Frequently Asked Questions
I am so glad you asked! We are, at our core, a training organization. We hold workshops to train people with the essentials of trauma-informed care so that they are equipped to help the vulnerable children they serve overcome trauma and thrive.
Is RiverCross a Christian organization?
Yes! Ultimately, we want to see every vulnerable child secure in the love of Christ. But just like the disciples got in the way of children coming to Christ, trauma gets in the way of children coming to Christ. By equipping local people to be advocates for local children who protect and restore them from trauma, we are opening the way for vulnerable children to get to Christ so that he can bind up their broken hearts and set them free to thrive.
Why the name “RiverCross?”
Orphans and vulnerable children are often trapped by their trauma. They are defined by the abuse they have experienced and their particular vulnerability. We want to see these children cross from this place of trauma-defined lives to a place where they are able to thrive.
Yes! We are a 501(C)(3) certified organization with EIN 61-1669939
What are the “essentials of trauma-informed care?”
We line up with other well-respected organizations who teach evidence-based practices of trauma-informed care. Equipping people with these essentials and empowering them to set children free from trauma so they can thrive.
Who are “vulnerable children?”
According to the World Bank’s “Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Toolkit, “Compared to adults, all children are vulnerable by nature, but some children are more critically vulnerable than others. Child vulnerability is a downward spiral where each shock leads to a new level of vulnerability, and each new level opens up for a host of new risks. In other words, the probability of a child experiencing a negative outcome rises with each shock. At the bottom of this spiral we find children who live outside of family care or in situations of severe family abuse and neglect. OVC interventions can be made at all levels to prevent (a further) increased vulnerability, or to mitigate the effect of likely shocks. The higher up in the spiral the intervention is made, the more cost-effective it is likely to be. OVC should preferably be assisted before they have reached the most critical stages of vulnerability, because interventions aimed to rescue and rehabilitate the most critically vulnerable children tend to be too expensive to be sustainable and moreover have low rates of success.”
What is trauma?
According to the American Psychological Association, “Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.”
There are three main types of trauma: acute, chronic, and complex.
Research has shown that children are particularly vulnerable to trauma because of their rapidly developing brain. During traumatic experiences, a child’s brain is in a heightened state of stress and fear-related hormones are activated. Although stress is a normal part of life, when a child is exposed to chronic trauma, the child’s brain remains in this heightened pattern. Remaining in this heightened state can change the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functioning of the child in order to survive. Without alleviation, these traumatic experiences can have a significant impact on a child’s future behavior, emotional, cognitive and spiritual development, mental and physical health.
What makes RiverCross training unique?
We believe that vulnerable children are best cared for in their families and communities by the people in their families and communities. So, we designed our training so that anyone anywhere can train with us regardless of educational levels. Literacy is not a barrier for people who go through our training.
We recognize that many communities where vulnerable children live have story-centric cultures. Stories, rather than Powerpoints and workbooks, are the way that people in these communities learn best.
Throughout history and in the Bible, stories are an effective means of teaching knowledge and skills and shifting mindsets. So, we harness the power of story to equip people with the core essentials of trauma-informed care. Here’s how:
Step 1 – We produce audio dramas in which the core essentials of trauma-informed care are embedded. Our audio dramas are written and produced by a world-class team including writers, producers and composers for Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey series. We are committed to creating an immersive experience for the listener because narrative transport research tells us that the degree to which a person is immersed in a story correlates with a change of thinking, attitude and behavior.
Step 2 – These audio dramas anchor our workshops. People gather in small groups, in-person or online, with a RiverCross Facilitator to listen to and discuss the audio dramas. The facilitator knows the core essentials and is equipped to lead discussions in which these essentials are discussed, learned and applied.
Step 3 – Once a community has a core group of people who have participated in RiverCross Workshops, we work with leaders to establish a strategy for community transformation including mapping resources, raising awareness and broadcasting our programs on the radio.
Although there are other excellent trauma training programs, there are no other programs that are anchored in audio dramas.
What languages do you offer?
At this time, our programs are only in English. We record in London with British African and Afro-Caribbean actors in order to honor the people we are serving and get accents that will be widely accepted in English-speaking Africa.
The setting and the accents align with Sub-Saharan Africa, and this region of the world is our current focus. However, this doesn’t mean that organizations in other areas of the world cannot host and participate in RiverCross workshops. We have found that the story has no boundaries.
We have not yet produced our programs in other languages, but we would like to. We anticipate that this will happen as it has for The Jesus Film with organizations and churches sponsoring the development of the programs for the cultures and languages that they serve.
If you are interested in discussing language development, please contact us.
What countries do you serve?
Thus far, we have conducted workshops in-person and online serving people in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and the United States. We will train anyone anywhere. Please contact us and let’s talk about how we can serve you, your organization or your church to equip you with the essentials of trauma-informed care.
Do you plan on producing more audio dramas?
Yes! We have mapped out a library of audio dramas to anchor a complete series of training modules to equip people with the essentials of trauma-informed care. This library will include the following modules:
Each module will be comprised of five 25-minute episodes and include all seven core essentials of trauma-informed care applied to the context of the topic.
Distribution pathways are being established through church and organizational networks in which RiverCross Trainers will be multiplied, an online RiverCross Membership Portal will be established, and an annual RiverCross Summit will be held for the in-person gathering and training of RiverCross Trainers.
This vision offers an investment opportunity for individuals, foundations, and groups. The cost of producing one episode is $20,000. So, each module requires $100,000 to complete. With $1 million, the entire library can be produced in three years.
To discuss, please contact Cindy Finley.