Trauma & Resilience
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trauma & resilience

Positive early life experiences are key for optimal development and lay the foundation for lifelong health, learning and success. The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation and Every Child Thrives partners work together to promote the importance of building positive relationships with children, from the moment they are born.

Negative early experiences of trauma and environments of toxic stress can physically and negatively alter brain development. In the absence of positive relationships, childhood adversity increases the likelihood of long-term learning and health challenges.

Building Resilience through Trauma-Informed Approaches

Resilience is the ability to bounce back - to adapt or recover - from adversity. Resilience is a skill that is learned, allowing us to positively adapt to changing situations in order to move forward to be productive, healthy citizens.

Our goal of having a “trauma informed” community is to build awareness of trauma, its impact, and how we can work together to help children, as well as the adults who care for them, to build resilience.

being trauma-informed

Being trauma-informed means shifting your lens from asking:
What's wrong with you? What happened to you?
Individuals and organizations that are trauma informed take intentional steps to:
  • Realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand potential paths to resilience
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in children, families, staff, and community
  • Respond by integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices
  • Seek to actively resist re-traumatization

Principles that guide a trauma-informed approach include:
  • Safety
  • Trustworthiness
  • Collaboration
  • Empowerment
  • Choice

Learn more about what trauma-informed care “looks like” in the Wisconsin Office for Children’s Mental Health Trauma Informed Care Continuum.

Please see our Training page to learn what resources we have available locally for organizations to begin, or continue, their trauma-informed journey.




“Becoming a trauma informed organization requires knowledge of the principles of trauma informed care and a commitment to change.

The implementation of a trauma-informed approach is a profound paradigm shift in knowledge, perspective, attitudes, and skills that continue to deepen and unfold over time.”

WI Office of Children’s Mental Health, February, 2017



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community pledge

community pledge

The Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation and its Every Child Thrives partners encourage businesses, non-profits, schools, faith-based organizations, healthcare providers, social service and government agencies to adopt trauma-informed approaches that build community resilience.

In 2020, more than 40 local organizations signed a pledge, stating the following:
"We understand there is a definite correlation between the experience of trauma and resulting behavioral and health problems when the effects of adverse experiences go unrecognized and unaddressed. As a community we express a shared commitment to understand and address the causes and consequences of trauma, and to build protective factors that support a strong, resilient community where children and families thrive. We pledge to strengthen our organization's approach to developing resiliency."
Organizations that pledge are being provided information, resources, and support as needed from Every Child Thrives partners.

Pledge organizations include:

Badgerland After School Enrichment Program (BASE)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Wisconsin

Calvary Baptist Christian School

Church Health Services

City of Watertown (All Departments)

Community Care Preschool & Child Care - Beaver Dam

Community Dental Clinic - Jefferson County

Community Pediatrics - Beaver Dam / Waupun

Dodge County Birth to 3 / Green Valley Enterprises

Dodge County Human Services & Health Department

Dodgeland School District

Fort HealthCare

Future All Star’s Academy

The Gathering Source

Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation

Hanrahan Law Offices

Hero’s Cafe

Hustisford Community Library

Hustisford Police Department

Hustisford School District

Hustisford Soccer Club

Jefferson County Circuit Court

Jefferson County Head Start

Jefferson County Health Department

Jefferson County Human Services Department

Juneau Public Library

Karl Junginger Memorial Library - Waterloo

Kiddie Kampus

Kingdom Workers

Lake Mills Area School District

School District of Jefferson

St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church & School

UW-Madison Division of Extension

Waterloo School District

Watertown Area YMCA

Watertown Family Center

Watertown Family Practice

Watertown Public Library

Watertown Regional Medical Center

Watertown Unified School District

Willows Christian Child Care Center

4-C (Community Coordinated Child Care)

training & consultation
for pledge partners

The first step for any one individual or organization to become trauma-informed and resilience-oriented is to learn what it means, and why it’s important. We are pleased to offer the following resources to our partners to help build awareness within their organizations.

On-Demand “Trauma & Resilience 101” Training

An on-demand, 1 hour training video that organizations can use to provide an initial training for staff members. This is also a tool that can be used for new employee orientation. Discussion questions are included with the video.

  • Please fill out this simple form to access the Trauma & Resilience 101 training video.

  • We ask for this information so we can follow up with you to know if the training was helpful.

  • Upon completing this form, you will be directed to a webpage with the training video and discussion questions.


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In-Person Training

Consultation for Organizations

resources