Cape May Court House, N.J. — Recently Tom Piratzky, Executive Director of the Cape Regional Foundation and Vicki Clark, President of the Cape May County Chamber graduated from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Healthy Communities Fellowship program, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Chamber Professionals and Community Partners selected for ACCE’s year-long Healthy Communities program participated in a design-thinking lab to help them develop and implement a plan to tackle a specific community health challenge. The Cape May County Chamber was one of ten in the country selected to be part of this elite program.
The Cape May County Chamber is a member of the Cape Regional Wellness Alliance, working to eliminate Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Cape May County. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events occurring before age 18, and include all types of abuse and neglect as well as parental mental illness, substance use, divorce, incarceration, and domestic violence. A landmark study in the 1990s found a significant relationship between the number of Adverse Childhood Experiences that occur in a child’s life and a variety of negative outcomes in adulthood, including poor physical and mental health, substance abuse, and risky behavior.
“These early childhood events leave lasting marks on the individuals and contribute to many of the workforce challenges that our businesses face today. Our youth of today are tomorrow’s employees in our businesses. This is a community crisis that the Chamber and our business leaders must be involved in for finding solutions,” according to Clark.