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July 22, 2021

Supporting Our Youth Through Trauma

As you may have seen in The Washington Post, The MusicianShip sent one of our students to Saturday’s Washington Nationals game as a reward for her exemplary leadership during our virtual after-school program. While this should have been an opportunity to celebrate her accomplishment and enjoy a family outing, she instead experienced her second close encounter with gun violence in less than a year.

"I was kinda prepared” for the shooting, she said, which echoes sentiments year after year from youth across the country. In the District and the United States, gun violence was again on the international stage due to the back-to-back incidents last week. In addition to mourning the loss of innocence that many young people experienced Saturday due to the shooting outside the Nationals game, we also find ourselves mourning the senseless death of Nyiah Courtney, a 6-year old from Southeast D.C. who was shot and killed on Friday.

The families that live in our community would be the first to remind us that this is not a new phenomenon. They have been dealing with the aftermath of community violence, especially gun violence, for decades. Gun violence is the leading cause of premature death in children and teens ages 1 - 19 and disproportionately affects youth of color. Outside of the death and physical injuries that result from gun violence, the trauma inflicted on our children and their loved ones impacts their daily lives.

Trauma can significantly affect a child's mental, physical, academic, and social health. As necessary as gun reform is to ensure no more of our families deal with the fallout, we also need to find ways to provide free and accessible resources to those who need it most. Providing opportunities for our young people to process and heal from traumatic events is vital for their personal development and future successes. While we are working closely with the student mentioned above and her family to identify tools that can support them in coping with last weekend’s shooting, we also encourage you to examine the below resources that may help the young people in your life.

With love and respect,

Amber Pannocchia

Acting Executive Director

The MusicianShip: Resources on Speaking to Your Child About Gun Violence

  • Repair The World - Talking to Kids about Gun Violence: This includes essential guidance,  considerations, and recommended readings from various sources.
  • Psychology Today - How to Talk with Kids about Gun Violence: A source for age-appropriate tips on having the conversation and addressing your young person’s thoughts and feelings.Resources for Identifying Trauma in Youth
  • Child Mind Institute - Signs of Trauma in Children: This resource has a Spanish-language translation readily available.
  • Everytown for Gun Safety - Children’s Responses to Trauma: This provides guidance through a lens of gun violence-induced trauma and has a “Finding Help” resource.
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network - About Child Trauma: A vast array of resources are available for parents/guardians and organizations on trauma. Local Resources for Trauma Therapy and Counseling
  • The TraRon Center: Helping those affected by gun violence heal through the arts.
  • Hillcrest Children and Family Center: Provides various services, including therapy, behavioral health services, and community supports.
  • Wendt Center for Loss and Healing: Resource for restoring hope and healthy functioning to adults, teens, and children coping with grief, loss, and trauma.
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