Building Together: Creating a Trauma-Informed Community

Our 2012 conference theme is a vision for our future, and our conference keynotes and workshops are designed to help us turn that vision into a reality. Everyone who comes in contact with individuals affected by domestic violence needs to have increased awareness of the ways trauma manifests itself in those seeking services as well as the ways that institutionalized responses and policies may unintentionally re-traumatize those who are vulnerable.

A "trauma-informed" community is one in which all programs, agencies and institutions have incorporated knowledge about trauma into their daily operations, and increase that knowledge through vital collaborations with each other. This protects those who access services or participate in social service, justice or healthcare systems.

Our all-day conference will include keynotes from Dr. Jane Halladay Goldman of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and Dr. Patricia Van Horn of University of California-San Francisco. The conference will benefit mental health professionals, judges and court staff, domestic violence advocates, attorneys, law enforcement, health care practitioners, social workers and anyone with an interest in developing the next generation of service delivery to individuals and families impacted by abuse.

Conference Schedule & Workshop Descriptions - October 19, 2012

8:00     Breakfast, Registration and Networking

8:30     Welcome

9:00     Morning Keynote: Building a Trauma-Informed Community

10:00   Break

10:20 - 11:50   Morning Workshops

A1.  What now? The Reauthorization of VAWA: VAWA came to life in 1994 when then Sen. Joe Biden introduced the bill. It passed Congress by a wide margin as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The landmark law contained a comprehensive legislative package to address widespread problems of domestic violence. VAWA raised awareness about domestic violence and started a national conversation about an issue that was previously viewed as a private family matter to be resolved behind closed doors rather than in public courts. By 2000 the positive effects from VAWA had become clear and the first reauthorization flew through the House and Senate; this overwhelming vote was repeated in 2005. The most recent VAWA reauthorization bill, S. 1925, introduced by Sens. Patrick Leahy and Mike Crapo in November 2011, expands the number of U-visas available while also adding crucial protections for Native American women and gay and transgendered individuals. When the third reauthorization of VAWA was introduced, it faced it first real opposition. It appears final approval of the legislation has stalled in Congress. What's next for the reauthorization of VAWA? The panel will discuss the implication of H.R. 4970 passage and offer ways local advocates and organization can take action.

A2.  Trauma-Informed Health Care: Past and present abuse can have a significiant and sometime life-long effect on health and well-being. Affected individuals may therefore have many interactions with the health care system. The educational goals of this session are to: (1) Explore the identification of, interaction with, and support for patients with a past or current history of abuse in encounters with pediatrics, adult medical/surgical care, and medical social work; (2) Discuss current and upcoming best practices for working with this patient population.; (3) Help advocates understand how they can best prepare their clients to be proacive in health care setting.

A3. Establishing Collaborative Service Networks: A Trauma-Informed Approach: One goal of a trauma-informed system is to reduce logistical barriers to care and return a sense of control & autonomy to the survivor. Central to the principles of trauma-informed care is maximizing collaboration. After an experience of domestic violence, victims often seek 22-30 services in their help-seeking efforts, placing an extraordinary burden on the survivor and family during a most critical and challenging time. This workshop will provide information about "One-Stop Shops" and "No Wrong Door" models and explore key strategies to improve collaboration as a trauma-informed alternative to our current service delivery system. The workshop will also present findings from currently Community Readiness Assessments and implications for strategies that could be employed to improve our response to domestic violence.

A4.  Creating Trauma-Informed Systems: A Strategy Session: Presenter will work with attendees to apply trauma-informed resources, information, and strategies to their organization. This sessionw will be interactive and geared towards the types of organization/agencies that the attendees represent. Tools such as the child welfare training toolkit, resource parent curriculum, Cops and Kids, bench cards for judges, will be highlighted, and implementation and use strategies will be explored.0   Lunch & Awards

1:00     Afternoon Keynote: Parenting After Domestic Violence: Trauma-Informed P1.  Ensuring Safe Access to Children in Domestic Violence Matters: This interdisciplinary panel will explore the challenges inherent in court-ordered supervised access to children and discuss how being more trauma-informed assists in the creation of better orders. The panel will explore when supervised access should be recommended or ordered and, perhaps more criticially, what criteria indicate it is safe to suspend professional supervision. In what ways do reports from professional supervision predict the true quality of an abuser's parenting when the parent is unsupervised? What criterial are meaningful in this important judical decision? What types of cases need supervised visitation versus supervised exchanges? What are safe standards for supervision and what are supervised visitation providers seeing in the community? How do supervisors guard against alignment with one parent or the other? Some supervised visitation providers may draw incorrect conclusions about why a custodial parent is fearful, reluctant to bring the children or late to exchanges; this may lead to re-victimization, alignmen with abuser and decreased safety for children. How can our visitation providers become more trauma-informed? These questions and more will be tackled in this informative panel. Moderated by a Family Law attorney, the panel will include a Family Court judge, two mental health professionals with forensic experience and two professional providers of supervised visitation.

P2. Getting Domestic Violence Reporting Right - The Expert's Guide for Media: When Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi described domestic violence as "a private family matter," decades worth of work by advocates to disavow this very notion was rebuffed. In the wake of a string of high profile cases, it has become clear that many simply don't have words to describe these complex events - even the smartest and most savvy members of the media. Domestic violence is an incredibly nuanced subject and having the right lexicon and readily available experts and resources is critical to accurate reporting. This forum will connect media with leading domestic violence experts and provide resources materials so that reporting can be as accurate and as sensitive as possible. Beyond gaining access to experts 24/7 for breaking news and future stories, media attendees will come away with leads on under-reported stories and often shocking domestic statistics, such as teen dating violence, elder abuse, domestic violence in the military, and LGBTQ domestic violence. Non-media attendees will come away with an understanding of the pressures, deadlines, and ethical restrictions that members of the media face when reporting on this complicated and emotional topic.

P3.  LGBTQ Domestic Violence...Does Sexual Orientation Really Matter?: This workshop will present current information on the unique issues and challenges of LGBTQ domestic violence victims/survivors, perpetrators and families from a client centered and trauma-informed approach. Using discussion, video and presentation we will provide the latest information on LGBTQ domestic violence issues including how new legislation and VAWA reauthorization effects LGBTQ victims. We will discuss how Santa Clara County legal and judical systems are helping LGBTQ domestic violence victims/survivors, perpetrators and families. We will introduce you to the new LGBTQ sub-committee of the Santa Clara County Domestic Violence Council and provide ways you and your agency can collaborate with other service providers who are working with the LGBTQ communities.

P4.  Cultural Issues in the Experience of Trauma: Trauma-informed services are inherently culturally-informed. They include an understanding of how cultural context influences one's perception of and response to traumatic events and the recovery process, they respect diversity within the program, provide opportunities for consumers to engage in cultural rituals, and use interventions respectful of and specific to cultural backgrounds. The workshop will focus on mechanisms of working with trauma survivors and provide examples of working with the South Asian and larger Asian community. In addition, a presentation on the important of language access for immigrant survivors and information on the Language Access Campaign will be provided


MCLE:  The Pro Bono Project has been approved as a continuing legal education provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California.  This program will qualify for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of 5 hours GENERAL. 

BBS:  This program will qualify for Minimum Continuing Education credit in the amount of 5.0 hours GENERAL for LCSWs, ASWs, MFTs and IMFs. 

Ph.D, Psy.D:  This program will qualify for Minimum Continuing Education credit in the amount of 5.0 hours.  There is a $10.00 fee for Ph.D / Psy.D credits, payable at the conference.

ADA accommodation:  Please contact Nancy Marshall ( if you require accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  The last day to cancel your reservation and receive a refund is October 10, 2012.  Please contact Nancy Marshall ( if you need to cancel your reservation.

The Eritrean Community Center is delighted to invite you to Silicon Valley Africa Diaspora Summit. We believe this summit provides an opportunity for our community to learn about the new AU African Diaspora declaration, what the declaration means to us, and how we may get engaged. 

 There is also an added value of attending the summit.  You will have a chance to see films made by Africans through African lens, where stories are told by Africans.   

We look forward to seeing you

Principal at Montclair's Montera Middle leaving for SoCal

By Mimi Rohr

Posted:   07/05/2012 11:10:15 AM PDT

Updated:   07/05/2012 11:10:16 AM PDT

After five years, Russom Mesfun is leaving Montera Middle School to lead a high school outside the Bay Area.

Mesfun, resigned June 25 as principal at Montera, which the state named a Distinguished School in 2011. He will become a high school principal in Southern California.

Mesfun, a native of Eritrea and a longtime U.S. resident, said his goal in taking the job in 2007 was to create "a culture of high expectations where all students can excel." Parents in the hills and elsewhere "expect this or they wouldn't be putting their kids on buses to cross the city to go to school at Montera."

Over the past five years, teachers met to collaborate and share strategies, he explains. Systems were designed to identify students who were not thriving, and those needing help were identified sooner and better served. The process "created a sense of purpose and soon paid off," Mesfun said.

"Mr. Mesfun marked the turning point for Montera," said John Russo, of Piedmont Pines, a parent of an eighth-grader. "The school had real issues around safety and control, and Mesfun put together a team that got a handle on it. The school became a California Distinguished School under his tutelage. We can only look at his tenure as a success."

Before coming to Montera, Mesfun was a principal in Morgan Hill. From 2003 to 2005, he was an assistant principal at Skyline High School. He also taught history at Fremont High School in Oakland from 1998 to 2002.

"Montera had always been a good school but had gained attention around issues of safety and student achievement from parents, student and teachers" in 2007, when he arrived, said Mesfun. "Parents wanted their children to learn in a safe environment. Teachers wanted to do their jobs in peace, without disruption in the classroom. Students were aching for safety and structure in a loving, caring and welcoming way that wasn't punitive," he explained.

Shortly after his arrival, groups of kids who milled around the hallways and disrupted classes disappeared. "Walk -- this is not a shopping mall," is one of Mesfun's favorite phrases. He also hands out belts to students whose pants are sagging.

The school administrator believes the secret of his success has been to not stay at his desk. "It's important to be visible and to spend time with the kids, one student at a time," he explained. "Whatever they are doing, I do it with them."

Like Russo, other parents appreciated this approach and his leadership. "Mr. Mesfun introduced a much-welcomed culture of civility and love of learning to Montera students," said Montclair resident and parent Tina Fernandez. "I still remember him jump-roping with kids at morning drop-off when he became principal five years ago."

"While I'm playing with students, I am watching their posture, listening to their language and watching their relationships," explained Mesfun, who says he tried to learn the names of Montera's more than 900 students each school year.

"I am not just a principal. I am the father of this village," he said. "I deal with the basics -- food issues, problems at home and the breakup of friendships. This is not a nine-to-five job."

Many children who attend the school face problems at home. "They inspire me," reflects Mesfun. "I am amazed at their resilience and their ability to mask a crisis at home."

"He has always been really nice. I will miss him," said Jana Mounla, an eighth-grader from the Millsmont district. "He taught me a lot. He taught me how to be a leader and stand up for myself."

Off campus, Mesfun strove to keep a watchful eye on students in Montclair Village, a popular destination on Wednesday afternoons after early dismissal. He provided Village merchants with his cellphone number, for instance.

"Montclair is the quintessential example of the concept that it takes a village. It takes Montclair Village to run Montera," Mesfun said.

"The partnership with parents has been indispensable," the principal added. "I've never seen a parent community provide the tools that a school needs (like this one)," he said. Parents helped with funding for a music program, technology for classrooms and security cameras.

Community members say that, given the impact Mesfun's made, they will miss him. "He's leaving on a high note," said Fernandez. "Montera was designated a California Distinguished School just last spring, but for many of us, the high turnover of administrators is quite discouraging. Still, I wish him the best."

The departure is bittersweet for Mesfun, as well. "The most difficult part about making the decision to leave is that for the first time in five years I will not have the smiles, joy and company of these kids," the administrator shared. "I will not get to talk to them about their summer or ask them about their new hair color or their braces. This will be very difficult."

Habitat for humanity is hosting orientation workshops for anyone interested in Habitat home ownership in Santa Clara County. The workshop will be held on Saturday, February 16, 2013 between 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. at 1400 Parkmoor Ave. San Jose, CA 95126. 

The next workshop is on March 16, 2013 at 600 Valley way Milpitas, CA 95035. It will be held between 10:00 am - 12:00 pm. For more information call 510-251-6304 Ext. 387 or 371. You can also visit


Honoring our fallen Heroes
Let us remember our fallen heroes who fought and died for our freedom. I made this video to show the world what their courage and sacrifice meant to me. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and loved ones. Enjoy it!!! pele

Picture tells a thousand words
Congratulation to our community volunteers who committed and devoted to help these young students to reach their goal. These are some of our students who are attending in Job Corps San Jose where they learn English language and receive the skills they need to have a better career. Action speaks louder than words

To: All Eritreans and Friends, every body is cordially invited to attend the seminar. The Eritrean Community Center is organizing African Global Diaspora Summit Debrief: A Conversation with Almaz Negash, on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 6:30 pm.  Almaz will engage our community in a dialogue on the AU Commission proposals and on the role of Africans in the the.Diaspora.

Almaz Negash Leads the Step Up Silicon Valley; campaign to cut poverty in Santa Clara Count and is the founder of African Diaspora Network. The details are as under: 

 Speaker:  Almaz Negash

Date:      Friday, June 29th.  @ 6:30 PM

Place:      Eritrean Community Santa Clara County

                1998 Homestead Rd. Santa Clara, CA. 95050

Please try to come on time and make use of this opportunity.



The (ISC)2® Foundation Opens First 2012 Scholarship Application Period  
Over US$140,000 in Grant Opportunities Available to students and faculty; Candidates must apply by June 29th; Second application period in September.

Palm Harbor, Fla., U.S.A., May 30, 2012 — The (ISC)2® Foundation, a charitable trust that aims to make the cyber world safer for everyone, today announced the first 2012 scholarship application period. The deadline for students and faculty to submit an application is midnight EDT on Friday, June 29th. The (ISC)² Foundation recently broadened the reach of its scholarship offerings by introducing the Harold “Hal” F. Tipton Memorial Scholarship to inspire future information security professionals and to expand the cyber security workforce globally.  

The (ISC)² 2011 Global Information Security Workforce Study found that demand for information security professionals is expected to increase to nearly 4.2 million by 2015, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2 percent, creating career opportunities for those with the right skills. The (ISC)² Foundation scholarships are aimed at encouraging entry into the workforce to help fulfill this need. The Harold F. Tipton Scholarship will further the (ISC)² Foundation’s goal of developing scholarships and grants that unify the cyber security workforce at each level of academia.

“The late Hal Tipton was considered the grandfather of cyber security by many, thanks to his tremendous contributions to the industry, such as the CISSP CBK®,” said Julie Peeler, foundation director for (ISC)². “As cyber security threats evolve and have broad implications worldwide, it is critical that we offer scholarship opportunities to students interested in this field. It is our hope that our scholarship programs will help build a new workforce capable of preventing, detecting, and responding to attacks on information systems.”

The 2012 scholarship categories include:

Women’s Scholarships:  To inspire women to join the ever-growing field of information security, each year, the (ISC)² Foundation grants up to two scholarships totaling up to US$40,000.
Undergraduate Scholarships: Aspiring information security professionals have the opportunity to ease some of their educational financial burden with the (ISC)2 Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship, offering undergraduate students studying information securitygrants of up to US$5,000 per recipient.
Graduate Research Project(s): Graduate students often need funding to conduct special research projects. Seed funding of up to eight grants will be given for up to US$3,000 per recipient.
(NEW) Harold F. Tipton Memorial Scholarship: The (ISC)² Foundation Harold F. Tipton Memorial Scholarship was established to provide passionate, aspiring young information security professionals the means to follow the pathway to industry excellence, as constructed by the late Mr. Tipton.  
Faculty Certification Exam Vouchers: To encourage more academic participation in the profession and the certification process, (ISC)² will provide vouchers valid for one CISSP® or CSSLP® exam and, upon certification, the first year of membership dues.

The (ISC)² Foundation evaluates applicants based on academic excellence, passion for the industry, and financial need. The Foundation is actively looking for the best and brightest students studying information security to assist them in developing their professional careers.  The first 2012 application period deadline is June 29th. The second 2012 scholarship application period will open in September, closing October 8th.

To apply, please visit:

For additional scholarship information, please visit:

About the (ISC)2® Foundation

The (ISC)2 Foundation is a non-profit charitable trust that aims to make the cyber world safer for everyone by supporting cyber security education and awareness in the community through its programs and the efforts of its members. Through the (ISC)2 Foundation, (ISC)2’s global information security expert membership of over 85,000 seek to ensure children everywhere have a positive, productive and safe experience online, to spur the development of the next generation of cyber security professional, and to illuminate major issues facing the industry now and in the future. For more information, please visit 

Martyrs Day In Santa Clara County Eritrean Community Center

To all Eritreans and Friends of Eritrea:

ECC will commemorate Eritrean martyrs Memorial Day (20 June) this Wednesday 20 June at ECC located at 1998 Homestead Rd #115, Santa Clara, Ca 95050. Candle lighting followed by moment of silence will be held exactly at 7pm.

We look forward to see you. Come and join us in memory of all who had given their valuable life and yet little they ask from us to keep the freedom march and light shining.

Eternal Glory to Our Martyrs

Independence Day

The Eritreans Community of Santa Clara County Celebrated the 21st Anniversary of Eritrean Independence Day on Friday, June 1, 2012. The celebration took place in the community center with great happiness and enthusiasm.  

Ghezae, chairman of the Community, welcomed the members of the participants. He briefly stated what independence and freedom meant to all Eritreans. This independence, which caused many young people to sacrifice their lives for the sake of freedom, should be respected.

Georgo and Eskias read a beautiful poem in Tigrigna about the struggles and memories during the Independence. Many participants who were in Eritrea during the Independence and those in Diasporas where telling stories of their experience.

During the celebration, Pizza and drinks were served and every body enjoyed.

Based on the feedback received from some of the participants of the Independence Day Celebration, this year’s 21st celebration for Eritrea was something to remember.

 It is hoped that next year’s will be better than this year!

Dear all,
This is to wish you a wonderful Easter for you and your beloved ones. Besides, I would also like to remind you that the Eritrean Community center of Santa Clara is having a community event on the 27th of April, with the intention of introducing our community to other nonprofit organizations and associations as well as individuals who want to learn and know more about our community, culture, history and geography of our country,Eritrea. In return,  this will help our community  to create a functional link with the existing communities around  and learn from their experience.
Please, Kindly forward the attached Flayer to your contacts. lets all make this event a success!
Thank you,
Ghezae Z Kidane


“Home improvement part 2” :Seminar Overview

Mr Hagos Teckle is a licensed contractor for more than 25 years. He gave a very interesting seminar on “Home improvement part 2” on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at Eritrea Community Center.

The topic of the seminar was how to: fix a bath sink stopper, install a Garbage Disposal, replace and install a kitchen sink, fix running toilets and dripping faucets as well as replacing a bathroom faucet and installing a dishwasher.

Mr Hagos Teckle is one of the founders of Eritrean Community of Santa Clara. He is always helpful to the community and we thank him for this wonderful presentation that educates our community members about repairing their homes easily instead paying money to the plumbers. Most
of the participants were asking questions and were getting the right answers. At the end of the seminar, everyone was chatting and promised to do the job rather than paying money to the plumbers. Mr Hagos has expressed his willingness to do similar presentations about electricity and other related subjects in the future.


The Basics of Diabetes”: Seminar Overview

I just wanted to give you a summary of the seminar on “The Basics of Diabetes
Part II. This seminar took place on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the Eritrean Community Center by Dr. Yohannes GhebreMariam.   In this segment of the seminar, Dr Yohannes focused on various aspects of the disease including diabetes and children, diabetes care,diabetes management, and the promise of diabetes research.

He noted that diabetes is increasingly becoming a common disease affecting the global community in general and certain races in particular. For example, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), African-Americans are at a greater risk for developing diabetes than the other races. 

Dr. Yohannes emphasized that as the disease progresses, people with diabetes are likely to suffer from one or more of the following complications: Heart Disease, Stroke, Kidney Disease, Blindness, and Amputation (Loss of Limb). 

It is, therefore, very important to first understand your diabetes status by taking simple blood sugar tests.  It is also essential to understand some of the basic facts about the disease including how it develops; ways to prevent it; the differences between being pre-diabetic and diabetic as well as the associated complications if blood sugar remains uncontrolled. Furthermore, it is important to understand how to effectively live with the disease by developing effective therapeutic, dietary and exercise plans.

Medication: Work with your doctor to continuously evaluate how the drug that you are on is working for you & whether you need a change in the dose or type of medication.

Diet: Choosing a balanced diet helps to effectively control blood sugar levels and to provide all the necessary nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. People with diabetes must pay special attention to the amount of carbohydrates, protein and fats in their diet.

 Exercise: Daily physical activity is very helpful to control weight and blood sugar levels. Exercise reduces your risks for other chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol buildup in your blood vessels and ensures your overall health.

 In conclusion, we would like to seize this opportunity to thank Dr. Yohannes for this wonderful presentation that informed our community members about managing diabetes. In addition, he has expressed his willingness to do similar presentations in the future.

The seminar was scheduled to last one hour; however, due to the interactive presentation and questions that followed from the audience, it lasted a little longer.

Thank you.

Regards, Abraham

To: All Eritreans and Friends,

The Eritrean Community Center will be organizing a seminar on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 5pm. Topics will be " The Basics of Diabetes” Part II. This second part,

Dr. Yohannes GhebreMariam, will focus on, diabetes and children; diabetes care; diabetes management and the promise of diabetes research. I encourage you all to attend for more information please refers to the attached flyer.

Thanks, Abraham



Our community would like to thank T.A Hunter for his excellent presentation on Real state. This is a great insight for the people who are interested in buying house in Santa Clara County.


According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA)1, diabetes (high blood sugar) is one of the fastest growing diseases currently affecting 8.3% of the entire American population. Today, an estimate of 25.8 million Americans live with diabetes. The prevalence is the highest (12.6%) in non-Hispanic blacks. By the year 2050, it is predicted that 1 in 3 Americans will have DIABETES.
In 2007 alone, diabetes was responsible or a contributor of about 231,000 deaths in the United States alone.

As the disease progresses, people with diabetes could suffer from one or more of the complications of the disease including: Heart Disease, Stroke, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Kidney Disease, Blindness and Amputation (Loss of Limb).

It is, therefore, very important to understand some basic facts about the disease including your risks of being pre-diabetic or diabetic; Prevention; how to effectively live with the disease; Complications; Treatment options and Care.