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Baltimore Youth Leaders Hold Trauma Training for Enoch Pratt Free Library Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore's youth leaders held a virtual training session on Friday to help Enoch Pratt Free Library staff learn how to help young people who are experiencing trauma. 

"We're just here to provide you all with some things that you can do to kind of, you know, help youth within their healing process," HealinYouth Alliance Ambassador Jima Chester said.

Members of the Healing Youth Alliance held the session to help the 450 members of the library system understand what trauma looks like and how they should respond to it.

"So they're going to be working with our librarians today to reach conflict resolution, de-escalation, how to really work with a young person who is experiencing trauma when they come into your branch," Councilman Zeke Cohen said.

Cohen sponsored the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act, which the training is required under. 

The session was one of six-part monthly curriculum sessions for library staff. Members of every city agency will be required to go through the training. 

"Adults in all our city agencies have an enormous amount of power in sharping how our kids grow up," Cohen said. "That's why we're so proud to be the first city in the country to have legislated trauma-informed care."

City leaders and youth say the training is an important step to help youth heal and avoid re-traumatization.

"Me and Jima are juniors. We graduate next year but that does not mean I'm not worrying about the children that come after us," Sydney Johnson, who is also a youth ambassador with the Healing Youth Alliance, said. "This is why we're doing the work now. We need to work together now to figure out how do we change this."

The Department of Recreation and Parks will be the next city department to be trained in trauma-informed care. Cohen told WJZ that their training should begin within the next six months.

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