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Margo Buchanan recently returned full time to Greater Richmond SCAN as the RPS Resiliency Project Coordinator. The RPS Resiliency Project is a partnership between SCAN, ChildSavers, the Robins Foundation, and Richmond Public Schools to create more trauma-informed schools. She brings a wonderful background in education, trauma-informed practices, wellness and play therapy to this project and we are thrilled to have her on board!
Originally from the Northern Virginia area, Margo began her trauma-informed schools journey after she moved back to the DC area from North Carolina and became a preschool teacher at a non-profit children’s center. She was struck by how little education and support was given to preschool teachers and began to see first-hand how adverse childhood experiences impacted behaviors and development. A local child therapist, who later became a mentor, donated his time to visit the preschool monthly and support the teachers, debriefing on traumatic events and aiding them in working through language barriers as many families were Spanish speaking. This mentor opened up Margo’s eyes to another avenue in working with children, which led her to pursue her Masters in Clinical Social Work at VCU here in Richmond. She eventually went on to earn her LCSW and is currently finishing her Registered Play Therapist certification.
Margo saw trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences first hand during her graduate internships at Richmond Department of Social Services Family Assessment Planning Team and as an intern at a local residential home. This led her to become SCAN’s FAM Coordinator in 2014. Having been a preschool teacher, she knew that if we could have only intervened earlier, things might be different. In this role, she did a great deal of outreach to schools about training, specifically around child abuse and neglect. She saw once again how crucial teacher support and training can be, which led her to a role within the Henrico County Public Schools Behavior Support Team. Margo offered direct support by providing play therapy on a referral basis for children across the county. She was also able to offer professional development to the school systems teachers and administration on the effects of trauma. Through all of this, Margo stayed involved with Greater Richmond SCAN, offering trainings through Community Programs, providing therapy for children at the Child Advocacy Center and Chairing the PreK-12 Workgroup of the Trauma Informed Community Network’s Schools Committee. She became involved in professional development with the RPS Resiliency Project, knowing that by supporting teachers she could impact the lives of more children. She believes that teachers need to feel supported in order to be able to successfully support the needs of the children in their classroom.
Margo shared that she is excited by SCAN’s focus on prevention and how it is not just one standalone project, but woven within all five programs. “Society tends to react after problems have become too big instead of anticipating and preventing these problems, which requires a shift in mindset”, she shared. “As Jeanine Harper, SCAN’s Executive Director, shared with me once, Trauma-Informed Care is not a program to be added to someone’s plate, but it is the plate itself.”
Margo is also a yoga instructor at Humble Haven Yoga and brings a mindset toward wellness to her work at SCAN. She also helped develop a monthly yoga series for the Richmond Police Department through their Road to Resilience Project, in collaboration with the TICN.