By Autumn Diesburg
RISE AmeriCorps Macro Communications Member
The experience of unresolved trauma can affect all aspects of our lives, making understanding what trauma is and how we can respond to it key to our day-to-day quality of life. Still, the term is often misunderstood or misused, compounding confusion for people seeking to understand their own stress and pain. So, what does the word ‘trauma’ actually mean and how can we respond to its presence within our own lives and the lives of those we care about?
In recent months, increased exposure to media coverage of global, national, and local crises has left many RISE AmeriCorps members questioning how they can identify and respond to their own stress and trauma responses.
In adults, trauma is a result of a person’s coping ability being overwhelmed by life-threatening danger – either to someone important in their lives or to themselves, said Tony Raymer, Director of Brain Health at Easterseals Iowa. Children, however, who need adults to survive, may be traumatized when they lack adults who take care of their social, emotional, or physical needs. After experiencing traumatization, Raymer said, common trauma responses tend to fall under five umbrellas:
Over lunch each week, just down the block from each other’s organization, RISE AmeriCorps Member David Clower and First Lutheran Church Food Services Coordinator Ruth Ehrhardt bonded over their shared passion of community service. Together, they strategized Clower’s plans for the future and ways to connect resources for the Afghan refugees Clower primarily serves.
“I got super lucky because Ruth has an incredible wealth of experience that she has been able to share with me,” Clower said.
Through the unique opportunity of the RISE AmeriCorps mentorship program, members are gaining professional and personal connections to lead them successfully into their next season of life. RISE AmeriCorps members are carefully matched with mentors according to their ambitions. The pairs then meet for one hour per week for at least six months, talking through steps to meet their goals.