Daily Progress names Ingrid Ramos to "Distinguished Dozen"

Ingrid Ramos, LPC, is one of twelve Central Virginia residents honored in the Daily Progress’s annual “Distinguished Dozen.” Ramos is the Bienestar & Resilience Programs Director for The Women’s Initiative.

In the profile, “Serving the Latinx community with love,” reporter Allison Wrabel writes that Ramos “is working to empower the Hispanic community in the Charlottesville area through leadership opportunities and culturally responsive mental health care.”

Executive Director Elizabeth Irvin, LCSW, told the Daily Progress, “Our community is stronger because of the work Ingrid does, and maybe even more importantly the compassionate way that she does her work and the way that she leads.”

“She will help anyone,” said Monica Luna, a volunteer for The Women’s Initiative who has worked with Ramos through the Trauma-Informed Cross-Cultural Psychoeducation program. “She will go out of her way to find a way, and if she can’t do it she will point you to what way to go and who to ask … When you talk to her, her voice and just her way gives you peace.”

Read the full article here.

Resilience Resources for A12 & Beyond

The anniversary of a traumatic event can be a difficult time. And for many in our community, August 12 and its aftermath are a part of ongoing historical and racial traumas that impact everyday life. Caring for ourselves and our community is so important, and the following strategies compiled by the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition can help us this summer and beyond.

Seek Emotional Safety

  • Notice what things cause you to feel stress and anxiety
  • Reduce media exposure
  • Do things to help cope with stress, such as exercise, journaling, meditation, or prayer

Stay Connected

  • Keep routines with family and friends
  • Stay involved in activities & groups that make you feel good
  • For mental health info & referral, call 434-227-0641 or see www.helphappenshere.org

Foster Hope & Work for Change

  • Notice negative thoughts
  • Reflect on personal and community progress
  • Participate in activities that promote equity and safety for all
  • Do something to help others

Support Children

  • Limit media exposure
  • Support children to make a positive difference in their community
  • Answer kids’ questions honestly
  • Discuss concerns with teachers/professionals

The Women's Initiative and other community organizations have many offerings to provide support and care around the anniversary of August 12 as well as the historical and racial traumas that came before and have happened since. On Saturday, August 11, The Women's Initiative is offering a Free Walk-In Wellness Clinic at our Jefferson School City Center Office from 11 am-5 pm. For a comprehensive list of emotional support services throughout the summer, visit the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition.

Trauma-informed care discussion draws 700 attendees

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The Greater Charlottesville community came together Tuesday morning to commit to addressing trauma as a major public-health issue. 

Theresa Caldwell, left, and Dr. Allison Sampson-Jackson.

Theresa Caldwell, left, and Dr. Allison Sampson-Jackson.

Dr. Allison Sampson-Jackson and Theresa Caldwell lead a conversation entitled “Trauma: How it affects you and every member of our community” at the Paramount. More than 700 people were in attendance.  

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The Women’s Initiative was a co-host of the event in partnership with Adiuvans, the Greater Charlottesville Trauma-Informed Community Network, ReadyKids, Piedmont CASA, the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition and the Early Education Task Force.

Toxic trauma is the result of prolonged or multiple exposures to adverse childhood experiences, abbreviated ACEs, such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse. A landmark study in the 1990s established that these experiences are common and can impact many aspects of physical and mental health, even leading to early death. Additional research is also connecting multigenerational trauma and historical oppression of minority communities to negative health outcomes.

Theresa Caldwell, left, and TWI Board Member Beverly Adams, PhD.

Theresa Caldwell, left, and TWI Board Member Beverly Adams, PhD.

A recent study, for example, found that 61% of mental health conditions that caused a disruption in work or other activities for 14 days or more were related to ACES.

“People are dying, going to jail, suffering...we have to be able to talk about it,” Sampson-Jackson said.

Sampson-Jackson and Caldwell also stressed that resilience—the ability to bounce back from difficult experiences—can be built and nurtured in individuals, families and communities.

The Women’s Initiative is committed to being a leader in trauma-informed care in Central Virginia. TWI Executive Director Elizabeth Irvin, LCSW, is on the steering committee of the Greater Charlottesville Trauma-Informed Community Network and is co-chair of the Community Mental Health and Wellness Coalition. And, as a part of our 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, The Women’s Initiative is creating a comprehensive trauma program to bring greater awareness of all the ways to heal trauma—including therapy, movement, groups and education.

To learn more or become involved in the Greater Charlottesville Trauma-Informed Community Network, email Trauma@PCASA.org and include your name in the body of the email.

A Voice for the Silent: Selections from Challenge into Change #1

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Challenge into Change is The Women’s Initiative’s annual writing contest honoring women’s stories of overcoming life challenges to find hope and healing.

In the lead-up to this year’s December 15 deadline for submissions, we’re revisiting the stories of resilience, hope and growth writers shared with us in 2016-17, starting with this powerful, lyrical poem about overcoming domestic violence by Donna Lloyd.

You Are

By Donna Lloyd

Domestic violence rocks a person's world.
It turns everything upside down.
It is a hurricane,
that blows the fiercest of winds.
It is a tsunami, that slams you like a freight train.
It's an atomic bomb,
destroying everything you hold dear. 

You wake up one day –
Your friends are gone.
Your family is gone.
But worst of all,
You are gone. 

You were born with a light
burning bright - deep inside you.
It has always been there.
When the dark days come,
go and find this light.
Take hold of its hand. 
You will do things you have
long since forgotten you could do.
You have the power.
You are worthy. 
You are strong.

How our judges and readers responded…

  • “What a moving, empowering poem.”
  • “I really like how your use of repetition evolves from images of destruction and pessimism to images of hope and optimism.”

About the author...

Donna is a survivor of childhood trauma and domestic abuse. Continuing on her healing path, she seeks to become a voice for the silent by raising awareness of these issues through her writing and art.