Castleton University’s Center for Social Justice and Trauma Informed Care was named the recipient of a 2021 Hills and Hollows Fund Grant from The Vermont Community Foundation.
The Center for Social Justice and Trauma Informed Care launched in 2020 under the leadership of Castleton faculty Linda Olson, Pat Brougham, Margaret Miles, Michael Reeves, and Marian Kurath, as well as Martha Coulter and Amy Bremel from the Castleton Wellness Center. Its mission is to provide resources for educating both the Castleton campus and professionals throughout the greater Rutland Region in the areas of social justice and trauma informed care, fostering collaborations between the campus and the community to serve the health and wellbeing of residents throughout the region.
The heart of the Center’s work is furthering education on diversity, equity, and inclusion to dismantle structural inequality and the trauma it generates. The Center’s goal is to become a hub where professionals throughout the Rutland Region can go to access the necessary resources to help fill gaps in services. Additionally, the Center will provide important educational programming and support for providers who work in education, social service, criminal justice agencies, and more, focusing on topics like how trauma manifests itself in healthcare and mental health, how to identify trauma, and how to respond to it.
Castleton’s Center for Social Justice and Trauma Informed Care recently held two training sessions utilizing funds from the Hills and Hollows grant, including a day-long conference on Oct. 8. The Center invited community partners to campus to participate in discussions and screen the documentary film “The Wisdom of Trauma.” The event also featured a keynote lecture from Dr. Whitney Howzell, executive director of the Claudia Black Center – an inpatient treatment program for young adults in Arizona. More than 50 professionals from local schools, corrections, and other areas attended the event.
“Our hope was to get a sense from them about where the Center could help professionals in the field,” Olson said. “Some themes that came up was the need for support for vicarious trauma, a lack of support, a lack of authentic training – it gave us an agenda.”
The Sept. 24 training was made possible by a planning grant from the Bowse Health Trust.
The Center for Social Justice and Trauma Informed Care complements Castleton’s Trauma Studies Certificate, which currently has 25 students enrolled in the program.
Established in 2003, the Hills and Hollows Fund aims to promote sustainable, healthy, vital, and democratic communities, supporting educational opportunities, children and families, and efforts that foster the future sustainability of Poultney, Vermont, and its nearby communities.