Family Place

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox speaks with a Family Place tour group including Belva Hansen, the facility’s namesake, on Wednesday in Logan.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox visited and toured The Family Place.

Esterlee Molyneux, chief relationship officer for The Family Place, said one of the nonprofit’s main goals is assisting children and families who have suffered traumatic events through building resilience. Molyneux said these goals complement the positions Cox has taken on mental health and trauma in the Utah.

“Lt. Gov. Cox comes along and he’s like, ‘Utah needs to become a trauma-informed state,’” Molyneux said, “And we’re like, ‘Oh, we’re already on that bandwagon.’”

One way to achieve the goal of “trauma informed state” is through the classroom.

Vonda Jump-Norman, the trauma resiliency program director, said The Family Place did a survey through the Cache County School District. Jump-Norman said within two weeks they had 162 responses from teachers asking for help — unsure of the best way to deal with their students trauma related issues. She said there were a few who wrote in capital letters: We are not trained to deal with this.

“What Lt. Gov. Cox is trying to do is help increase the training for everybody in the state so that when we’re dealing with kids who’ve experienced traumatic events we can successfully teach them in the classroom,” Jump-Norman said. “There are things that we can do to help them learn.”

In 2018, Cox wrote a blog discussing his own trauma and suicidal ideation in his youth and has gone on to talk about it publicly.

“The beauty of him being transparent is it helps other people find their power within to say, “well, I’m going through the same thing,’” said executive director for The Family Place Sheryl Goodey.

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