Pellissippi State, United Way partner to address trauma in children 8 and younger

Graphic for Transforming Hurt into HealingEarly childhood educators and families with young children in the east Knoxville community are invited to a free day of trainings and activities addressing trauma’s effect on little ones, presented by Pellissippi State Community College’s Early Childhood Education program in partnership with United Way of Greater Knoxville, Tennessee Child Care Resource & Referral Network and Knoxville Association for Children’s Early Education. 

Transforming Hurt into Healing will be held Saturday, Nov. 6, at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Avenue, with programming for early child care educators 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and programming for families with children ages 8 and younger 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 

Attendance is capped at 40 educators and 50 families (this includes guardians and caretakers in addition to parents) to help maintain social distancing guidelines, and masks will be required for those older than 5. Educators who attend will receive a tote of resources and a $100 stipend for coming, while families also will receive take-home resources such as children’s books and activities to enjoy together at home. 

Research has shown that what happens in the early years around trauma has lifelong impacts on health and mental well-being, said Associate Professor Hope Denny, program coordinator for Early Childhood Education at Pellissippi State. “As members of the early childhood community, we wanted to support young children and their families in fostering healing and resilience. This event, focused on children birth to 8, is our way of addressing a need in the community.” 

Those who attend will  

  • Learn about trauma and what can be done to promote healing 
  • Gain techniques for helping children feel safe 
  • Understand the connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviors 
  • Discover how a child’s trauma can affect caregivers and the importance of self-care 

“Early childhood development is a key determining factor in a person’s long-term health and wellness,” said Ellie Kittrell, United Way of Greater Knoxville’s director of Childcare and Early Education Systems. “United Way is here to support and advocate for agencies engaged in the critical work of increasing trauma-informed care environments in our community.” 

Programming will include 

  • A keynote address by Nefertiti Poyner, early childhood specialist and national trainer from the Devereux Center for Resilient Children in Villanova, Pennsylvania 
  • Learning activities that can be done outside to help rekindle joy, led by Ashley Brailsford, founder of Our Joyful Learning Community in Nashville 
  • A curriculum-based professional development session called “STEM and Stories” provided by Muse Knoxville 
  • Other trainings provided by Pellissippi State, Tennessee Child Care Resource & Referral Network, Knoxville Association for Children’s Early Education and Harmony Family Center 

Meanwhile, children who attend with their families will engage in mindfulness activities they can make and take home, family yoga and a dance party. 

Meals and snacks are included. 

To register for Transforming Hurt into Healing, visit, email or call 865.539.7034 by Monday, Nov. 1. 

To request accommodations for a disability at any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email