From the Parent Education Desk: Creating Resilient Families

“Our family is facing financial issues at home, discipline issues with our middle child at school, and an overwhelming schedule. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. What can I do?”*

SCAN’s Parent Education team hears a lot of questions from local parents in our classes, support groups and workshops. They send a great monthly email to parents to respond to those concerns, and now we’re sharing them here on the blog, too!

Every family goes through hard times; resilient families are able to bounce back after those hard times. Resilience is defined as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.” It’s about how you handle negative feelings and move forward in a healthy, positive manner.
It is important to remember that resilience is something that is developed over time through thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Some steps families can take to become more resilient: create a strengths family tree, practice optimist, and rejuvenate regularly. For more concrete steps to take as a family to increase your resiliency, click here (English) or click here (Spanish).
(Learn more about SCAN’s Parent Education Program here.)
* Questions edited to protect privacy.

SCAN to Host “Helping the Helpers” Summit in Loudoun

October 4, 2017–On November 7th, SCAN will host “Helping the Helpers,” the fourth summit in Loudoun as part of its Resilient Children, Resilient Loudoun initiative through support from the Northern Virginia Health Foundation. This event is for all community members, especially those who work with or interact with people who have suffered trauma, or want to know more about secondary traumatic stress.

Presenters will include Christina Cunningham, MS, from Fairfax TICN; Allyson Halverson, BS, CCLS, CTP, Certified Child Life Specialist from Inova Loudoun HospitalJohn P Walker, Ph.D., LMFT with Family Connections, Loudoun County Department of Family Services; and members of the FBI Victims Assistance Program.

  • Tickets are $20 per person (including lunch) and are available to purchase online at:
  • Download a flyer for the event HERE.

This event is brought to you by the Loudoun County Partnership for Resilient Children and Families: HealthWorks for Northern Virginia | INMED Partnerships for Children | Inova Loudoun Hospital Emergency RoomLoudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS)/Loudoun Citizens for Social Justice | Loudoun Child Advocacy Center | Loudoun County Government DFS/CPS and Mental Health Services | Loudoun County Public Schools | Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office | NVFS | SCAN of Northern Virginia

Made possible by financial support from the Northern Virginia Health Foundation and SCAN of Northern Virginia.

For more information, please contact SCAN Public Education Manager Tracy Leonard: tleonard(at)

What We Learned at our “RESILIENCE” Film Screenings

This Spring, SCAN hosted a series of free film screenings and panel discussions about the award-winning documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope. Held with partners in Alexandria, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, we engaged  parents and professionals in discussions about what it means when a child is resilient, how trauma affects the brain and body, and what we can do as a community to use this research in our work with children and families.

Here are the top 5 things we learned by hosting these screenings:

  1. Attendees are committed to creating a common language around trauma informed care in our communities.
  2. Hundreds of viewers left with greater knowledge of childhood trauma and resilience.
  3. We need to have a greater appreciation of the connection between the physical body and mental health.
  4. Attendees appreciated the professional insight from the panelists and the value that the post-movie conversation added.
  5. It takes one caring adult to make a difference in the life of a child.

We’d like to send a special thank you to our panelists:

  • Dr. Katherine Deye
  • Judith Martens
  • Diana Bermudez
  • Ana Bonilla-Galdamez
  • Maria Genova
  • Ramona Simmons
  • Kendra Kilbasa
  • Steve Liga
  • Karin Spencer
  • Laurie Warhol
  • Pat Victorsen
  • Carissa Shifflett

If you’d like to learn more about the movie and the possibility of future screenings, please contact SCAN’s Public Education Manager Tracy Leonard: tleonard(at)

SCAN to Host Screenings, Discussions on Film “Resilience”

April 7, 2017 — With a diverse group of community partners, SCAN is hosting a series of movie screenings of the award-winning documentary “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope”. SCAN hopes to spark discussion with parents, community members, teachers, human service providers, doctors, and more with communities across Northern Virginia!
Everyone is welcome. To attend, you simply need to be willing to help teach your child, a family you know, or the community in which you live, how to become resilient in the face of adversity. Watch a film preview here:
The April 7th screening in Fairfax was sold-out!

To RSVP for May 16th in Alexandria
> Download a flyer for the Alexandria event HERE

To RSVP for May 23 in Loudoun
> Download a flyer for the Loudoun event HERE

To RSVP for June 7 in Manassas/Prince William
> Download a flyer for the Manassas event HERE
The film and panel discussion will teach guests that an ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) score:
  • should be used as a tool to better understand family and community health needs
  • can empower a parent to make changes in their lives and for their children
  • supports the need to interrupt cycles of abuse and neglect in order to have a healthier community
  • is about teaching individuals to become resilient in the face of adversity

Learn more about ACEs on our Parent Resource Center here.

Learn more about Resiliency on our Parent Resource Center here.