The Pediatric Health Improvement Coalition for the Tennessee Valley and Causeway are thrilled to invite you to join us for a limited-engagement screening of Paper Tigers, a powerful documentary film that we are hosting at Redemption Point Church (1907 Bailey Ave.) on June 18th at 2:00pm

 



Paper Tigers explores the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACES) and toxic stress on struggling teens. The film follows a year in the life of Lincoln High Alternative School in Walla Walla, Washington. Lincoln High School developed a new academic curriculum based on the challenges of children who have significant childhood trauma and saw a dramatic turnaround in everything from the number of fights to test scores to graduation rates. The school has become a promising model of how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families through the practice of trauma-informed educational strategies and is a testament to what the latest research on childhood adversity is proving: that one caring adult can change the trajectory of a young person’s life.  

We are hosting the screening because the Pediatric Health Improvement Coalition for the Tennessee Valley and Causeway believe strongly in creating a better future for Chattanooga.  We’ve heard a lot in the news recently about our failures in the educational, health, and law enforcement.  It’s time to reframe how we think about these topics and become more adamant about designing school and community systems that take childhood trauma into account.

We are excited for you to see this film because we believe that the lifelong challenges associated with adverse childhood experiences are a priority for Chattanooga as we discuss barriers to children succeeding in school and in life.

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More than two decades ago, two respected researchers, clinical physician Dr. Vincent Felitti and CDC epidemiologist Robert Anda, published the game-changing Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. It revealed a troubling but irrefutable phenomenon: the more traumatic experiences the respondents had as children (such as physical and emotional abuse and neglect), the more likely they were to develop health problems later in life—problems such as cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure. To complicate matters, there was also a troubling correlation between adverse childhood experiences and prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse, unprotected sex, and poor diet. Combined, the results of the study painted a staggering portrait of the price our children are paying for growing up in unsafe environments, all the while adding fuel to the fire of some of society’s greatest challenges.

However, this very same study contains the seed of hope: all of the above-mentioned risk factors—behavioral as well as physiological—can be offset by the presence of one dependable and caring adult. It doesn’t need to be the mother or the father. It doesn’t even need to be a close or distant relative.

More often than not, that stable, caring adult is a teacher.

It is here, at the crossroads of at-risk teens and trauma-informed care, that Paper Tigers takes root. Set within and around the campus of Lincoln Alternative High School in the rural community of Walla Walla, Washington, Paper Tigers asks the following questions: What does it mean to be a trauma-informed school? And how do you educate teens whose childhood experiences have left them with a brain and body ill-suited to learn?

In search of clear and honest answers, Paper Tigers hinges on a remarkable collaboration between subject and filmmaker. Armed with their own cameras and their own voices, the teens of Paper Tigers offer raw but valuable insight into the hearts and minds of teens pushing back against the specter of a hard childhood.

Against the harsh reality of truancy, poor grades, emotional pain, and physical violence, answers begin to emerge. The answers do not come easily. Nor can one simply deduce a one-size-fits-all solution to a trauma-informed education. But there is no denying something both subtle and powerful at work between teacher and student alike: the quiet persistence of love.
— KPJR Films Website