Art of Aces 2016

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ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) are significant childhood traumas that can affect brain development.  Adverse childhood experiences have been linked with increased rates of mental health problems, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, and other health risk behaviors in adult life.  ACEs can affect a child’s learning ability and social skills, which can result in long term health issues.  According to a study by Dr. Robert Anda, CDC and Dr. Vincent Felitti, Kaiser Permanente, the ACEs can be identified with some of the following health issues:

Developmental impairment in children
Chronic depression
Attempted suicide
Alcohol use
Smoking
Illicit drug use
Risky sexual behaviors
Liver disease
Heart disease
Victim of domestic violence
Impaired worker performance
Health-related quality of life
Early mortality

There is a need to examine the mental health impact of adverse childhood experiences across diverse cultures.  Last year, a committee of community members from Linn and Benton counties was formed to address ACEs problems.  Last April, the inaugural Art of ACEs event was held and it gave youth an opportunity to share their feelings of Adverse Childhood Experiences such as homelessness, substance abuse, violence, divorce, separation, or neglect in the home by using art.  Examples of art that were on display included paintings, drawings, poetry, photography, dance, and song.

The second annual Art of ACEs event will be held on May 7th from 10:00-12:00 pm at the  Cedar Rapids Downtown Public Library.  Please join us to learn more about ACEs and see the amazing art created by local youth.