“The Potts Family Foundation (PFF) has been a committed and resilient Oklahoma leader and devoted champion of Oklahoma children over many years especially this past year. I am nominating this organization as an Anne Roberts Peoples Choice True Hero of Oklahoma’s Children. Due to the dramatic prevalence (1) of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) in OK; the traumatizing lifelong consequences of ACES (2) for children and the systemic nature of ACES that our direct service programs cannot solve, the Potts Family Foundation set a visionary goal to create a trauma informed and resilient state. This past year, the Foundation launched several a comprehensive statewide initiatives to accomplish this goal. This initiative included hosting education and awareness ACES and Resilience programs showing the award winning documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope along with expert panel discussions at 50 locations across the state over the past 9 months. To date, approximately 3,500 Oklahoma citizen leaders and volunteers have participated in this program. Additionally, the foundation hosted the statewide Raising Resilient Oklahomans Summit to promote awareness and drive an intentional, evidence-based and community powered ACEs prevention, trauma informed and resilience building initiatives across the state. Considering OK historical trauma and current tragic ACES statistics, the hope of PFF is that community based initiatives will help ensure that our children, the most vulnerable population, will sustainably be reached, helped and protected. The Raising Resilient Oklahomans summit was attended by nearly 500 professionals who work with children and families from across the state. The Summit had two national experts as keynote speakers, Dr. Rob Anda (ACES study researcher and author) and Susan Craig (author and expert on Trauma Sensitive Schools), to help attendees better understand the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the long-term health and well being of children and adults. Additionally, specific strategies of protective and compensatory experiences (PACES) were presented that will help volunteers and leaders build resilience in their communities to protect and heal victims and ensure children and their families thrive.

Another related resilience initiative is the OK 25 by 25 Early Childhood Coalition, which was launched by PFF because the health and well being of Oklahoma’s children is ranked at the bottom quartile among all states. The foundation set the goal to move Oklahoma to the top quartile in childhood wellbeing in these core areas by the year 2025. The coalition was created to bring key leaders, legislators and organizations together to work in education and advocacy for early childhood development and support of children and families. Currently there are 65 OKCEOs (Oklahoma Champions for Early Opportunities) who are called upon to make presentations to civic and other groups and generally advocate for children, which includes showing of the Resilience Documentary with expert panel discussions across the state. They have 49 legislators who are on the Early Childhood Caucus and work to write legislation and vote on behalf of children and families. The foundation has over 60 OK allied organizations from government agencies to non-profits to private businesses and foundations all working in some form to support these same issues. The effort of the coalition of PFF 25 by 25 coalition caucus and allied organizations/agencies were behind the successful passage of the Trauma Informed Care SB1517, which is a wonderful example of how this coalition has brought grassroots strength to positively impact child issues.
In addition, PFF recently launched another new program with emphasis on early childhood development, the Family Positive Workplace recognition and new certification program in conjunction with the OK Society for Resource Management and the Oklahoma Child Care Resource and Referral Association (both allied organizations). On June 27th, they will be holding an event to recognize 12 organizations/businesses that have achieved various levels of implementing family friendly practices and policies into their workplaces. These practices help families achieve a greater work life balance and thereby reduce the stress of families with young children helping them to prosper. The PFF organization is a true Hero to OK children because their statewide resilience initiative started a sustainable grass root community based movement across OK that will be a true culture change that has a tremendous positive impact on the lives of all children. This culture change will enable volunteers and leaders to effectively protect and help OK children as well as families thrive today and generations to come.
1) Child Trends statistics in 2014 designated OK as the only state that rates in the upper quartile in all ACES studied. The impact of the ACEs is at an epidemic scale in OK (2011-12 report) i.e. OK is 50th /50 states Divorce; 49th/50 parent abused alcohol or drug; 50th/50 witnessed domestic violence; 49th/50 children that have already experienced 3 or more.
2) Center of Disease Control Adverse Childhood Experiences Study”
View Potts Family Foundation’s website by clicking HERE