Local organization addresses the issues of Trauma in our community By Vee L. Harrison

Leaders in Transformational Education (LITE) is an Aurora-based organization that dedicates its work to providing opportunity youth with access to resources to better futures. LITE helps individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 who are currently high school dropouts seeking work. LITE’s mission is to build creative pathways in communities through education and training, resulting in higher earning potential for opportunity youth and their families.  

Due to its work in local schools and organizations, LITE works with youth who may have been victims of traumatic experiences in their lives or adults who are responsible for educating and mentoring youth who have experienced some form of trauma. Just recently, LITE hosted a free three-day training series at the Aurora Police Department to address the issues of trauma and educate locals on how to recognize and handle traumatic situations for themselves and the youth in which they serve.  

The meaning of the traumatic experiences from childhood to adolescence was the basis of the trainings. Experts Michelle Arnold and Anne Studinski used activities and scenarios to help teach audience members positive and effective ways to cope with trauma. 

 “The information was new for some of the attendees, and others were quite familiar,” said Studinski, former Managing Director for Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition. “If these trainings took place a year ago, the information will still be vital. There are a lot of people who have been traumatized in this world. Trauma doesn’t go away. You don’t age out of it,” Studinski explained. 

During the three-day trainings, the audience consisted of local educators, school support staff, and even a Foreign exchange student. 

“You never know who you are talking to when it comes to discussing trauma,” said Arnold, former Chief Operating Officer of Illinois Collaboration on Youth.  

Arnold facilitated several activities during the trainings to help create real life scenarios for the attendees. The activities reinforced lesson plans to help manage trauma and cope with traumatic experiences.  

Aurora is a community that prides itself on maintaining safe neighborhoods and great learning environments for its young people. LITE works diligently with its community partners on reassuring that residents have what they need to maintain a safe community with safe schools.  

For more information and to stay up to date on future events, visit LITE’s website at www.liteleaders.org. To schedule a meeting with LITE’s CEO, Candace Thier, email candace@liteleaders.org.  

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