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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
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Tyrone Quarterman, BA, MPH Candidate
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Georgia Kioukis, PhD

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Hopeworks Youth Healing Team

Hopeworks 'N Camden

Hopeworks Youth Healing Team Logo

Program Website
New Jersey
Winner Status:
Program Type:
Training and Skill Building
Target Population:
Providers and Caregivers

Program Description

As Hopeworks began to learn more and more about the effects of trauma and the power of trauma informed care, it quickly became evident that just helping youth heal was not enough. Youth could take the lead in training their own community. Thus was the Hopeworks Youth Healing Team born. Beginning in June of 2014, Hopeworks staff began training youth about trauma, adverse childhood experiences and ways to deal with them, and how to teach others. By January of 2017, the Hopeworks Youth Healing Team had trained over 1200 teachers, educators, and professionals across the state. Their work has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Courier Post, SJ Magazine, and NJTV, to name just a few. Even more importantly, by contracting for paid training sessions with the school districts and youth organizations across the region, the Hopeworks Youth Healing Team is not only able to pay its youth trainers, but also sustain itself for growth. Since January of 2015, the Hopeworks youth Healing Team has closed over $41,500 in training contracts, allowing it to not only spread key information about trauma, but also sustain itself with a positive operating margin.


By presenting information about adverse childhood experiences in an engaging and non-traditional way, the young people of the Youth Healing Team are working to spread the information about the effects of trauma to audiences who would not normally hear about it. Thus far, their work has been amazingly successful. Described by participants as “transformative,” “life-changing,” and “an amazing experience,” the presentations by the Youth Healing Team are doing a great deal to change the conversation locally, regionally, and nationally! When organizations are presented with powerful information, they respond. Perhaps the most dramatic example is the Youth Healing Team’s training of corporate staff at Subaru of America! Subaru realized that, as they hire Camden residents for their training programs, they need to understand the impact of chronic stress and trauma. Hopeworks youth were there to teach them!


Key to the team’s success in training and spreading the word about trauma is, of course, the fact that youth of Camden are the ones both making and designing the presentation. They decide which elements of trauma-informed practice and Adverse Childhood Experiences are most important, and have developed incredible and innovative ways to make an impact with this groundbreaking information. The Hopeworks Youth Healing Team is not only spreading information about trauma, but also training other youth and youth systems in how to develop their own “Youth Healing Teams” to spread the word in their own local communities through partnerships in Philadelphia, Trenton, and elsewhere.


Since January of 2015, the Hopeworks youth Healing Team has closed over $41,500 in training contracts, allowing Hopeworks to not only pay its youth trainers, but also to provide sustainable, positive operating margins for growth. Our most recent clients include contracts to train every teacher in the Camden School District, as well as contracts to train staff at Gloucester Township Public Schools, Subaru of America, Foundations Academies in Trenton, Camden Charter School Network, JEVS Human Services, Fair Share Housing, and Teach for America. By providing a valuable service that key community partners are willing to pay for, the Hopeworks Youth Healing Team not only helps spread the word about the health impacts of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences, but also generates revenue to pay its trainers and support is work.


Using readily available information, the Hopeworks youth healing team has developed a well-documented methodology for recruiting youth, training them in the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences over the lifespan, and facilitating the team’s development of innovative activities to convey these issues. To develop and practice this methodology, Hopeworks has actively partnered with organizations both regionally and nationally, including the Camden School District, Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, Rutgers University, Galindez Community Center, Teach for America, CPAC, ACES Connection, the Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care, and the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma, Gloucester School District, Camden Charter School Network, Foundation Academies, and others. This process is one that is not only successful, but very replicable. Once an organization decides to put the trust in its young people, the process of training youth and helping them develop the presentation materials is clear and yields dramatic results.


By presenting information about trauma and its impact in an engaging, innovative way, the Hopeworks Youth Healing Team is building a level of trauma awareness across stakeholders that might never otherwise meet. Recognizing the value, the Camden School District not only contracted with the Youth Healing Team to train every teacher in the District, but invited one of the Youth Trainers to share here experience at the “State of the Schools” Press Conference. Similarly, Subaru of America, recognizing the value, invited the Youth Healing Team to its Corporate Headquarters to train its staff in the impact of trauma and trauma informed care. School systems across the region are not only recognizing the importance of understanding trauma informed care, but also see the value in learning about trauma to improve their operations and their outcomes. Having trained over 1200 educators and professionals, the Hopeworks Youth Healing Team is just getting started!