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Amanda Lynch, MA, CTP-E recently began as SCAN’s Trauma-Informed Specialist embedded in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond. Through this unique partnership between SCAN and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, she is the first Trauma-Informed Specialist embedded within an out-of-school time setting in our area. We are thrilled to have her experience, expertise and positivity on board at SCAN as we launch this new initiative.
What is your current role at SCAN?
I am the Trauma Informed Specialist for Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond.
How did you first get involved with SCAN?
I have worked with Margo Buchannan (SCAN’s RPS Trauma-Informed Education Specialist) in a variety of capacities over the past four years and learned about SCAN through her work with Circle Preschool. I first became involved by collecting snacks to donate to the CAC in lieu of birthday presents for my daughter’s birthday a few years ago and then slowly began to present professional development workshops about ACES and trauma informed classroom practices at SCAN/Richmond Public Schools events.
What has your life/work experience been that brought you to SCAN?
I began working as a Special Education teacher in Richmond Public Schools in 2003. As a native of Glen Allen, I was very naïve to the poverty and trauma that plagued many of my students and their families. I sought out more information about substance use disorder, cultural responsiveness, and historical trauma as I navigated the systems and resources that could best support my students both in and outside of the classroom. For nearly twenty years, I worked in a variety of capacities in public education, and briefly in correctional education, and always made center to my teaching, my student’s social emotional learning needs. This became hallmark to my classroom instruction. It wasn’t until 2006 when my best friend, Angel J. Jackson, and her father, Herbert Sharpe, Sr., were brutally murdered that I truly understood how deeply trauma could impact an individual and their family. This single event changed the trajectory of my career and I began to delve deeper into mindfulness and trauma informed practices. I have since released two books, The Mindfulness Room and Breathe, Baby, Breathe: An ABC Guide to Mindfulness, which both serve as guides for teachers and parents in helping students do develop mindful practices. I hope to release Circle Up: A Kids Guide to Restorative Practices and Think, Baby, Think: An ABC Guide to Restorative Practices this spring which will introduce the power of restorative practices, forgiveness and healing to young children.
What inspires you to stay involved with your work at SCAN?
My husband, children, my community, and the memory of my best friend, encourage me to stay involved with my work with SCAN. I truly believe that we are not defined by our traumas and one caring adult can change the course of a child’s life.
Is there anything you wish other people knew about SCAN?
I wish that more people knew the power of community building that is woven throughout the mission of SCAN. A major part of our work is building healthy communities.
What has been the best experience with SCAN so far?
The best experience that I have had working with SCAN is being afforded the opportunity to continue to serve and help foster and build resilience in families throughout Metro Richmond.
What are any challenges you have faced in your work with SCAN?
Some people are afraid of getting help or being referred for mental health support. Sometimes parents think they have to be superhuman and carry their struggles and burdens alone. It takes building trusting relationships within the clubs and community to break through those barriers.
Do you have any goals or hopes for the next year with SCAN?
I was recently accepted and given a scholarship to attend UCSD’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training for Diverse Communities program to be held in July 2021. Therefore, over the next year, I hope to complete all of my pre-requisites so that I can expand my personal and professional understanding of MBSR to better position me to offer both Koru Mindfulness and MBSR workshops to underserved communities. I also hope to continue to support the creation of a Mindfulness Ambassadors program with Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond with support from the Innerwork Center and also to establish a Peace Builders program through Boys and Girls Club of Metro Richmond with support from Richmond Peace and Education Center. We’re off to a great start and look forward to a mindful year!
Are you involved with any other community organizations, hobbies, or activities?
I teach Restorative Yoga and Meditation at Humble Haven Yoga (Glenside) and I am also a part of the Mindfulness teaching cohort at the Innerwork Center. I enjoy hiking, meditating, and spending time with my husband and children (Justin, Ava, Hazy, and Rosebud).
What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
That all of my maternal family grew up (and still lives) on one street in Hanover County. We grew up surrounded by a host of cousins, aunts, uncles and my maternal grandparents.