Iowa coalition offers childhood trauma prevention training to Latinx service providers

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By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio

The Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence is partnering for the first time with an organization based in Santa Ana, California—Latinx Parenting—to offer culturally-specific childhood trauma prevention training to Latino service providers in the state.

The two organizations are teaming up to provide coaching, counseling and training for Iowa’s Latino service providers in its Latinx Parenting Professionals Intensive Tuesday, Oct. 26 and Wednesday, Oct. 27 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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The coalition’s director of equity and inclusion Veronica Guevara became a parent herself about three years ago. She said when she went through the training on her own, the culturally-specific intensive helped her in a way she felt she couldn’t find elsewhere in the state.

“It just opened up…I just entered a world of, oh my gosh, just a whole lot of change, and I started just really looking for resources, and at first I was a little disappointed with the lack of information and resources that were culturally relevant to my experience as a parent,” Guevara explained.

She added when she found Latinx Parenting, she was “floored” by the bilingual and culturally-specific support she gained from the programs.

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Guevara said she decided offering the training to other Iowans was a good opportunity for the coalition to promote their message of ending domestic violence and childhood traumas. The training, she said, can serve as a preventative measure.

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“I think it really goes into moving from reacting to problems to preventing,” Guevara said. “So if we look at it from that context, what if we could stop childhood trauma and domestic violence before they occur? What would we need to do that?”

And one answer is the two-day online training this week that will focus on cultural and environmental experiences within generations of Latino families. It will be led by Latinx Parenting founder Leslie Priscilla, who is a first-generation Chicana mother of three. She will coach Iowa’s Latino service providers in supporting parents’ strengths and how to assess Latino parenting practices in relation to abuse and child welfare allegations.

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“Especially in the context of anti-violence, investing in families is investing in the future,” Guevara said. “It’s investing in economic stability. It’s investing in anti-violence. And I think that because of that, it was really important to bring this.”

Iowa’s Latino communities are continuing to grow, and become younger. In 2019, the median age for Iowa’s Latino population was 23.7 compared to the median age of the state, 38.5.

Guevara said the class is almost completely filled. If there is enough interest in the online, bilingual training, the coalition will bring it to Iowa again. She hopes this will create more collaboration opportunities in the future.

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