Healing Trauma.
Restoring Hope.

Traumatic events — violence, accidents, natural disasters — can have a serious negative impact on anyone. But for a young child, whose brain is still developing, trauma can lead to serious impairment and cognitive delays.

Resilient Lehigh Valley is a cross-sector, collective-impact effort dedicated to increasing youth resiliency through creating a trauma-informed and resilient community. To date, Resilient Lehigh Valley has trained more than 4,000 educators, health-and-human-service professionals and law-enforcement members in trauma-informed practices and secured commitment to taking a trauma-informed school approach with 7 out of the region’s 17 school districts.


Dealing with Childhood Trauma is Critical.

Most of the social challenges we face as a community — such as homelessness,
substance abuse, and violence — are rooted in exposure to childhood trauma.


When children experience traumatic events, the impact is compounded and magnified because the young brain is still developing.

When we experience trauma, our brains sense danger and release stress hormones, adrenalin and cortisol, to help us get to safety through fight, flight or freeze responses. In a young mind, these stress hormones, especially if they are released on a frequent basis, can impair neural pathways being built, causing cognitive, social and emotional delays.

But as the brain can be hurt by traumatic experiences, the brain can be healed through safe and nurturing relationships. Adversity is only part of the equation. The presence and power of one’s protective factors determines how well we can navigate the adversities we face. Protective factors include natural abilities (athletic, artistic, academic), exposure to positive peer opportunities (after-school clubs, programs, sports teams) and most importantly a safe, supportive relationship with an adult.

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

The economic and social cost of childhood trauma to families, communities and society, totals hundreds of billions of dollars each year.

According to the CDC the lifetime cost of child maltreatment incurred annually in the United States is $401 billion.

CDC research tells us that two-thirds of Americans have experienced at least one type of childhood trauma, or Adverse Childhood Experience, with one in six experiencing toxic levels of traumatic stress (exposure to four or more types of ACEs).

In communities with high concentrations of poverty, the rate of trauma exposure can be as high as 80%, with close to 4-in-10 experiencing toxic levels of stress, according to a Philadelphia ACES Study.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACEs) discovered that what happens to us as children can have lasting negative impact on us well into adulthood.

Experiencing 4 or more ACEs is associated with significantly greater risk for 7 out of 10 leading adult causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, COPD, diabetes, Alzheimers and suicide. Adults with an ACE score of 6 or more are at risk of their lifespan being shortened by 20 years.

15x More likely to commit suicide
7x More likely to be an alcoholic
4x More likely to inject drugs
3x More likely to be absent from work

Exposure to Violence and a Childs Developing Brain

Dr. Bruce Perry

Who We Support

Resilient Lehigh Valley provides training and resources on trauma
awareness and trauma-informed responses.

Law Enforcement
Health Services
Early Childhood
Human Services
Parents & Caregivers
Becoming A Trauma Informed Organization
Secondary and Vicarious Trauma
Mental & Emotional Wellness Resource Guide
Trauma-Informed Toolkit
Webinar Training
Educator Office Hours
Addiction Support & Recovery
Handle With Care


Resilient Lehigh Valley provides training and resources on trauma
awareness and trauma-informed responses.

Read the stories

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Commitment to Youth Mental Health – The Power of Youth Voices

In response to the Surgeon General’s alarming assessment of declining youth mental health, United Way of the Greater...

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Ashi Singh Promoted to Director of Community Resilience for United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley

We are excited to announce that Ashi Singh, currently serving as Director, Impact Data, will take on a...

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Empowering First Responders: Officer Resiliency Program

Each day in the line of duty, first responders are exposed to emotional and mental stressors while putting...

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