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News and Opinion Mar 18, 2020

Keeping Our Children And Ourselves Safe: A Message From President and CEO, Brigid Ahern

Dear Friends,

I am writing at a time of uncertainty and anxiety for all of us. The coronavirus is upending the way we live, work and experience school. We are all concerned with how to keep ourselves and the people we love safe and well.

At Turnaround, we are particularly attuned to how unsettling and stressful school closures are for the educators and children we serve. On the one hand, to be safe physically, we are told to stay home. But the same thing that keeps us physically safe from the virus disrupts many of the human connections we need to feel emotionally safe, cope with stress and manage fear.

To navigate this paradox, we asked our own Pamela Cantor, M.D. to draw on her experiences in medicine, helping children who have faced trauma and other adversities, and working with schools, to offer all of us advice on how to weather this crisis. For starters, she recorded a special edition of The 180 Podcast entitled “Coronavirus: Keeping Our Children and Ourselves Safe,” which you may find here along with a full transcript.

Turnaround is also offering free access to Stress and the Brain, a resource for educators selected to complement the insights and advice offered by Dr. Cantor in the podcast. It describes how stress gets under the skin and what we as adults can do about it. In addition, we have curated a list of resources produced by organizations across the country that focus primarily on two areas of concern: physical safety and emotional safety.

At Turnaround, we will continue to create and share content within our areas of expertise to help people get through this emergency. In the meantime, I want to share a quote from the podcast that I hope you will find empowering and hopeful:

“The human relationship has the power to relieve stress, promote resilience and restore a young person’s sense of safety. This needs to be our north star. This is what every adult should be guided by in their actions with family members and the young people in their lives.” – Pamela Cantor, M.D.

Wishing you and those you care for safety and good health.


Brigid Ahern

President and CEO, Turnaround for Children