In April 2015, Building a Thriving Compassionate Community (BTCC) started as a small group of passionate individuals talking about the effects of trauma in Monroe County, Indiana. We wanted to create common language around trauma and trauma-sensitive practices, and help connect existing resources and initiatives to be more effective and responsive. Within the first few months of convening, BTCC began to shift attention and focus to understanding how trauma could be prevented in the first place – how trajectories for children, families, neighborhoods, and communities could be improved if we could assure safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments (SSNRE's) from the start.
In January of 2016, BTCC became the fifth sub-committee of the Asset Building Coalition of Monroe County, which enabled our network to become part of the national Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge. The Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge, in turn, grew the network to include local nonprofits and organizations committed to addressing root causes. With this next round of growth, it became clear that more infrastructure was needed to support BTCC's activities, and so members decided in 2017 to move their work under the umbrella of the Youth Services Bureau of Monroe County. The shift allowed sub-committee efforts to continue to develop and expand, with dedicated staff time allocated to assist existing efforts and nurture new ones.
Today, our network structure looks different, but BTCC is still guided by our initial tenants - trauma-informed frameworks and primary prevention strategies are central to our approach, and we work for an equitable community that promotes safety and health with strategies along all parts of the social-ecological model, from individual to structural.
Today, BTCC has a Membership that includes individuals, organizations, non-profits, parents, youth workers and more. Our membership connects regularly to carry out the work of building safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments and addressing barriers to building healthy community connections in Monroe County.
Our work is guided by a Core Team comprised of several BTCC members and YSB's Prevention Coordinator. The Core Team meets quarterly, and helps keep the network in alignment with our values and standard operating procedures. The Core Team also supports network wide decision-making, ensuring that the expertise and needs of members drive our work.
We believe that:
All community members deserve a safe, stable, nurturing environment in which to learn, play, work, and live.
We define trauma as:
Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual
We define primary prevention as:
A systematic process that promotes safe and healthy environments and behaviors, reducing the likelihood or frequency of an incident, injury or harm occurring.
Many BTCC members stay engaged with the network through specific Communities of Practice. At the moment, we have two active Communities of Practice - Implicit Bias and Primary Prevention. The Implicit Bias Community of Practice meets monthly, facilitates trainings for community organizations & groups, and works to address the ways that bias, both interpersonal and structural, impacts the lives of youth and adults in our community, and creates disparate outcomes in the well-being of community members. The Primary Prevention Gathering also meets monthly, and offers a space for members to dive into applying primary prevention to their work, and troubleshooting in a supportive environment.
Members also connect more broadly through Quarterly Gatherings, which are a chance for the network to come together for shared learning, reflection, community building, or advocacy. Generally member-facilitated, these spaces are flexible to the needs of the network and community. Quarterly Gatherings are currently virtual to prioritize member safety & accessibility during covid-19.
Our work doesn't just stay within the network though - some BTCC members also facilitate popular education, interactive trainings for community organizations and groups. Our core trainings cover Primary Prevention, Dominant Narrative, Trauma 101 and Implicit Bias. Any BTCC member can become a trainer by going through a Training of Trainers and engaging in ongoing training groups specific to the training's topic.
And lastly, our network partners with YSB to co-host the annual Monroe County Childhood Conditions Summit (MC3). Our MC3 Planning Team lets BTCC members bring their, and their communities', expertise in connection, prevention, & more to the Monroe County community at large.
See something on our current structure image that's missing a description? It's likely on hiatus because of COVID-19, or it's a structure our network has outgrown!