Connections Matter for healthy kids

DMU President Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D.Listen to someone’s story. Help a stressed parent. Welcome a new neighbor.

Science shows that these kinds of caring connections matter far more than we tend to believe.

Ongoing stress from tough times can lead to poor health and other challenges as our brains adapt to survive. But caring connections help buffer against high levels of stress and promote:

  • Healthy brains that can think and learn
  • Supportive relationships so people cope and thrive
  • Strong communities where everyone succeed

Des Moines University is proud to be part of the Connections Matter community initiative, a project led by the Central Iowa ACEs 360 Steering Committee, The Trauma Informed Care Project, and Developing Brain Committee.

The Connections Matter community initiative will launch on Sept. 30 with the goal of sharing the message: Relationships have the power to shape our brains.

Three train-the-presenter workshops in Des Moines will teach up to 300 advocates how to deliver a presentation and share other tools and materials available to support this effort. Nationally-recognized epidemiologist Dr. Linda Chamberlain — who developed the campaign’s core curriculum — will lead each three-hour session.

To become involved or to sign up for a three-hour workshop, visit or email The cost to attend a workshop is $10.

Connections Matter is also hosting free community screenings of the documentary Paper Tigers, which explores the effects of childhood trauma on the youth of Walla Walla, Washington, and how the community transformed its culture to respond. The film offers a compelling example of how caring connections can improve the well-being of youth, adults and the community overall.

Paper Tigers Screening
Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.
The Fleur Cinema, 4545 Fleur Drive, Des Moines
Registration Info:

Together, we can engage more people in creating environments that strengthen families from the start, give children and adults with a history of trauma an opportunity to heal and ensure the well-being of every individual.

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