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Rise Up Central Kansas moving ahead
Grassroots program aims to build a Trauma Informed Community of Resilience
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The Barton County Health Department table at the Cinco de Mayo festival promoted Rise Up Central Kansas.

Rise Up Central Kansas got a thumbs up Monday from the Barton County Commission to spend $2,800 to develop a website. The invoice will be paid from the Barton County Health Department’s general fund and the BCHD Director Shelly Schneider spoke about the program.

For the past two years, a grass-roots effort has been underway to make Barton County and Central Kansas a “Trauma Informed Community of Resilience.” Among other things, the Rise Up Central Kansas steering committee is exploring how trauma experienced by children shapes their lives as adults, and how community agencies can use this information to help their clients thrive in the face of adversity.

“We want to share this information and our passion for change,” Schneider said.

The Health Department, Central Kansas Community Corrections, the 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services and The Center for Counseling and Consultation are working together with a host of community volunteers, Schneider said. The information being gathered is so useful that the steering committee plans to open the website on or about July 1.

Forcefield Design, an Ellinwood business owned by Scott Andersen, was chosen to develop the website. It will also cost $15-18 a month to maintain the site. Schneider said the group hopes to find funding but there has already been so much interest statewide that they are moving ahead.

“Things are going so quickly with the group. Volunteers are taking the lead,” she said. “This is a Barton County homegrown initiative. We are in hopes that this website can take us to the next level.” Schneider noted that Andersen is the son-in-law of Julie Kramp, executive director of The Center. With Andersen’s design, the website can easily be converted to a phone app.  

“Our efforts started two years ago when the Barton County Health Department learned of the Kaiser Permanente’s study of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), how ACEs affect the brain and how trauma and resilience affect a community,” Schneider said. 

Barton County’s Robert Wood Johnson’s County Rankings and Roadmaps indicate a population in Barton County with mental health issues and a proclivity to drug use and criminal activity, she said. “As this may be generational, we are determined to reach the hurt, broken and isolated members of our community.”

In March, Rise Up Central Kansas brought the Roger Weisberg documentary “Broken Places” to Great Bend for a public viewing at the First United Methodist Church. The local Circles group helped sponsor that program.

“We have about 20 trained community members willing to do ACEs training,” Schneider said. Trainers give presentations on raising awareness of ACEs and their impacts, as well as strategies to build individual and community resilience. Training is free and can be tailored to personal, business and community needs. 

The group is already active on Facebook and Twitter, but the parties believe a website is essential to the project. The site will be linked to the Barton County website and will include news, history, infographics, ACEs and resilience testing, partners identification, a calendar and training information.

County Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Schartz said Rise Up is successful because of its grass-roots nature, instead of coming from the top down as a government program. “It’s people who know what the problems are and how to fix them,” she said. “I hope that it takes off and makes a difference.”

Amy Boxberger from Central Kansas Community Corrections and Marissa Woodmansee from the 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services were in the audience and spoke to the Great Bend Tribune after the meeting.

“We see the behaviors (caused by ACEs) every day,” Woodmansee said. By looking at what’s behind destructive behavior such as drug use, agencies such as hers can look for a different way to approach the symptoms.

“Hurting people hurt others and themselves,” Boxberger said.



Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday:

• Approved paving the parking lot at the Sheriff’s Office shooting range. Road and Bridge will do the work, which will allow the building to become a public voting site, at a cost not to exceed $5,500 for the cold-mix ashpalt. Work will be done before the November election and the range will become the Great Bend Township-A voting site, replacing the Barton Community College Science and Math Building.  

• Approved the invoice for the development of a website for Rise Up.

• Authorized awarding a contract for signs on High Risk Rural Roads, to the low bidder, Martin Outdoor Enterprises Inc. of Pittsburg, for $104,700. This was done per the Kansas Department of Transportation. The project is 100% funded by the state using Federal Highway Administration funds.

• Approved three added/abated/escaped/refunded taxes as reviewed by the county appraiser and presented by the county clerk.  

• Through the morning and into the afternoon, held 2020 budget request meetings with:

District Offices – District Court, Judges, Court Services

County Attorney’s Office

Barton County Historical Society

Barton County Conservation District

Ambulance providers

Golden Belt Humane Society

Health Department

The Center for Counseling and Consultation

Fire District No. 1

Sunflower Diversified Services