Newton, NJ

New Program Supports Trauma Survivors, Promotes Prevention

Project Self-Sufficiency
Haley McCracken, Project Self-Sufficiency will address positive and adverse childhood experiences during new workshop series.Project Self-Sufficiency

Project Self-Sufficiency announces the October launch of a new workshop and discussion series, “Pizza & PACEs”, designed to facilitate the conversation about issues surrounding Positive & Adverse Childhood Experiences (PACEs). Trauma experts and guest speakers will address the impact of adverse childhood experiences on social, emotional, and cognitive development, and offer tips and strategies for building resiliency. The interactive workshops will be held on Mondays, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., October 4th and 18th, November 1st and 15th, and December 6th. Pizza will be provided; advance registration is required. All attendees must be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Adverse childhood experiences are widely recognized as falling into three distinct categories, abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. Examples of negative behavior said to result from ACEs include smoking, alcoholism, drug use, absenteeism, and lack of physical activity. These behaviors can cause a cascade of physical and mental health problems, from diabetes to cancer to suicidal thoughts. It is estimated that approximately 67% of the population has experienced at least one adverse childhood experience.

The new Pizza & PACEs sessions build on the work already underway at Project Self-Sufficiency. The agency’s PACEs program brings together professionals, providers, and parents who are committed to increasing awareness of the impact of childhood trauma on juvenile development, future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity.

“At Project Self-Sufficiency, we often encounter individuals and families who have experienced varying levels of trauma,” explains Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon. “With the new PACEs initiative, our goal is to help make our community a place in which every child can thrive by providing education and training on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and assuring safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments.”

In addition to hearing from guest speakers, participants in the Pizza & PACEs workshops will be introduced to the Connections Matter curriculum, a program funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and led by Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey designed to engage providers, parents, and community members in building caring connections to improve resiliency. Discussion will focus on the prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences and trauma and demonstrate how caring connections serve as a primary buffer in the negative effects of trauma. The training is appropriate for parents and providers raising and teaching school aged children.

The Pizza & PACEs program at Project Self-Sufficiency is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Call 973-940-3500 to register. Project Self-Sufficiency is located at 127 Mill Street, Newton.

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Project Self-Sufficiency is a community-based non-profit organization which specializes in services for low-income families in northwestern New Jersey. Programs offered at Project Self-Sufficiency include family literacy education, computer training and job placement services, assistance with parenting skills, childcare, counseling and advocacy, referrals, and help with emergency basic needs. To donate or for more information about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, visit or call 973-940-3500.

Newton, NJ

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