09/10/20: Written by Liz Peterson, Pender Co. 4-H agent.
The Pender County NC 4-H Empowering Youth & Families Program (EYFP) is proud to announce their partnership with the newly formed Pender County Resiliency Task Force. The task force was co-founded by N.C. Cooperative Extension and Pender County Health Department, including Liz Peterson, Extension Agent specializing in 4-H Youth Development, Traci Spencer, 4-H and Empowering Youth and Families Program Assistant, and Monique Travise and Jessica Roe, Pender County Health Department Health Educators. The idea to start a Resiliency Task Force specific to Pender County came after the first Pender County 4-H and EYFP Community Event held on February 13, 2020. Over 70 community members attended a screening of the film Resilience, followed by a meal and a panel of experts, including Tyler Capps, Student Support Specialist for Communities In Schools, Annie Murphy, social worker for Pender County Department of Social Services, and Mebane Boyd, Coordinator for New Hanover Resiliency Task Force. In the discussion amongst the panel and community members, it was determined there was a great need for a resiliency task force of our own. Part two of the community event was on March 5, 2020 where EYFP held a training in the Community Resiliency Model for over 40 community members. Momentum was great for the Pender County community in resiliency work.
Then, COVID-19 happened. All programs were moved virtually, people started working and schooling from home, and not getting the social interaction they so desperately need. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), more than one in three adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic (Panchal et al., 2020). How do we solve this problem? Liz Peterson sought to answer this question by attending Resiliency trainings, connecting with those who are already doing this type of work, and teaming up with partners to officially create a board for the Pender County Resiliency Task Force.
The task force was recently accepted into the ReCONNECT NC: Mental Health & Well-Being initiative through NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues (link in Resources below). This acceptance will help the task force tremendously with visibility, storytelling, strategic planning, and more. Annie Murphy, Social Worker for Pender County Department of Social Services, will be presenting our story at the ReCONNECT NC: Mental Health & Well-Being Conference, held virtually on October 29th.
Besides N.C. Cooperative Extension and Pender County Health Department, there has been interest and involvement from other stakeholders, including Pender County Planning, Department of Social Services, Communities in Schools, District Attorney’s Office, Smart Start, Coastal Horizons, Pender County Schools, and many more. The Pender County Resiliency Task Force invites anyone who is interested to join the task force so that all corners of Pender County are reached with trauma-informed and resiliency-focused programs in order to help citizens combat the negative health effects of toxic stress induced by trauma and events such as COVID-19 and hurricanes. The first meeting of the Pender County Resiliency Task Force will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, September 22nd at 10:00 AM.
If you are interested or have any questions, please send an email to email@example.com. You may also visit the Pender County Resiliency Task Force website for information and resources at the link in Resources below.
Panchal, N., Kamal, R., Orgera, K., Cox, C., Garfield, R., Hamel, L., . . . Chidambaram, P. (2020, August 21). The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/