2016 ANNUAL REPORT | 13 12 | HANNA BOYS CENTER As director of Sonoma Charter School (SCS), I first connected with Hanna through one of SCS’s founding couples, Gary and Marcia Nelson. The Nelsons had heard about the innovative work Hanna was doing in trauma- informed care and thought SCS might benefit from this. They introduced me to Hanna’s new executive director, Brian Farragher, and it wasn’t long until I saw how valuable this sort of knowledge could be to our program. You see, as a charter school SCS takes children from a variety of backgrounds. But not until recently we realized that we needed a new approach in terms of working with students who have experienced trauma in their lives. We started working with the Nelsons, Hanna, and one of Hanna’s other partners — the International Trauma Center — about two years ago. We’ve trained all our staff on many of the basic trauma techniques — identifying symptoms, psychological first-aid, tools for working with traumatized kids — and the results have been amazing. Letting my son, Mac, go to Hanna Boys Center was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It felt as though I had failed as a parent, and I was filled with despair and guilt. But allowing him to go ultimately gave him his life back and helped Mac and me build the relationship we have today. For that, I am forever grateful. I was a single mom for eight years when Mac turned 16 and his life started heading sideways. He was in trouble with the law and things got to the point where I knew he was going to end up in juvenile hall—or worse. I tried everything I knew but had limited control over him since he was living at the time with my ex-husband in Southern California. Ultimately, I turned to God for help. And in answer to my prayers, I learned about Hanna Boys Center in Sonoma. God literally brought me to Hanna’s doorstep when I visited campus for an Open House Day. After subsequent visits from all members of our family, Mac came to realize HANNA COMMUNITY PARTNER KEVIN HANNA PARENT KATHY And with the unfolding of the Hanna Institute, we’re taking our partnership to a new level. Institute staff are now working directly with our students — using trauma sensitive programs such as Rainbow Dance with our smallest children, and a program called Kinnect with older students. And this is just the beginning. Our partnership with Hanna is exciting to me on several fronts. First, we’ve been able to bring together several key players to start solving a crucial issue that impacts thousands of Sonoma County children. Second, as a charter school we have the agility and flexibility to test new ideas like trauma-informed care, and then to potentially replicate them in other Sonoma schools. With the results we’ve seen to-date, I’m more optimistic than ever about the future of adolescent mental health here in our community. I want to thank the parents and teachers for their support and dedication to the trauma- informed process. that this was the place he needed to be to get his life back on track. When Mac first arrived at Hanna, it was hard. We had a difficult time building a new relationship and Mac refused to come for home visits. But I was able to visit him at Hanna and go to chapel there. I could interact with the staff and see how they worked with my son to make him whole again. Mac is now thriving, and so is our relationship. After Hanna, he went on to graduate from college in Santa Cruz, then moved to Hawaii with his girlfriend. They are both really happy and have so much zeal for life— such a contrast to where he was at 16. Hanna helped him have faith in who he was and realize how much he could offer the world. Hanna truly saved Mac’s life — and gave me my son back!