Attention parents, teachers, childcare providers and early childhood stakeholders: A free regional summit to address the impact of trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on a young child’s ability to learn and succeed in school is coming up on Aug. 16-17 at the Golden Leaf Commons.

The deadline to register online for Building Blocks of an Empowered Community: Resilient, Responsive, Ready to Learn is Thursday, Aug. 8 at

During the summit, presentations by expert speakers and panelists will focus on strategies to help individuals and local community systems cultivate an environment of resilience and responsiveness that will support families and children who have been exposed to trauma. Sessions on Friday, Aug. 16 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., features keynote speeches by Jason Davis, a gang specialist and peace advocate from New York and Isael Torres, a social justice champion from Utah. Panel discussions on community resiliency with Atif Qarni, Virginia Secretary of Education, and Chidi Uche, special assistant to the Virginia Secretary of Education with a focus on trauma-informed care, along with local parents and coaches; and a presentation on brain architecture by John Richardson-Lauve, director of mental health and lead trauma and resilience educator with ChildSavers. Sessions from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17 feature discussions by local parents and Richardson-Lauve on resiliency and solutions for supporting families, as well as a presentation on early childhood development by Yolanda Richey, M.Ed., a consultant and trainer in the field of infant and toddler mental health.

Trinity Harrison, the mother of a two-year-old daughter, works at the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and is a member of the summit’s planning team.

“I got involved because I have experienced trauma in my own life while growing up, and I know that our community doesn’t currently have a lot of resources and information on trauma,” she said. “I want to be able to assist our deputies when we get calls related to trauma in families. Also, I want to help my daughter learn how to handle traumatic situations such as bullying and do well in school. The summit is a great opportunity for our community to understand what adverse childhood experiences are and how to support those who are dealing with them.”

Some important details about the summit include: Teachsers in Emporia/Greensville County Public Schools can earn Continuing Education Units by attending the summit on Friday and/or Saturday; teachers in Brunswick County Public Schools can earn Continuing Education Units by attending the summit on Saturday.

Certificates showing hours of attendance will be provided. Childcare providers who attend will be issued certificates for training hours. Although the event is free, registration by Aug. 8 is requested for planning purposes. To register for the summit or to get more information, visit