Hello everyone, I am Charlie McNeely and I am thrilled to be a part of the Trauma Informed Oregon (TIO) team as the Outreach and Community Engagement Coordinator. This position was created in an effort to collaborate and elevate the voices of various populations in our communities that are underserved and under resourced.
TIO’s dedication to be an organization that truly lives up to the standards of what it means to be trauma informed is exhibited through their intentionality and inclusion of equitable principles and values. I am thankful to TIO for giving me this opportunity and feel that I can bring much to this work not only through my professional background but also through my lived experiences as a trauma survivor.
One way to meet our equity goals is to ensure processes, trainings, and materials we provide are culturally responsive and linguistically appropriate. This is the primary role of my position, which is why I am a participant of the Developing Equity and Leadership through Training and Action (DELTA) 2018 Cohort through the Oregon Health Authority. DELTA is a health, equity, and inclusion leadership program that includes rigorous training, coaching, and networking components for health, community, and policy leaders in Oregon. This nine-month program trains 25 members committed to advancing health, equity, and diversity throughout Oregon.
By integrating what I am learning in the DELTA program, my hope is to continue TIO’s outreach to diverse populations and to review TIO practices through an equity lens—solidifying our determination to be culturally responsive and promoting the intersectionality of TIC and equity.
What led me to this organization and this specific role stems from my personal and firsthand experience with trauma—being removed from my biological family and thrown into the foster care system until the age of eighteen. After graduating from high school, I wanted to give back to the foster care system. I was granted the opportunity to work with youth that were also removed from their families and faced multiple barriers while often times being re-traumatized from the very same systems that were designed to help and support them.
Now, as TIO Staff, I am grateful to be able to continue this work by collaborating with other agencies and organizations to create safe and equitable environments for the people who have a right to these services and yet experience challenging obstacles. By being part of the TIO Team, I get to be a part of their mission and commitment to fill in those gaps that trauma survivors, like myself, endure as well as support the overall wellness of the communities we serve.