Momentum Center hosts Inspire event on ACEs

from the Momentum Center
with notes by Cynthia Price

Extended Grace is a nonprofit grassroots movement to create a stigma-free community. It has no religious or political affiliations. Participants believe we can improve the world by extending more grace to each other. Extended Grace operates the Momentum Center for Social Engagement and Just Goods Gifts and Café at 714 Columbus Avenue in Grand Haven.

The Center’s director, called the “Experi-Mentor,” is Barbara Lee VanHorssen, an author who has been featured in previous  Examiners. There are several other staff members including a manager of the Just Goods store, which sells fair trade and social-cause-related merchandise, and a research administrator and a teen programs coordinator.

One of the activities of the Momentum Center is to hold a monthly event called Inspire!

This month’s Inspire! event will focus on ACEs-Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are stressful or traumatic experiences that can have a huge impact on children and teenagers throughout their lives. Widely recognized, Adverse Childhood Experiences include growing up in a home with physical, mental, and verbal abuse, emotional and physical neglect, alcoholism or drug addiction, mental health issues, domestic violence, and family separation.

ACEs can create harmful levels of stress, which impact healthy brain development. This can result in long-term effects on learning, behavior and health. Evidence from ACE surveys found that ACEs can exert a significant influence throughout people's life and have been found to be associated with a range of poorer health and social outcomes in adulthood.

The April 20 Inspire! event, which will be held April 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Momentum Center, will include presentations, brainstorming sessions, and breakout small group discussions. Special guests include Sandi Stasko, Ottawa County Community Mental Health; Leigh Mordyke, Arbor Circle; and Jody Spicer,  Department of Human Services. Pizza will be provided by Marcos and the event is underwritten by Tri-Cities Kiwanis International.

Other Momentum Center activities include adult programs which focus on mental health, disabilities and addictions, and teen programs focusing on positive relationships, mental health, success in school, and overall well-being. Specific events include a book club now focusing on race and racism; support groups; Narcotics Anonymous meetings, Narcan training by the Grand Rapids Red Project; “Chill Out” kids’ relaxation; and something called Dinner and ?a Movie, which on April 26 will show the film Resilience, about childhood response to such treatment as indicated by ACEs after a potluck.

The values of the Momentum Center are: “Celebrating Inclusivity, Building Relationships, Calling Out Injustice, and Making A Difference.”