We talk about resilience a lot in the work of HBI. It is the foundation of our efforts with the boys living in the Casa Girasoles program. It is a critical part of our advocacy and support for the families in the Ines Project.
But what does resilience mean? I learned firsthand over the past couple of weeks. My family experienced a very untimely and unexpected death, as many of you know. It has been challenging. Thank you for your thoughtful messages and kindness.
The impact of this experience – is not something that will magically go away. The healing will take time. It will take healing relationships and meaningful connections. It needs space. It needs a place to find support.
Recovery requires intentionality and purpose. This is what I am learning about resilience – it is not something that happens to a person as much as a process that unfolds with other people.
This same commitment to space and place is what makes our work with children who have experienced abandonment and homelessness communities who have lived through trauma and marginalization not something we can measure in days or weeks. We need to commit to the long-term and build deep, supportive relationships.
Our Center of Excellence project is working to chart a path for training staff working with children living in orphanages, group homes, and residential care facilities to build resilience. Over the past year, we have partnered with the NGO Paths of Hope and Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, PA, USA) and La Catolica Santa Maria Universidad (Arequipa, Perú. When we started the project – a five-year research study – I naively expected to have a curriculum planned and ready to roll out within a year. Oh my goodness, was I wrong?
Instead, we are finding that training staff in core concepts and skills is just a tiny part of helping to build a culture of resilience. Our biggest challenge is enhancing a culture, an environment, and a community to be pathways to resilience. Now, as we bring the first year of our five-year research to a close, I realize that our actual work is about connection . . . and this is not something that can be rushed or pushed into a small box.
This thing that we call resilience – is about space and place, and it is about people connecting with people. That’s profoundly healing.
Thank you for all your warm wishes and support. We are in this together.