A new grant awarded to United Way of Southwest Virginia (UWSWVA) by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) will continue to support Trauma Informed Care work and resilience-based efforts for Southwest Virginia.
UWSWVA received a $450,000 grant that will run through the end of September 2025. The grant will help with the work of both UWSWVA and local Community Service Boards (CSBs). Grant funds will be used to help build capacity, and to increase our communication on the work of UWSWVA’s Trauma-Informed Care Network and Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative.
“This funding will strengthen our communities by bringing a trauma-informed lens to youth education,” said Travis Staton, President & CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia. “Mental health is a critical component of health, and we are grateful to partner with local CSBs on this work. We hope this model can be utilized and implemented across the state, raising the level of support for our youngest citizens.”
People are also reading…
UWSWVA will continue to work with local CSBs collaboratively to share data and report trends surrounding youth mental health while addressing strengths and challenges in our region. Funds will also establish plans and partnerships with schools to provide professional development needs to be provided by UWSWVA. A collaborative Trauma-Informed Schools designation will also be created.
“DBHDS has provided funding to the UWSWVA to support their effort to build trauma-informed schools in multiple Southwest Virginia school districts,” said Keith Cartwright, Adverse Childhood Experiences Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. “This effort draws on the partnerships between the community, CSBs, schools, and UWSWVA. In providing this support, it’s our hope this initiative can demonstrate that trauma-sensitive schools are the foundation for student health and wellness, a critical factor in student academic success. And additionally, trauma-sensitive schools are difficult if not impossible to build and maintain without community support and collaboration.”
The funding will also bring a new Community Resilience Coordinator position to UWSVA which will work to support the work of the Prevention Coalitions, Appalachian Substance Abuse Coalition, establish a training calendar that can be shared throughout the region, and oversee data collection and sharing.
“CSBs have been working within our own school systems to address trauma and its impacts on a granular level,” said Rebecca Holmes, Executive Director with Highlands Community Services.
“We anticipate the expansion of those efforts to allow a broader reach and collaboration across systems. Our community’s level of trauma is pervasive, which means our interventions should be, as well.”
The partnership will serve as a model that can be used for other community partners and CSBs across the Commonwealth.