Thinking about Resilience

What is resilience? And where does it come from? These questions were the focus of the Resiliency Summer Summit at the Child Protection Training Center of the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, SC this week. Keynote speaker Machelle Madsen-Thompson, Ph.D. walked through case histories of children who had experienced severe trauma. Her work is about restoring the innate protective factors that become disabled in the wake of severe and repeated trauma. Her work suggests that resilience is about a kind of remembering, or a reactivation, of skills for coping with experiences, and not the imposition of new capabilities or technologies. So, more intrinsic than extrinsic.

As the Wellville 5 begin thinking about what resilience means — how to build it — and what it means to scale trauma-informed approaches across all sectors of community life, this basic understanding of the locus of resilience (inside versus outside) will be critical. Furthermore, an open appreciation for the unequal distribution of trauma — too often the result of structural injustices historical in nature — will help us identify, and help, those people who suffer most.

At the inception of this work, we look to others who have already taken steps to restore the natural functioning of these innate capabilities. One such site is Boston, MA. See their Blueprint for a resilient city here.

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Spartanburg City Council acknowledges, apologizes for systemic racism

Last Monday the Spartanburg City Council approved unanimously a “Healing, Reconciling and Unity” resolution, acknowledging “the historical antecedents of systemic racism” and apologizing to residents for “racial injustices and long-lasting inequities that have resulted from those policies.” The unprecedented resolution also enumerates specific actions Council members will take, including to “promote racial equity through all policies approved by City Council” and “support community efforts to amplify concerns about racist policies and practices.”

Close the gap: Racial equity is fundamental to our health

There is so much in our hearts and minds following these tumultuous past few months and intense past few days. This is a moment to consider the causes of the consequences that are now on full display. It’s time to call out what led to such health disparities and what will it take to improve outcomes for all.

All Hands on Deck

When Covid-19 hit the US, we asked ourselves: Now that everyone is just trying to stay alive and save jobs, is Wellville just a distraction? We can’t just preach about the long term and what people want to achieve by the end of the Wellville project while they are busy responding to the short term. Instead, we tried a different question: How can we build a better long-term future even as we address current needs?

Notes from the annual Wellville Gathering

A this year’s Wellville Gathering, teams from the Wellville 5 communities explored what it will take to shift long-term thinking and action among institutions, people and systems.

Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Well.

Kathy Dunleavy reflects on Wellville and the future of philanthropy: “Our tagline is ‘Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Well.’ When I think about Wellville in the context of philanthropy, [Wellville founder] Esther [Dyson] was extremely bold and brave. I hope this is just the beginning of a new type of philanthropy.”

The 2018 Wellville Gathering

The theme of the 2018 Wellville Gathering was to ask a simple question: What story do we want to tell at the end of the 10-year Wellville project, on December 31, 2024? Each Wellville community answered this question.