How VYH Utilizes Trauma Informed Strategies for those Impacted by Violence

Valley Youth House’s very own Ashley Dallas, Director of Prevention Services, recently attended a training titled “Trauma Informed Strategies for Serving Those Impacted by Violence”. This training delved into the challenges faced by children exposed to violence from an early age, and provided attendees with the knowledge needed to create a nurturing environment that promotes healing and helps break the cycle of violence. 

“Some children, sadly, are exposed to violence from a very early age, and the effects can be profound,” said Ashley. “In some cases, children may even experience violence while still in utero. As a result, their young minds become accustomed to the heightened state that violent situations create, and they may find it difficult to cope with everyday situations that lack the intensity they have become accustomed to,” she added. As a consequence, these children may act out in an attempt to recreate the familiar heightened state they crave. 

VYH School-Based Counselors play a vital role in connecting with and helping parents to better understand their children’s responses. By fostering a sense of compassion and empathy, counselors assist parents in recognizing that their child’s behavior is a coping mechanism. Additionally, eliminating the need for insurance or a mental health diagnosis to receive services through Valley Youth House’s School-Based Counseling Program, the focus becomes creating a safe and nurturing environment that promotes healing and growth. 

As the providers of school-based mental health services for the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s new Community Violence Prevention Project at Raub Middle School, it will be important to equip parents with the knowledge they need to recognize potential warning signs or “red flags” of violent behavior. By fostering an open dialogue, parents can feel confident in discussing their concerns and seeking guidance when needed. School-Based Counselors can also help parents understand the various factors at play and provide practical strategies for managing and addressing challenging behaviors. Armed with this knowledge, parents can become valuable partners in their child’s healing journey. 

While it is crucial to address the immediate needs of children impacted by violence, school-based counselors also recognize the importance of preventing future instances of violence. By focusing on early intervention, trauma-informed care, and education, we can break the cycle of violence and create a safer future for all children. 

The journey to healing for children impacted by violence starts with understanding, empathy, and a commitment to prevention. Valley Youth House’s School-Based Counselors are instrumental in providing trauma-informed support to children and their families. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these resilient young people and build communities free from the cycle of violence.

Written by Sarah Pammer, Valley Youth House Communications Specialist |