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Initiative launched to provide trauma awareness, training and support in North Iowa

MASON CITY – Community leaders today announced the launch of the North Iowa Trauma Initiative (NITI). NITI aims to create greater awareness of the impact of childhood trauma, to support education, increase access to services and improve the quality of trauma care to build a brighter future for North Iowa communities. NITI will soon announce a series of free training workshops for the community in October.

North Iowa Trauma Initiative (NITI) is a collaboration initiated by leaders of community organizations. The NITI executive team includes: Mark Neibauer, director, Four Oaks Family and Children’s Services; Andy Eastwood, executive director, Wellsource; Mary Ingham, executive director, Crisis Invention Service; Jen Butler, community impact director, United Way of North Central Iowa; and Mary Schissel, director, Mason City Youth Task Force.

NITI executive team formed a leadership committee that includes nearly 50 community representatives from school districts, police departments, emergency management, health care, public agencies and business leaders within Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Hancock, Mitchell, Winnebago and Worth counties.

“There is a tremendous need to address childhood trauma in our community,” said Four Oaks Mason City Director Mark Neibauer, and founding member of NITI. ”Youth impacted by traumatic experiences are at greater risk of poor mental, physical and social health. Our goal is to train others, creating a community filled with compassion and caring. By working together, we can help children and families live healthier, more productive lives.”

North Iowa Trauma Initiative received major funding from a $49,434 grant from Telligen Community Initiative (TCI), the private charitable foundation of Telligen, Inc.

“Creating a community more informed about the impact of trauma is a critical step to building a healthier future for children and families,” said Matt McGarvey, executive director of TCI. “We are proud that our funding will foster greater community understanding and support.”

North Iowa Trauma Initiative will collaborate with mental health experts from the Midwest Trauma Service Network to educate members of the community on ways to help children and families impacted by trauma.

Adverse childhood experiences are common among Iowa adults. According to a report by ACEs 360 Iowa, data shows that 56 percent of Iowa adults report experiencing at least one of eight categories of child abuse and household dysfunction growing up. 14.5 percent experienced four or more ACEs, indicating a significant level of childhood trauma that greatly increases the risk of poor outcomes.

North Iowa Trauma Initiative (NITI) is an action group formed to create a trauma-informed community by building awareness of the lifelong impacts of childhood trauma and supporting education and practices to prevent and lessen its effects. NITI collaboration is leading efforts to improve the long-term health and well-being of children, families and communities in North Iowa.

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