By: Sarah Toomey, Mentoring Moms Coordinator

We were so blessed this week to have River Valley Behavioral Health come and give us training on Trauma Informed Care and how we can build resilience in ourselves as professionals. Working with high-risk populations can quickly lead to compassion fatigue and a loss of vision in regards to the mission we set out to accomplish. We came into a person-serving field looking to change the world and it is so easy to get carried away when we come crashing into the reality of the world we need to fix. Our training reminded us of the lived experience that our service population has experienced, how those experiences can impact them throughout their lives, and how we can care for them in a way that does not re-traumatize them. It reminded us that we are humans too, and deserve all of the grace and care that we give to our clients and participants on a daily basis.

A point of focus in this training was about “Finding the Why” of what we do every day using the insights of Simon Sinek’s work. We discussed how important it is to know WHY we are doing what we do. Both professionally, but in the everyday ‘work’ of living as well. If we go about the motions of life without a purpose we find ourselves adrift. If we did not already have one, we were encouraged to find our own ‘why’. Not just as some sort of ambiguous concept, but as a concrete statement we can come back to again and again as we are beaten down and need encouragement to keep going.

Some people are driven and purposeful on their own. They do not need direct instruction on how to find that within themselves. I do not find myself as that person. I know I want to pour more good into the world than I take from it, but why? Why do I do what I do? Why do I think that I am capable of doing these things?

This bit of self-reflection has, as often happens, made me come back to the work I do in Mentoring Moms and realize that the ladies I work with are also lacking in this Big Picture Vision. If it’s hard for me to get out of bed some days without my ‘Why” firmly planted in my mind (though I think pieces of it exist there, I just needed the prompting to manifest it as an Actual Thing), how difficult would it be for someone who is homeless, pregnant, and carrying the weight of unresolved childhood trauma on their shoulders? Someone in addiction recovery? A survivor of domestic abuse? The list goes on and on for these women.

Unfortunately, I cannot provide my ladies with all the solutions to their life problems in Mentoring Moms, our budget is just a little shy of that capability. I can, however, guide them to finding their own vision. And once they know why they are getting up every morning, maybe it will be just a little easier to do.