August 20, 2021
On Monday, The Center For Healing and Justice Through Sport (CHJS), a US community of coaches, sport experts, psychologists, scientists and strategists passionate about the healing power of sport and how it contributes to a more just society, launched as a trauma-informed coaching organization for youth.
Childhood trauma is a public health issue, with 62% of children living in poverty in the US having experienced one or more traumatic events. Using innovations from recent brain research, CHJS wants to elevate the importance of compassion in youth sports by providing training and research-backed solutions to sports organizations.
Harnessing data-driven insights in neuroscience and the nature of sport, the newly structured non-profit is committed to changing people's relationship to their trauma and contributing to a healthier and more just society – one trained coach to one young person at a time.
Events throughout the week introduced the organization’s goals and mission, featuring athletes Ibtihaj Muhammad, Angela Hucles, Angela Ruggiero, Blake Leeper and Muggsy Bogues, renowned neuroscientist Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD and CHJS co-founder, coach and sport for good advocate Megan Bartlett.
“For many young people who have experienced trauma, being active on a sports team may be the only time their bodies feel good. This is why it is essential for coaches to understand the impact of trauma in order for them to effectively develop the social, emotional and cognitive skills of the young people they serve," said Bartlett.
Backed by research showing the physiological and psychological healing effects of sport, CHJS brings trauma-informed coaching to youth through training, consulting and movement building. With a grassroots-led community made up of sports experts, psychologists, scientists and strategists, they will equip coaches with practical skills and knowledge about the brain, which are scientifically proven to have a therapeutic impact on athletes, students and participants beyond traditional therapy.
"If we make coaches 5% more trauma-informed or developmentally sensitive, we will have more therapeutic impact on children than if we trained an entire new cohort of trauma therapists," said Dr. Perry, Senior Fellow of The Child Trauma Academy.
CHJS's launch week included a kick-off reception, the announcement of the CHJS COVID relief training program in partnership with Laureus USA, the introduction of Bartlett's A Kids Book About Trauma with conversations among youth and their families, a nationwide virtual tour to launch the Agenda To Transform Youth Sports and a conversation with athletes and coaches about sports on the frontline of post-pandemic healing.
Leveraging the success and foundational work of We Coach, an organization dedicated to social impact through sport founded by Bartlett, CHJS will continue to build on the previous organization's years of experience, research in healing-centered sport and, most importantly to them, compassion.