Guiding Principles & Core Values
Kitsap Strong believes that EVERY member of our community has immense wisdom, expertise, and ability... and by working together we can support one another in reaching our full potential. We must be direct and honest about the challenges and opportunities that exist in our community.
These values guide all the work of Kitsap Strong member agencies towards our common agenda of:
IMPROVING THE WELL-BEING AND EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT OF KITSAP RESIDENTS, THROUGH A FOCUS ON EMPOWERMENT AND EQUITY, THE PREVENTION OF ACES, AND THE BUILDING OF RESILIENCE.
We believe that children & families flourish when they are surrounded by a strong community. Relationships with caring and competent people help all of us reach our full potential. We want to ensure that all children and adults in our community have 2 or more people to turn to in their time of need.
Together we can achieve more. The NEAR science helps us understand how many of our community/agency goals (ending homelessness, improving graduation rates, preventing child abuse and neglect, preventing drug/alcohol abuse, improving physical and mental health, etc.) are connected and intertwined.
Seeing the full complexity of the challenges we face actually makes them easier to solve, not harder. From this perspective we recognize that none of us will be successful, unless we are all successful. So we focus on how we can collaborate and partner to achieve our shared goals and common agenda.
Equity is achieved when community members receive the resources they need to flourish. Equity means being community/client-driven and ensuring that services are provided in a culturally responsive and appropriate manner. An equity focus means that we strive to ensure we are addressing fundamental issues of racism and poverty, when developing, evaluating, and providing services to our community.
The ACE Study has shown us that adversity impacts all children equally, regardless of race, religion, poverty, country of origin, and other demographic factors. However, the accumulation and layering of “toxic stress” is not equal. The 10 ACE categories do not account for systemic, social, and/or cultural experiences of toxic stress; homelessness, poverty, community violence, racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, etc.
STRESS CAN BE TOXIC
Life is hard. Some experiences can have profound, life-long impacts, if we are not connected to safe, loving, and caring people in our community to help us cope. We must realize the prevalence of trauma (domestic violence, sexual abuse, drug use, mental illness, etc.), recognize how it affects all individuals, and resist doing harm. As a community, we seek to support agencies to respond by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices.
Our community influences our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. We know that many people in our community are experiencing similar health challenges; like struggling with diabetes, asthma, smoking, alcohol & drug use, obesity, depression, anxiety, suicide, etc. We should consider a community response instead of blaming individuals.
We believe that every person has unique talents, skills, and strengths. Each member of our community is the expert on him/herself and knows best what they need to thrive. We seek to support a community process where decision making is driven by those who need/use the services we provide. Our community systems (social service system, health care system, housing services, child welfare, non-profits) can nurture and develop the talents and strengths of children and adults.
We hope to encourage new ideas and strategies for preventing ACEs and building resiliency in our community. We seek to reward partner agencies for implementing new ideas and for being creative, this might mean emphasizing learning over outcomes. We need to support experimentation, providing financial and technical support.