Fly By Nature Foundation is a DC based 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization that was created based on the founders Adverse Childhood Trauma lived experiences and academic troubles. Using the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) 5 Core Competencies, we designed our curriculum around healing centered engagement and positive youth development. Our trauma-informed approach helps caregivers, families, schools and students align with a common understanding around healing.
Having a willingness to monitor our egos, hearts and instincts while respecting others ego’s, hearts and instincts.
Putting ourselves in the shoes of others respecting everyone’s perspective.
Accepting others as they are, giving them permission to be their authentic selves.
Collaborating together with communities to produce positive outcomes for everyone.
To nurture a world with caring, emotionally intelligent, and resilient youth thriving in their purpose.
To empower DC area youth, school staff and care givers by strengthening their knowledge, skills, and attitudes to heal from childhood trauma through the following goals:
Removing any rode blocks that childhood trauma can disrupt through early detection and intervention so students can achieve academic success.
The ability for youth to demonstrate emotional intelligence through emotion recognition, regulation, decision-making skills, responsible nonviolent communication at home, school and their communities.
The ability for youth to learn the cyber security risks, how to behave online, raise awareness of misinformation and the importance of their digital reputation.
The ability for youth to recognize and regulate feelings & perspectives of others through empathy.
In 2016, I stumbled across an article about 8 year old Gabriel died from suicide. He was bullied at his Elementary School and they didn't do anything about it.
They didn't even notify his mother about the incident. The school lost in a wrongful death settlement they were fighting to avoid paying. That story touched me because I had a cousin the committed suicide back in the 1990's. He had lived with my grandparents for a period of time. We never knew what his reason but he died by suicide. Fast forward to 2016, I started noticing the trend of younger children associated with suicide.
With bullying being one of the main causes, after doing more research I discovered that a large population children especially in Washington, DC were experiencing severe childhood trauma. In 2016, I came across a Washington Post article about ACE's. According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, 47 percent of children and teens have experienced a traumatic event, such as the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has been suicidal or who has a substance or alcohol dependent, according to new federal data. We know that number is significantly under reported. As I read more research about childhood trauma and the poor outcomes it causes, the statistics were startling. I knew something needed to be done.
Because I suffered from childhood trauma, PTSD and anxiety, I wanted to create curriculum to help raise awareness. In 2018, the Founder/Executive Director Victor Terry reached out to an experienced Educator/Dean of Students with over 20 years of experience with creating curriculum framework. Her Organization, Lead The Seed, had a cohort program for people wanting to design curriculum to develop youth programming. Using evidence-based Social Emotional Learning Framework was our approach. Research data from the Center's of Disease Control (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey, we were able to address some of the major pain points for youth in the District of Columbia. After watching a few YouTube videos on CASEL, I thought that would be a good framework.
Using CASEL 5 core Competencies. Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
My grandfather Richard Bradford, was an ANC Commissioner in Ward 5, community activist and founder of DC based nonprofit The Busy Bee Community Association Inc. which was established in 1983. I now understand why I struggled academically from Elementary - High School. I was blessed that I was able to escape the poor outcomes that a high percentage of youth in DC have fail victim too. Most of my childhood friends are dead and served 25 + years in prison. My younger brother wasn't so lucky. He has been incarcerated for 13 years now. I witnessed first hand how much of an impact the organization had on communities and youth.