Peace and Justice Institute Announces Virtual Conference on Adverse Childhood Experiences

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Orlando, FL – On April 20 and 21, the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College, along with the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County and title sponsor, Orlando Health, will welcome participants to the “Third Annual Creating a Resilient Community: From Trauma to Healing Conference.

What started in 2019 as an idea to raise awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Central Florida, has grown into a movement led by a network of almost 100 organizations across the region. For the third year in a row, the conference will convene community participants to learn about evidence-based, trauma-informed research and local best practices for fostering long-term community resilience.

“Over the last two years we have seen tremendous progress toward becoming a trauma informed community,” says Rachel Allen, director of the Peace and Justice Institute. “With this work, we are committed to addressing the structural barriers, including racism and generational poverty, so as to ensure wellness and human thriving for every person in our community.”

Day 1 – April 20, 2021
The morning keynote address will feature Donna Jackson Nakazawa, an award-winning journalist and internationally-recognized speaker whose work explores the intersection of neuroscience, immunology, and human emotion. Her writing has been published in Wired, The Boston Globe, Stat, The Washington Post, Health Affairs, Aeon, More, Parenting, AARP Magazine and Glamour.  The afternoon will host a series of community workshops including Nakazawa’s “Write-to-Heal with Neural Re-Narrating” workshop, another workshop titled “Why Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) Matter,” a film screening, and more.

Day 2 – April 21, 2021

The second day of the conference will focus on a collective community vision to address the necessary structural changes to ensure wellness and human thriving for all people in Central Florida. This will include a series of trauma-informed best practice sessions led by experts across sectors, including education, nonprofit, government, health, child welfare, business, public safety and criminal justice. Following the sessions, the day will conclude with two leadership panels highlighting key takeaways from the day and specific opportunities to carry forward this multi-sector community momentum through the remainder of 2021.

“There is much we as a community can do together to reduce the instances and impact of trauma on children,” said Karen Willis, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County. “And it starts with adults. If we want our children to be emotionally healthy and resilient, then the adults who surround them must be emotionally healthy and resilient.”

“By helping to address such an important issue, we are working to build healthier futures for the children and families in Central Florida,” said Marie Martinez, director of the Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families, part of Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. “Adverse Childhood Experiences contribute to a number of chronic health conditions in adulthood, including diabetes and obesity. Increasing awareness and resources to address ACEs will create a healthier community of both adults and children long-term.”

All members of the Central Florida community are encouraged to attend this two-day event. Tickets are $120. To register, please visit Eventbrite. Virtual Exhibitor Ticket + Booth Package available. Registration is open until Monday, April 12.

2021 Conference Scholarship Applications will be accepted through Tuesday, April 6. Nonprofit and large group discounts are available, please inquire at

CEUs for clinicians and Certificates of Attendance for all participants are being generously provided by University Behavioral Center.

To learn more about the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences and the impact of toxic stress on the developing body and mind, please visit: ACES Connection Central Florida.


What:     Third Annual Conference, Creating a Resilient Community: From Trauma to Healing

Keynote Speaker: Donna Jackson Nakazawa is an award-winning journalist and internationally-recognized speaker whose work explores the intersection of neuroscience, immunology, and human emotion. She is the author of six books, including her newest, “The Angel and The Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine” (Random House/Ballantine,
2020), which illuminates recent groundbreaking discoveries that highlight  the biological link between our physical and mental health. She is also the founder and creator of Creating Your Healing Narrative: A Writing to Heal and Neural Re-Narrating™ Program.

When:     Day 1 – Tuesday, April 20, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Day 2 – Wednesday, April 21, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Where:    Virtual Venue

Registration information: Eventbrite

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