LOUDONVILLE -- Redbird Resilient celebrated the culmination of its inaugural year with a community gathering Saturday focused on the organization's accomplishments as well as their aspirations for the future.
Redbird Resilient is a collaboration of community members driven to aid the Loudonville-Perrysville area with emotional health struggles and addiction prevention. During the past year, it has received numerous monetary pledges and donations from organizations such as the Rotary Club and the Ashland Community Foundation.
John Stoops, President of Redbird Resilient, mentioned his gratitude to the community during the gathering.
“I really appreciate the professional organizations that we have received so much support from," Stoops said. "Several programs would not have been pulled off without the help from the people who really know what they are talking about."
Several speakers took turns addressing community members at the Loudonville Library's Meeting Room. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE) was among the topics of discussion.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study explores the correlation between a negative childhood experience and the health impact later in life. Steve Stone, Executive Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County, detailed some specifics in the study.
“Someone who has experienced four categories of adverse childhood experiences has a five times higher risk of alcoholism in adulthood," Stone said. "There is a direct correlation from these experiences that happen in childhood to what happens over the course of that person’s life."
The ACE Study takes into consideration 10 categories of adverse childhood experiences: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical neglect, emotional neglect, exposure to domestic violence, household substance abuse, household mental illness, parental separation or divorce and/or an incarcerated household member.
David Ross, Associate Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County, described an event he attended in March regarding addiction.
“The opioid issue in terms of prevalence is going down," Ross said. "There are less folks struggling with heroin and opioid issues, but that does not mean the problem of addiction is going away."
Dr. Jerry Strausbaugh, Rev. Steve Sullivan, and Wendy Lemon also spoke at the event. Sullivan mentioned the pursuit of volunteers to work with children in classrooms for the Adopt-A-Grade program. Interested individuals should contact Rev. Sullivan of Loudonville United Methodist Church at 419-994-4939.
After the presentations, community members were invited to chat about what Redbird Resilient should achieve next while enjoying refreshments and cake.
The celebration ended with an organized brainstorming session with the community. Ideas were tossed around regarding what Redbird Resilient could accomplish in the year to come.
Topics included parental education programs, support groups for affected families, after-school programming and potential housing for affected individuals under unique circumstances.
“This is not an easy thing to do," Stoops said. "While I feel that we have made progress in the past 12 months, I would like to make 10 times as much progress.
"It’s not something a board member can do; it takes the whole community.”
More information about Redbird Resilient can be found on their website.