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Local wellness coalition is all about community

Local wellness coalition is all about community

Admit it. You have seen the posts of the Durham Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition scroll by on your Facebook page, but you don’t always stop.

I mean, you know they have something to do with wellness, and you have seen their event listings here and there, but the question lingers: what exactly do they do? 

Having attended the Monday, Jan. 13 screening of “Resilience” at Strong School, I can tell you what the wellness coalition does. Supported by the hard work of prevention coordinator Dena Miccinello, the group provides information about issues that affect all of us. Not just the elderly, or those facing illness and addiction – all of us.

In the company of health care professionals, teachers, town officials, clergy and social workers, I had the privilege to view and discuss this groundbreaking study of how trauma in childhood affects the most vulnerable members of society. The conversation gave shape to our shared goal: understanding where help is found when there appears to be none.

A community discussing community, facilitated by the work of the LWC. You don’t need me to point out what an exquisite metaphor this is.    

Directed by James Redford (son of Robert), “Resilience” details the astonishing effects of physical and emotional upheaval in childhood, and the work of those trying to offer support and healing; not just to children, but to families and school communities.

There is solace to be found in that support. To hear “You’re not alone any more” is to know that someone cares, and that is where change begins. 

Dr. Michael Kalinowski, a member of the wellness coalition, offers the following reflection on the film’s message: “Adverse Childhood Experiences are a significant root cause for many of the health conditions affecting our population. Early identification of ACEs in children and adolescents allows for early intervention strategies that can make a profound difference in that child's health outcomes and well-being. Increased public awareness of ACEs can help us to build a community that works to prevent these adverse events as well as provide services and support to individuals and families that are affected.” 

Complement that with the sound advice of Mary Emerling, school health supervisor from Middletown. With regard to stress reduction, she believes we can make “relaxation skills as normal as brushing your teeth.” 

So, the next time you see a Facebook post from the Durham-Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition, stop and read the details. Check your calendar. See if you can attend. If you can’t attend, tell your neighbor about it, or a co-worker. Take a moment to read the post, or share it, or like it.

You don’t need to be a teacher or a social worker to take advantage of what the wellness coalition has to offer. You are a member of a community, and that is the only prerequisite.