Sanctuary In Progress

The Gene Slay’s Girls & Boys Club is proud to announce that the Saint Louis Mental Health Board has awarded GSGBC a three-year grant to hire a full-time Licensed Clinical Social Worker and provide trauma-informed care to our members. GSGBC is in the process of implementing the Sanctuary Model of organizational change and responsive trauma care. Some common examples of trauma that our kids may face include physical, psychological, or sexual abuse; violence against one’s family members/close friends; exposure to neighborhood violence; or living with household members who are mentally ill, suicidal, substance abusers, or were incarcerated.

As a result, GSGBC will evaluate and update all organizational systems and policies to ensure that they are trauma-informed and culturally competent. GSGBC will implement the Sanctuary Model in our extended learning environment where GSGBC’s existing core competencies provide a strong base of supportive and impactful resources.

Research indicates that regular exposure to trauma from a young age has lasting effects on the brain’s development. Areas such as the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory, develop rapidly in early childhood, while the prefrontal cortex, which regulates thoughts and attention, matures more rapidly during adolescence. As described by one pediatrician, these children are living in a “constant state of emergency,” and it has very real implications for their brain development, academic achievement, and social functioning.

Children who have experienced trauma may find it more challenging than their peers to pay attention and process new information, and evidence suggests that some of these children develop sensory processing difficulties which can contribute to problems with writing and reading.

Knowing the areas where its youth live, GSGBC knows that its members are negatively impacted by trauma on a regular basis. In a trauma-informed environment at GSGBC, these youth will strengthen the skills they need to thrive academically and socially.