About Impact NW

Impact NW is a premier provider of educational and social services in the greater Portland metropolitan area. The organization’s mission is to help people achieve and maintain self-sufficiency and to prevent and alleviate the effects of poverty. Integral to our service is the belief that through education and by empowering individuals to become active, contributing members of their communities and expanding their ongoing network of support, people are able to improve their quality of life and achieve independence. Throughout its 50-year history, Impact NW has been a leader in providing individuals of all ages with the skills and resources necessary to achieve success and to advocate for themselves and their communities. Annually, over 30,000 low-income children, youth, families, seniors, and adults with disabilities participate in Impact NW’s comprehensive anti-poverty programs.

How does your organization promote/use brain science with children birth through 5 years of age?

All of Impact NW’s Early Childhood and Family Services programs aim to educate parents and families about children’s’ brain development and how childhood trauma can impact a child’s development. Using a scientific approach to brain development offers advantages and comfort to parents who may have experienced trauma, as it takes away the pressure or blame of events that may have shaped their child’s early development. Our programs focus on talking about how we can help families support their child’s brain development at different ages and stages of childhood, and provide realistic expectations for parents. Impact NW’s Early Childhood programs also aim to help parents understand how their brains and bodies process stress responses, using an objective, scientific approach in order to minimize feelings of blame, especially for parents who are vulnerable or who have experienced trauma or violence.

Can you discuss a specific program/event you do that promotes brain science?

Impact NW’s Healthy Families program provides intensive home visiting to parents of children ages birth to three years old. All services are framed around the science of brain & child development, and enhance family functioning by teaching parents to identify strengths and understand typical milestones in a child’s development, and to utilize problem-solving skills. This program provides information on child development and infant care, free screenings to make sure each baby is healthy, and connections to supportive services in their community. Healthy Families targets the intergenerational cycle of poverty where it begins: with our region’s youngest and most vulnerable members.