here? This is quite the argument for mentorship and this is why we believe mentors put the P in PACES!  

Mentors put the P in PACES!

Positive experiences provide children with a sense of security, self-worth, and belonging, which can help mitigate the negative effects of ACEs on their physical and mental health. By promoting resilience, positive childhood experiences empower youth to overcome adversity, build healthy relationships, and find purpose.

Mentors serve as trusted adults who offer encouragement, empathy, and guidance, helping children navigate challenges and develop essential life skills. 

Through regular interactions with mentors, children gain a sense of belonging and acceptance, which can counteract feelings of isolation or neglect associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Research published in the Journal of Community Psychology highlights the positive impact of mentorship on children's social-emotional development, academic achievement, and overall well-being. 

Additionally, mentorship provides opportunities for children to explore their interests, build positive relationships, and develop critical thinking skills, laying the foundation for future success and fulfillment.

Simply put, mentors are a BIG DEAL!

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