Communities Healing and Transforming Trauma (CHATT) is a UCSF Trauma Recovery Center Speaker’s Bureau.
CHATT is concerned with the impact of violence at the individual, family, and community level and the importance of supporting resiliency at all these levels to promote comprehensive healing. It seeks to bring to the attention of individuals, families, communities, and policy makers the cost of violence and value of specialized care for survivors.
The TRC Speaker’s Bureau’s goal is to provide survivors with support to advocate for trauma-sensitive services and violence prevention. CHATT members educate audiences about:
– The impact of violence on the speakers’ own lives
– Facts about violence in the community
– The process of recovery
– Trauma-sensitive services
Survivors have important and powerful experiences to share with policy makers, providers, and the community. Some trauma survivors have found it is meaningful to use their experiences to advocate for change and social justice.
Speakers have the opportunity to put together and practice telling the story of how violence affected their lives. Being able to tell their story has helped some survivors feel more confident and capable. Participation on a speaker’s bureau can help survivors on their journey to heal by making change in their communities.
Who Is Involved?
CHATT consists of about ten-to-fifteen speakers. Multiple TRC staff clinicians act as guides and facilitators for Speaker’s Bureau events and meetings. Staff members train newly recruited CHATT members as well as schedule and host monthly Speaking Support Meetings.
Speakers undergo two 3-hour training sessions, where they will be introduced to the rest of the CHATT staff and new members. During training, speakers begin preparing their personal stories, detailing the impact of the trauma on their lives.
The TRC started CHATT because current and former clients expressed an interest in performing advocacy work on behalf of the TRC and trauma survivors. The San Francisco community can benefit from hearing survivors speak about the impact of trauma, prevention, and treatment services.
Simply put, your voice needs to be heard. This type of advocacy work is unique in that it has the potential to benefit everyone involved. As a speaker and representative of the TRC, you will have the opportunity to tell your story of surviving a trauma, to strengthen your resolve as well as your community. Survivors who have spoken for the TRC in the past have reported feelings of empowerment by telling their stories of surviving and healing from trauma. It is our hope that members gain a similar sense of fulfillment upon mastering and delivering their speeches throughout the community.
Throughout training, new members collaborate with one another and with the facilitating staff members to practice story-building and public speaking techniques. Training will provide members with plenty of opportunities to write, polish, and practice their speeches.
In addition to speech focus, the training sessions will incorporate additional skill-building exercises. The act of thinking or speaking about the impact of your trauma experience can lead to certain risks, such as trauma exposure and secondary trauma. Speaking in public can be pretty nerve-wracking, so members will practice relaxation and grounding exercises in the training. Speakers will also be encouraged to participate in monthly Speaking Support Group meetings for an opportunity to talk and reflect with other fellow speakers on their experience of telling their story and gain support from each other and staff for this process.
Questions about CHATT or interested in bringing CHATT members to speak at your school or organization? Contact the front desk of TRC at (415) 437-3000 for more information.