BCF Hosts Repair the R.I.F.T. Seminars Focusing on Trauma and Trauma Responses

The Berrien Community Foundation’s Women’s Giving Circle wants to help the “helpers” of Berrien County with Repair the R.I.F.T., a seminar about trauma, its effects and how to better serve people who have or are experienced trauma.

Repair the R.I.F.T., which stands for Resiliency In the Face of Trauma, is a free, interactive seminar that will provide a better understanding of trauma, what it is and how it can negatively affect anyone. All adult men, women and others are welcome to attend.

At this seminar, attendees will learn:

  • What is trauma and how to recognize its effects in themselves and others.
  • How trauma can affect physical and mental health.
  • How behavior and decision making is negatively affected by trauma.
  • A better understanding of why people “do what they do.”
  • Practical, “hands-on” ways to help build resiliency in yourself and others who have experienced trauma.

You can register to attend one of three events at www.berriencommunity.org/Repair.

Who should attend Repair the R.I.F.T.?

  • Nonprofit employees
  • Educators, school staff, coaches and mentors
  • Public safety workers and other first responders
  • Anyone who works with the public

Ingrid Slikkers, executive director of the International Center for Trauma Education & Care (ICTEC) at Andrews University, will lead the presentation.

“Recognizing the physical and emotional signs of trauma can help all of us move forward to create safe and inclusive environments with a culture of empathy, understanding and healing,” said Slikkers. “This training will help you walk away with a shift in perspective from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What’s happened to you?” and with practical tools to implement right away in your own life and with those around you.”

According to ICTEC, trauma occurs when a person experiences something that is perceived as physically or emotionally threatening. These experiences produce feelings of exceeding stress, terror or helplessness, and can produce lasting effects upon the individual's mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Such trauma is prevalent, without regard for socio-economic status, race, gender or religion.

“This seminar is for anyone who works with the public or who wants to better understand their own trauma,” said Berrien Community Foundation Program Director Susan Matheny. “This is especially important for people who work with children and youth, and those going through a stressful situation. You will walk away with a better understanding of how trauma affects how people think, speak and act.”

Understanding and recognizing trauma is just the first step. With help from the ICTEC, participants will learn how to better interact with and understand those who are reacting from a place of trauma.

Berrien Community Foundation is offering Repair the R.I.F.T. three times: once in Niles and twice in Benton Harbor. The same content will be presented at all three events, so interested individuals only need to attend one session. The event is free, but registration is required as a meal will be provided.


Session #1 - Niles
June 5, 5:30-7:30
Grand LV Event Venue
104 N. 3rd Street
Niles, MI

Session #2 - Benton Harbor
June 6, 11:30-1:30
Center for Wellness
133 W. Main Street
Benton Harbor, MI

Session #3 - Benton Harbor
June 6, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Center for Wellness
133 W. Main Street
Benton Harbor, MI

To register, visit www.berriencommunity.org/repair. For more information, call Berrien Community Foundation at 269-983-3304.