Teen CERT prepares youth for disaster, teaches cultural resiliency

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Treboniak, CriticalOps-Simplify Your Life

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The first ever tribal Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training was held in Tulalip during the week of July 16-20. The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Institute (FEMA), Critical Ops and Tulalip Youth Services to bring the trainings to the community. Teen CERT teaches the younger generation how to be adequately prepared for when a disaster strikes so they can help assist the elders, children, injured adults and expectant mothers while the professionals make their way to the reservation. Forty young adults attended the week-long training, thirty-four participants from Tulalip as well as six participants from the Quinault Indian Nation. 

As the saying goes, disaster is waiting to happen. Around the globe people are experiencing natural disasters at an alarming rate such as wildfires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and a variety of storms (rain, wind, snow, thunder). In fact, according to a study conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund, many of these occurrences are happening due to climate change caused by mankind and shouldn’t be considered ‘natural’ disasters at all. In the United States alone, three hundred and sixty-two deaths were attributed to extreme weather and climate disasters in 2017. Over the past few years, the state of Washington has also seen its fair share of climate disasters including the Oso landslide, springtime snow storms, summertime wildfires and the fall/winter windstorms. 

“When the windstorms come in September, October, November and trees topple over, we are disconnected from Marysville and other neighboring cities,” says Ashlynn Danielson, Tulalip Emergency Preparedness Manager. “We have a few ideas of how to create access, move brush and trees off the road but in the meantime we want to self-preserve and have a shelter in place. FEMA has not provided onsite trainers in Indian Country for a Teen CERT. Tribal Teen CERT has been asked about but has not been a project of this scale. We are kind of the showcase piece which makes everything very exciting.” 

Teen CERT is offered to youth across the nation in a number of communities and teaches students how to react and respond in emergency situations. The trainings cover everything from fire safety, medical operation and triage, team organization, utility control, damage assessment as well as search and rescue. 

“Just the thought of being there for my community in a time of need seems something like I could be really good at because I want to help,” expresses young Tulalip tribal member, Evalea Cortez. “I love learning something new. Eventually our parents and all the adults won’t be around forever and if there’s a disaster they’ll be busy helping out others so why not get the training to help them out. I feel like CERT really shows how important it is to be involved with your community and look out for each other.” 

The kids had a blast throughout the week and learned how to properly suppress small fires using an extinguisher and participated in an earthquake emergency drill. The Greg Williams Court appeared to be turned upside after a big quake. A few students were given roles and had to act as though they were at the gym when the earthquake occurred which resulted in a certain injury. The other CERT trainees waited outside and entered the gym after the earthquake and it was their job to correctly assess their classmate’s injuries and treat any immediate lesions until the medical and emergency response teams arrived. The students had also learned how to apply makeup to make it look as though they had a number of injuries, such as cuts and bruises. Kids then learned how to inspect their neighborhoods for extensive damage and how to fill out full detailed reports for the proper authorities.

The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management offers CERT Trainings twice a year to the adults of the community. CERT trainings are highly interactive and require over twenty hours of class participation. Because Teen CERT required forty participants, Tulalip reached out to other tribes to complete their enrollment requirement. Six members of the Quinault Indian Nation accepted Tulalip’s invitation and journeyed north for a week of fun, hands-on safety experience.

“I thought it would be interesting to learn about the first response trainings and get certified for CERT,” says Quinault member, Johnny Law. “I think it’s important because it helps you feel more attached to the land, to our land, and know how to take care of it and our people when a disaster happens. I hope to bring a better understanding to where I’m from just in case there’s an earthquake or tsunami because that would devastate everything down there.”

Tulalip also incorporated another training within the CERT classes that focused on cultural resiliency, teaching the kids the importance of traditional and family values. Jay LaPlante, FEMA Tribal Relation Specialist taught the kids about the medicine wheel and the importance of self-care and community involvement.

“CERT itself is a three-day training and focuses on emergency response,” says Jay. “The reason I added the two-day cultural resiliency wellness training is because our people learn best when we have some type of relationship established. This training helps break down barriers, get to know themselves a little better and get centered with their own values. We always try to connect what we do today with what our ancestors wanted for us and also with the future generations. So we want to make sure these young people know that their ancestors were thinking about them hundreds of years ago so they can connect with what their ancestors wanted and live by those values.”

“We learned about the medicine wheel today,” states Tulalip tribal member, Kaiser Moses. “So that’s spiritual, mental, physical and emotional and that’s really important to factor into your daily life. They teach you fundamental things like how to take care of yourself and your neighbors. I signed up for CERT because I want to learn how to react in an emergency. I feel like after this training, I’ll be more prepared in the event of an emergency and that’s really reassuring.”

All forty students completed the trainings and are now certified CERT members. The Tulalip Office Emergency Management hopes to continue to offer Teen CERT after a successful first year and inspire other tribes to bring the trainings to the youth of their communities. 

“As Native people we are very resilient, very community based and likeminded,” says Ashlynn. “The importance of bringing Teen CERT and the cultural resiliency trainings to the reservation is because it helps us self-identify with our culture. Ultimately, we want them to be able to provide for each other and their families and know where to go in the event of an emergency and how to get to those critical supplies. At the end of the day, our end goal is that we can take all of our information and replicate it for other tribes and help all of the tribal nations become more resilient.”

The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management will continue hosting their regularly scheduled CERT trainings, the next one held this upcoming fall.  For further details, please contact the Office of Emergency Management at (360) 716-4006.

Making Great Strides toward a cure for cystic fibrosis

By Kalvin Valdillez

On the morning of July 7, over one-hundred and fifty community members laced up their best pair of walking shoes and gathered at the Tulalip Amphitheater for the annual Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Walk. 2018 marks the organization’s thirtieth anniversary as well as the tenth anniversary since the first Great Strides Walk took place here in Tulalip. Great Strides Tulalip was organized by two local mothers of children living with cystic fibrosis (CF) who wanted to help find a cure for the life-threatening disease. Since then, the walk continues to raise awareness, helping the community get a better understanding of what CF actually is. 

CF is a rare, complex genetic disease which causes an excessive buildup of thick mucus in the lungs as well as the pancreas and other organs throughout the body. People living with CF are prone to respiratory and pancreatic issues and also a number of infections due to bacteria buildup. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, more than thirty-thousand people are living with CF nationwide. Due to years of research and scientific advancement, the average lifetime for people living with CF has increased significantly to the age of forty. Circa the 1950’s the average child living with the disease rarely made it to elementary school. 

“There are eightwalks we put on across Washington and Alaska,” states Washington CFF Development Director, Anna Lester. “We have about six-hundred and fifty thousand dollars raised and around twenty-five hundred to three-thousand walkers across the two states. It’s the CFF’s largest fundraising initiative, nationally there’s around five-hundred walks and forty-million dollars raised. This walk is the only walk north of Seattle in Washington.”

Kelsie Pablo co-founded Great Strides Tulalip to help find a cure for her son, Keldan, who was diagnosed with CF at birth. 

“We start at the Tulalip Amphitheater and walk all the way around the Outlet Mall, around Boom City and cut through the Casino for about a three mile walk,” says Kelsie. “I started this walk with another mom ten years ago. And the reason why I started the walk is because my son has cystic fibrosis. The very first year we did the Seattle walk and that was a long commute for all of our families so we thought, why not start one in Tulalip?

“My son is a Tulalip tribal member and we have a huge group of supporters and we’ve just grown so much in these past ten years,” she continues. “We’re out here raising awareness for CF and all the money that we raise goes towards new medication, ultimately medication that will cure the underlying cause of CF.”

Over the course of its ten year run, the walk has inspired many families in the Snohomish County area to join on behalf of a loved one living with CF. A number of families’ and local organizations register as teams to participate in the walk. Each team wears different color t-shirts, displaying graphics that bring awareness to the disease, as well as the name of their teams such as Team Keldan and Team Alicia. This year there were twelve teams fundraising to help bring an end to the CF disease. 

Several Tulalip Lions Club members attend the Great Strides Tulalip event every year, volunteering their time and assistance to ensure the walk’s a success. Many members also help spread the word leading up to the event, bringing out more and more walkers each year.

“I have been a member from the very beginning of the walk,” says Linda Tolbert, Tulalip Lions Club Community Services Chairwoman. “We’ve had Lions Club members from Arlington, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Seven Lakes, Marysville, Stanwood, Mill Creek and Tulalip participate. Our role is getting more people involved so they’re more aware of CF. Most patients have to take thirty to forty different drugs a day just to survive, we want to find a cure.”

Once all of the CF awareness walkers make their way back to the amphitheater, they’re treated to some midmorning entertainment as a live band plays rock n’ roll classics while participants get a chance to enjoy company and a snack, bringing the Great Strides Tulalip event to a close. 

This year the goal for the teams of Great Strides Tulalip was a combined total of $34,004. Although the goal wasn’t met on the day the event took place, supporters can still make contributions to the team of their choice until December 31, by visiting the Tulalip 2018 page at www.fightcf.cff.org

Safe Zone: Tulalip Family Advocacy assures client safety

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Did you know that the Child Advocacy Center, the Legacy of Healing and the Family Advocacy building, home to beda?chelh and Family Haven, are considered ‘safe zones’?  The programs, which are all departments of Tulalip Family Advocacy, wanted to spread the word about the safe zones to help the community get a better understanding of what the zones are and why they were established for the protection of their clients. 

“There are three properties out here that have a safety zone policy through the tribe,” explains Jade Carela, Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Manger. “Soon I’ll be getting signs that say Safety Zone, so people know that they’re entering a safe zone. Basically, what safety zone means is people with certain things in their background will not be allowed on the property. And that’s for the safety of our children and clients we work with.” 

Jade further explained that beda?chelh and the Legacy of Healing both had safety zone policies in place with the tribe for a number of years. According to the policies, the purpose of the safe zones is to provide a safe environment at each of the Family Advocacy sites. The policies vary depending on the program but are similar in that they prohibit persons convicted of crimes against children, domestic violence and sexual offense from the property; as well as those subject to an ongoing investigation of a sexual offense. 

Since the policy’s establishment at the Child Advocacy Center, she has seen a positive impact on the kids, who often worry about their security when at the center, reassuring them that they are safe and out of harm’s way. 

The Child Advocacy Center, the Legacy of Healing and beda?chelh all work with survivors of sexual and domestic abuse in a certain capacity. The safe zones help assure their clients that their abuser and anyone convicted of domestic or sexual assault are not allowed on the property at any given time. All properties took extra precautions in providing client security, requiring visitors to meet certain credentials before granting entrance at each site. People with a history of domestic or sexual violence will be asked to leave the property, if they refuse to leave or the situation escalates, the authorities will be contacted to remove them from the premises.  

Jade is spreading awareness about the safe zones to survivors, to let them know that the programs provide a safe space. And to those who have been previously convicted of a crime, Jades states their services are still available to them, and they can meet with those clients off-property. 

“Because someone has something in their background doesn’t mean we won’t help them,” says Jade. “This policy is in no way stating that we won’t help you, it is strictly to ensure our children and adult victims feel safe. I work with these victims daily and I see how important it is to them, how safe these places are. I personally know that people can change and can grow, I get that, but we need places on this reservation for our victims of crime to feel they are completely safe and know that no one, no matter how long ago their crime was committed, will be allowed on the property.”

For further details regarding the safe zones and what services the programs offer please contact the Child Advocacy Center at (360) 716-5437; the Legacy of Healing at (360) 716-4100; Family Haven at (360) 716-4402; or beda?chelh at (360) 716-3284. 

Journey to a healthier you

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Everyone wants to live a healthy life. The ideal health for most is reached by eating nutritious meals to fuel the body and mind, while being balanced with enough physical activity to keep the body working properly. 

But where does one start? There seems to be an endless amount of questions to ask and information to gather before starting a journey to a healthier you. Luckily, for the Tulalip community, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and a team of health experts are here to help by offering a series of nutrition and cooking classes that are fun and interactive.

Eat Smart, Be Active classes will be taking place every Tuesday from now until July 31 at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 5:00pm – 6:30pm. If you are interested in learning more about whole foods, quality health, exercise, meal prepping, or cooking quick and healthy meals on a budget, then this is the perfect opportunity.

“Making healthy lifestyle changes is not an easy thing to do, but in the end the reward is so worth it!” stated AnneCherise Jensen, SNAP-Ed Nutritionist. “Eat Smart, Be Active classes really do give you an opportunity to learn, to ask questions, to discuss, and gain the tools you and your family need to live a happy, healthy, energetic life. Overall, these classes are very positive, energetic, and fun. We have a great preventative care team that truly cares about your health and wellbeing.”

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. During the opening class on Tuesday, June 5, the twenty-five health conscious participants learned about ditching junk food and give their bodies the nutrient-dense fuel it needs by making a meal together. The main course? A delicious chicken stir fry made with nine different flavorful vegetables. 

After learning a 15-minute aerobic exercise routine that can be done at the comfort of home, the community members received basic cooking instruction before gathering in the kitchen. There each participant had a job to do in order to make the evening’s meal. Finally, while enjoying the freshly prepared chicken stir fry, instructors reviewed all the nutrients being consumed and emphasized how simple the process had been.

“It was empowering as a community to get together and participate in a healthy, nutritious meal,” added AnneCherise after the evening class had ended. “There are so many amazing health benefits to making these small, gradual changes. You start to have more energy, you begin to feel more confident in yourself, you find yourself in better moods, and the more and more you do it – the more friends you will find to exchange recipes with and encourage each other along the way.”

If you missed out on the opening class, no worries. The invite is open to anyone who wishes to learn about healthier lifestyle choices when it comes to nutrition and physical activity. Come in to as many classes as you can, if not all of them.

Questions? Please contact AnneCherise Jensen, SNAP-Ed Nutritionist at 360-716-5632 or ajensen@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov OR Brooke Morrison, Tulalip Diabetes Prevention Assistant at 360-716-5617 or bmorrison@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

Versus Technology increases efficiency, decreases wait time at health clinic

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic recently completed renovations that saw several improvements to the building including new patient rooms, additional dental chairs as well as new check-in stations. The clinic’s reason for the remodel was not only for modernization, but primarily to create a better overall experience for the patients, factoring in community feedback when designing the new floor plan. Prior to the renovation, one of the biggest issues many patients encountered was sitting in the waiting room for a long period of time before being seen by a doctor. Through the remodel, the clinic addressed this issue by incorporating more acute care patient rooms. By adding more rooms, the clinic is able bring more patients back at a time to get their vitals checked by a medical assistant before they’re seen by a doctor. The clinic has also recently implemented the Versus Technology system to help create a more efficient visit for their patients.  

Versus Technology is an inferred/radio frequency locating system. The system has been utilized in many clinics and hospitals across the nation for a number of years to help optimize patient flow. Often times, patients have to visit many areas of the clinic during the same trip including the x-ray rooms and labs as well as dental and optometry. The Versus system ensures that patients don’t get lost along the corridors, aren’t left unattended for too long and most importantly, are safe while receiving care at the health clinic.

Upon checking-in, patients are given a Versus badge attached to a small clipboard, which is carried by the patient during their entire visit. This allows health clinic staff to see on their computer screens where the patient is at in the building and how far along they are in their appointment. If a patient is waiting in one area for more than fifteen minutes, staff is alerted via a screen pop-up. The staff then checks on the patient and gives them an update as well as an expected wait time, letting the patient know they haven’t been forgotten. 

The badges also help employees locate one another for assistance during the busy hours of the day. All staff members at the clinic have a badge that is worn at all times while working. The staff badges have a button for emergency situations, and when pressed all employees are notified and can rush to that location to help. Versus Technology also helps practitioners by allowing them to review the amount of time spent with their patients, which helps with scheduling. For instance, if a doctor schedules his appointments in thirty-minute increments but often spends an extra five minutes with each patient, that increases the wait time for each of his following patients.  The new system allows that doctor to recognize that he needs to schedule all of his appointments for five additional minutes and eliminate patient wait time. 

The health clinic decided to use Versus after visiting the Monroe Providence Clinic and seeing the system in action as well as conducting a survey from their patients. 

“We talked to patients who were utilizing Versus and asked them how they liked it and most of them loved it,” explains Dr. Rhonda Nelson, Tulalip Health Clinic’s Health Informatics Manager. “I don’t think there was a single negative piece of feedback because they really felt it helped the flow of their visit, making sure they were getting where they needed to go and when they needed to get there. 

“At Monroe they actually room themselves, they get handed a badge and the staff writes on the clipboard what room they’re supposed to go to,” she continues. “They don’t even wait in the waiting room; they just go back to the room like a hotel. On one hand, it’s somewhat impersonal, our patients tend to expect a more personal experience than that. On the other hand, it decreases communal diseases because a lot of time when you go to the doctor, people are actually sick – coughing, hacking, sneezing, got a fever. The less time you spend in the waiting room with all the sick people, you actually have less of a chance of catching something. You’ll notice our waiting room is actually smaller with much less seating, they anticipated that patients would be sitting in the waiting room less with Versus.”

The clinic officially began using Versus on April 17, which has been met with a mix of extremely positive reviews as well as heavy concern from the elders of the community.

“Many elders expressed concern with me, one of them was privacy,” says Dr. Nelson. “They were wondering if we were going to monitor how much time they spent in the bathroom. We’re looking at this as more of an overall thing, like the amount of time they spend alone and are waiting. Their other concern was, are you going to shorten my visit to make your staff look good, are you under the gun to get me out of the room? That had been voiced by some of the elders, asking if we’re going to rush them. And the answer is no, that’s not our goal. Our goal is to see how long you are waiting, if you’re getting seen in a timely manner and if we’re communicating with you about what’s happening. 

“We want to make sure that people have clear expectations of their visit time and also that we’re utilizing our rooms well,” she states. “Your safety is important to us. No, we’re not monitoring how long you’re in the bathroom, but if someone’s been in the bathroom for a really long time, thirty or more minutes, we want to check to see that they’re okay. We also don’t want you to have to worry about missing your appointment if you have to use the bathroom because we can see that you’re still in the building. And we still have a number of smokers that step outside and the badge just shows us that they haven’t left, so when we’re ready for them we can go out and let them know to come on back. It’s still new and it takes some time to get used to change, but I think that we’re doing great and that [Versus] helps us create a better, more efficient experience for our patients.”

Community discussion focuses on ending violence against children and sexual abuse within Indigenous communities

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

There was no shortage of tears from the small gathering of Tulalip citizens during the recent screening of the movie Wind River on the night of April 13. The event, held at the Mission Highlands Community Center, is Tulalip Family Advocacy’s latest effort in bringing awareness, education and support to the community during National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Sexual Abuse Awareness Month. 

The critically acclaimed movie follows a Fish and Wildlife tracker and an FBI agent as they investigate the death of a young Native American woman on the Wind River Reservation, home to both Arapaho and Shoshone tribes in Wyoming. The movie depicts a lot of the hardships Native communities experience such as substance abuse, race relations and violence. However, Wind River is based upon the unfortunate reality of the many unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The film also addresses the often complicated jurisdiction issue between tribal police and government officials, as well as the lack of officers on reservations which often stalls many of these cases. 

Although the event had a small turnout, everybody in attendance had yet to see the film prior to the movie night. This allowed the viewers to experience a flurry of emotions during the fast-paced action-mystery-drama. After the film ended, the crowd needed to take a personal moment to wipe away tears before participating in an open discussion about Wind River.  

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview Specialist, Sydney Gilbert, asked the movie goers a series of questions that allowed the community members to relate and reflect on the issues brought to light by the movie.

“Watching this was heartbreaking and enlightening,” expressed an anonymous community member. “It should definitely be watched because it’s important. It shows the hopelessness many of our people feel living out on reservations. A lot of us can feel like there’s no way out on the rez, out of the rez life. In many ways, our people have adapted to numbing. And with all these deaths, whether it’s [a murder], drug overdose or suicide, you don’t have time to recover and heal. It’s almost like that’s our lifestyle now and numbing’s the new norm.”

The discussion was a personal, intimate hour-long conversation where the participants brainstormed ideas about how to overcome some of these issues as a community and spoke about how and when these situations first became problems for Native Americans. The group also shared personal stories and suggested new ways to help put an end to violence against children and sexual abuse within Indigenous communities.

One community member stressed that education is key for both prevention and healing when dealing with such serious topics, stating, “It’s generational trauma. This is something that happened in the boarding schools and it’s been a never-ending cycle. It’s important for our people to know that’s where it stems from in order to deal with those emotions and move forward because those are huge burdens that we are having to carry.” 

“The reason we chose Wind River is because not only is April Child Abuse Prevention Month, it’s also Sexual Abuse Awareness month,” states Sydney. “We felt that this film touches on that subject and opens up an important discussion around sexual assault in Indian Country.”

The film has been an eye-opener for many of its viewers across the nation. Most recently a law was signed here in Washington State that aims to prevent as well as provide assistance for the missing and murdered Indigenous women in this state. The law was passed months after the release of the film, when a government official realized how big of an ongoing issue this is for Native women, upon seeing the movie and several rallies across the state. The new law goes into effect this June and requires Washington State Patrol as well as the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs to work with tribal law enforcement to access more information and resources for reporting and identifying missing Native women in this state. 

Studies show that over 86% of Native women nationswide experience sexual or domestic violence in their lifetime, doubling the average amongst women of other races. Unfortunately, the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women remains unknown.

Family Advocacy will continue their month of awareness by distributing blue pinwheels, which represent the prevention of childhood abuse, to the entire community throughout the remainder of the month and will end with the Helping Our Sisters Heal gathering at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on April 28. 

Darkness to Light, empowering people to take action against abuse

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Childhood sexual abuse is a topic a lot of people don’t want to talk about,” says Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Manager, Jade Carela. “A lot of people think if they don’t hear about it or think about it, it’s not happening. But the reality is, it’s happening. It’s happening on our reservation. It’s happening a lot. The silence is what keeps it going, not talking about it and not getting proper education about it.” 

Tulalip Family Advocacy, consisting of the Child Advocacy Center, beda?chelh, Legacy of Healing, Family Haven and the Tulalip Safe House, is bringing support, awareness and education to the community during the entire month of April to help prevent childhood abuse and sexual assault. Throughout the country, communities are either observing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month or National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Family Advocacy, however, decided to dedicate the month to raising awareness to both causes by hosting several events to help survivors of sexual crimes heal, as well as inform local citizens about how to prevent childhood sexual assault from occurring and also how to respond and report when somebody opens up to you about sexual abuse.  

The first event of Family Advocacy’s month of awareness was the two-hour Darkness to Light training held at the Tulalip Administration building on April 10. Darkness to Light is a national non-profit organization that empowers adults to take action and prevent childhood sexual abuse. The organization created the Stewards of Children training, which features a video presentation that teaches participants the ‘5 Steps to Protecting Our Children’ – learn the facts, minimize opportunity, talk about it, recognize the signs and react responsibly. 

The video presentation, told through the voices of adults who were victims of childhood sexual assault, revealed some very shocking statistics. One in every 10 kids are sexually abused by the age of eighteen; 90% of childhood victims know their abuser – 30% are abused by family, 60% are by friends of family and trusted adults and 40% are committed by older children. And when and if reported to police, 66% of all sexual assault cases involved youth and 35% of those accounts happened to children ages eleven and younger. Children who are survivors of sexual crimes experience a lifetime of trauma which can often lead to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, defiance, teen pregnancy, promiscuity, eating disorders, self-inflicted harm and suicide. It is important to note that those statistics are based on incidents reported and many childhood sexual abuse incidents go unreported out of fear, shame and lack of support. 

“The Darkness to Light trainings equips community members with the knowledge of how to put measures in place to help prevent childhood sexual abuse and how to recognize the signs of childhood sexual abuse,” explains Sydney Gilbert, Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview Specialist. “You hear from a lot of survivors in this video, showing that it is possible to move forward if people have the support they need.”

During the video, the survivors recounted their attacks – who their abuser was, when the horrible act(s) occurred and how it altered their lives and interactions with others forever. More importantly, the victims detailed their life experiences after their assault, their struggles and how they worked through their trauma, showing other survivors that they can work towards healing and lead healthy and productive lives once addressing the incident. The video also covered the importance of helping your child establish personal boundaries with others, monitoring internet usage and listening for clues the child may be dropping, as kids tend to feel situations out before completely confiding in an adult. After the video, participants take part in an open discussion and are presented with a certificate for completing the Stewards of Children training. 

“This is one of the first classes I’ve been to that’s based on prevention,” states Tulalip tribal member, Toni Sheldon. “We’re done reacting, we need to be proactive. These are our kids, our future. We need to stop this cycle.”  

“I want this community to become more informed,” expressed Jade. “Typically, when we’re talking about childhood sexual abuse, we expect the child to disclose, to tell an adult. We expect the child to know when something bad is happening to them and that’s not right. We as the adults need to start taking the initiative. It needs to be put on us to take care of these children and start recognizing the signs. When we’re in public and notice someone is touching a child, not necessarily completely inappropriate, but you can tell that the child is uncomfortable with it; and not always expecting your children to hug family members because kids sense things differently than adults do and there might be a reason for that. And when a child is disclosing, a lot people aren’t properly educated on how to respond to that and sometimes it can make the child not want to disclose at all. So most of the time, children never do tell their story, they never tell what happened to them.

“These trainings are important because they teach us, as adults, to take back that accountability,” she continues. “It teaches us how to start recognizing different things within the community and the people we’re around. It teaches us how to stand up and say something. I want the victims to know that there are safe people in our community to talk to about abuse that has happened. There are people who will believe them and walk that path with them so they’re not alone.”

Family Advocacy is hosting a free movie night and discussion on Friday April 13 at the Mission Highlands Community Center from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. where they will be screening the movie Wind River.  Another Darkness to Light training will be held on Wednesday April 25, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Administration building. National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month will wrap up with Helping Our Sisters Heal, a traditional-inspired gathering for the women of the community who are survivors of violence and sexual assault. This will be held Saturday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Old Dining Hall. 

 For further information, please contact Sydney Gilbert at (360) 716-4097 and to report child sexual abuse please contact the proper authorities by referring to the list of community resources provided by the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center.  



Community Resources for Responding to Child Sexual Abuse Tulalip and Snohomish County

Call the report abuse

Contact the CPS Program at 1-866-End-Harm or any Law Enforcement Agency at 911. You are not required to provided proof. Anyone who makes a good faith report based on reasonable grounds is immune from prosecution. If the abuse occurred within the past 72 hours, a medical evaluation by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is available by going to the Emergency Department of your County Medical Center or going to the nearest child advocacy center. 


  • DVS assault hotline 425-252-2873
  • 24-hour mental health crisis care line 800-584-3578
  • Darkness to Light helpline 1-866-FOR-LIGHT    (1-866-367-5444)


Legal Help

  • Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid 360-716-4773
  • NW Justice Project 425-252-8515

Victim Advocacy

  • Tulalip Child Advocacy Center 360-716-5437
  • Legacy of Healing 360-716-4100


Treatment Providers

  • Tulalip Family Services 360-716-4400
  • Tulalip Youth and Family Wellness 360-716-4224
  • Catholic Community Services 360-651-2366

Support groups for survivors and for parents and families of children who have been abused

  • Providence Assault and Abuse Services 425-297-5782


Child Advocacy Centers in Snohomish County

Feel free to call the center with any questions about where to find resources related to child sexual abuse. Contact the nearest CAC to set up an interview of abuse is reported: 

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center  360-716-5437  2321 Marine Dr., Tulalip, WA 98271

Dawson’s Place 425-789-3000   1509 California St   Everett, WA 98201  Dawsonplace.org