Get Involved | Adverse Childhood Experiences

The ACE Learning Collaborative for Buncombe County

It takes EVERYONE to prevent and respond to ACEs. If ACEs or resilience matters to you for any reason, join us at our OPEN monthly meetings:

2nd Thursday of Each Month, 8:00-10:00 a.m. at Mission Children’s Outreach Hospital, 11 Vanderbilt Park Dr, Asheville, NC 28803

We are community leaders, public health professionals, parents, people of faith, grass roots organizers, affected people, and more. We want to meet with diverse groups that reflect all aspects of our county. We hope to see more people discuss Resilience and ACEs in their daily lives to help communities begin to build resilience, as well as break the cycle of ACEs in families and in our community.


The ACE Collaborative started in 2013 as a sub-committee of the Innovative Approaches grant, which focused on improving systems of care for children with special health care needs. A few members of Innovative Approaches attended a conference where ACEs was discussed, and they came back with a video to share and a conviction that this work is central to health—for everyone. The first phase of the work was to increase awareness of ACEs among educators, social service providers dealing with secondary trauma, and health care providers. A website was built to house the growing work of the ACE Learning Collaborative. In June 2014, the ACE Collaborative created the Strategic Results Framework that outlined the Collaborative’s focus on providing awareness, education, tools and training to professionals and community members to reduce and prevent trauma-induced toxic stress. This gave the ACE Learning Collaborative a shared agenda, common measures and a road map for the process. The Collaborative’s work resulted in Buncombe County being awarded the MARC (Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities) grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2015.

Even after the grant funding ended, the ACE Learning Collaborative has continued to meet, grow, engage new partners and explore new opportunities for raising awareness and building resilience. Recently, the Speakers Bureau, which originally focused on providing ACEs and Resilience education to service providers, expanded to include more community members. These community members, in turn, reshaped the way we talk about ACEs, emphasizing community-level traumas like racism and violence as essential components of the message moving forward. The ACE Learning Collaborative continues to be an incubator for new ideas, new connections, and new ways of seeing.

Work Already Accomplished by the Buncombe ACE Collaborative Members and Partners

(1) The ACE Collaborative work was the impetus for the Buncombe County School System seeking and being awarded funding to adopt the Compassionate School Curriculum, based out of Washington State. The curriculum benefits all children but focus is on students chronically exposed to stress and trauma in their lives. The curriculum goal is to keep students engaged and learning by creating and supporting a healthy resilient climate.

(2) Multiple pilots, starting in June 2015 with primary care practices working to incorporate ACE screening into their medical practices. This work is now being researched and modified across multiple agencies and practices.

(3) Early adopters of the Community Resiliency Model (CRM), an evidence-informed practice that trains individuals to effectively reset their nervous system through simple skills. Now, a local non-profit called Resources for Resilience is working to offer trainings and educational sessions tailored to the needs of individuals and organizations to make resilience education available to a wider audience.

(4) Expanded awareness of community resiliency resources that include Positive Parenting Program (Triple P), Darkness to Light; Stewards of Children, Youth Mental Health First Aide, Nurturing the Brain-Buffering Toxic Stress, Resources for Resilience Training, and Smart Start’s 1st 2000 Days Campaign.

(5) A county-wide ACEs and Resiliency Speaker’s Bureau has trained a multitude of speakers. ACE Champions have been overwhelmed with training requests.

(6) ACE Collaborative members continue to expand worksite resilience efforts at many health, education, non-profits, and government organizations.

(7) Mountain Area Health Education Center, in collaboration with the ACE Collaborative, held the first “Adverse Childhood Experiences Southeastern Summit: Building Resilient, Interdisciplinary Workforces, Communities and Families” on September 24th-26th of 2015. The second ACE Summit was held on October 20-21, 2017.



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