By Darlene C. Carey
“This is really very apropos in terms of timing,” said Kris Johns, the Flint ReCAST program coordinator, describing the second annual Resiliency Summit, which will also include the second annual Environmental Justice Summit, on Monday, March 26, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the Mott Community College Event Center.
The event, co-hosted by city officials and the Flint Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) program, is meant to address issues pertaining to the Flint Water Crisis, but also critical factors that have lingered and have stifled growth to the Flint community, such as the persisting distrust residents have toward city government.
Organizers selected the theme for the second annual summit as “Surviving and Into Thriving.” The summit will include a day session of community discussions and professional development workshops, and an evening community expo with activities and strategies to promote resiliency and environmental justice for Flint-area residents. They emphasize it is not too late to register, by going to www.flintrecast.com/resiliency-summit.
Flint ReCAST is a partnership between the City of Flint and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, the University of Michigan-Flint, and Genesee Health System, Johns explained. The goal of Flint ReCAST is to support the community in building individual and community resiliency using trauma-informed approaches for local professionals who work with community members at high-risk of experiencing trauma.
ReCAST also provides evidence-based youth and family programs that build resiliency and communication, and supports youth in building expectations for their futures through building socio-emotional capacity. The program is funded from a five-year federal grant of $4.9 million awarded to the City from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“For us, the Water Crisis is the main piece, but we’re also seeing the generational disinvestment that’s happening in Flint. We’re seeing young people growing up in a community that does not have the supports that previous generations have received in regards to employers, we’re seeing significant cultural organizations and institutions that have shrunk over the years, so our goal is to work directly with organizations that have a frontline focus on youth in Flint,” Johns said.
“As a follow-up to our 2017 Resiliency Summit, this year’s event will feature leaders who actively work to promote the concept of resiliency in their community,” said Vicki Johnson-Lawrence, PhD and co-project director for Flint ReCAST and assistant professor at MSU College of Human Medicine’s Division of Public Health in Flint. “The Flint community is interested in learning more about how we can incorporate trauma-informed approaches into their families, organizations, and workplaces.”
“Thought leaders,” people who work in school, law enforcement or community organizations, can speak and apply techniques to residents and area professional about the specific issues that impact them. Johns’ reiterated, “Who benefits is two-fold, the residents of the City of Flint, as well as the professionals that work in the community and human services organizations in the city.”
Johns said as of last week 350 had registered, many of whom are returnees from last year’s summit. Community members are mostly hearing about the summit word-of-mouth and through the ReCast network.
At the day session, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., participants will be able to participate with local professionals in panel discussions, training, strategy sessions, and educational workshops to address resiliency and environmental justice. Following the day session, community members, including parents and youth, are encouraged to attend the Community Expo, from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be performances by the Boys and Girls Club Steel Drum Band and Kuungana African Drum and Dance Company, craft activities by Flint Handmade, mindfulness sessions led by staff of the Crim Fitness Foundation, and a photo booth. Johns emphasized the public is welcome and there is no cost to attend. To register for the Day Session or Community Expo Evening session, please visit www.flintrecast.com/resiliency-summit
For more information about the event, visit Facebook Event Links:
Day Session: https://www.facebook.com/events/215767225661842/
Evening Session: https://www.facebook.com/events/150173692325809/
EVM staff writer Darlene C. Carey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.