It has been a privilege to be able to work with Decca and Brandy. This team of knowledgeable, skilled, and empathetic professionals provided a 4-hour, two-part Trauma Responsive Parenting series for our organization's foster and adoptive parents, and professionals. This training was comprehensive, beginning with an introduction to trauma and brain basics, and progressing to include concrete parenting strategies that are effective with youth who have experienced developmental trauma. Participants walked away with a renewed sense of determination and competency, ready to meet the diverse needs of the youth in their care. In addition to the work she has done for us as a trainer, Decca is also an active member of our Post-Adoption Regional Consortium, where she brings her energy and expertise to our mission of building adoption competent communities. It is clear that both Decca and Brandy are passionate and dedicated to their work as educators, advocates, and counselors, as they strive to make the world a little bit safer for those who have experienced trauma.
Melissa Blau, LCSW
Regional Coordinator, Post-Adoption Services
DePaul Community Resources
Our Collaborative of Community-based After School Programs and supporting partners joined together for a virtual training hoping to receive clearly presented information and strategies for what trauma looks like in our environments and what we can do about it? Decca delivered that and then some. We increased our understanding of what behaviors are telling us and how our centers can make changes to increase positive behaviors and interactions. The objectives were clear. The timeline was appropriate and adhered to and the information was impactful. It was a long training for “zoom” but Decca made it enjoyable and the time passed quickly. We are hoping to bring her back for a round two. Our teams and our students will benefit from the knowledge and experiences shared. We can’t wait for round 2!!!
Director of Mental Health Services
Family Services of the Roanoke Valley
We were very privileged to have Decca and Brandy complete our Trauma Informed Care Training. We were hoping the training would impact our staff directly in their work lives and it has. Over 95% of our staff that took the training felt the objectives were clearly defined and the material was relevant to them in their day to day work lives here at the Rescue Mission. Staff commented that they enjoyed the laid back but professional nature of the trainers. They were “very open to our questions and comments. They did not try to talk over our heads with their terms.” Another staff member commented, “I really liked the compassion piece. That I need to just assume that everyone reacts from a place of trauma. It really changed my perspective.” Other staff members commented on the length of the training. The length was appropriate in nature and there was a great appreciation for it being split between two days which allowed for the material to be digested. The training energized our staff and a month later they are still talking about the things they learned and how our facility can change policies to become more trauma-informed for the betterment of our guests. This training has impacted our staff and organization in a positive way and I can’t wait to see what the future holds as we continue to put what we have learned to practice. Any organization that has this opportunity should take advantage of it.
Helen Ferguson, MPH
Chief Programs Officer
Roanoke Rescue Mission Ministries
As a school administrator, I am passionate about the social and emotional well-being of not only my students but our school community as a whole. Decca and Brandy have a profound ability to engage an audience of educators to create a monumental paradigm shift in thinking. So often, we educators get consumed in the nuts and bolts of teaching academia. During the professional development provided to my staff, it was refreshing to watch as lightbulbs began to light up and interests sparked with research and data that explain how trauma impacts students and families within our school building. My staff had an overwhelming response to the trauma informed information shared by Decca and Brandy and already my school culture has had a positive shift toward understanding our student’s stories. My teachers have become more equipped to service all students through the inspiring presentation that Decca and Brandy provide. Roanoke City Public Schools will continue the trauma informed professional developments with Decca and Brandy. This continued engagement in appropriately servicing our students is a priority for our school division. I extend my gratitude toward Decca and Brandy for the incredible impact they had on my teachers which positively impacts our student’s success.
Morgan Strother, Principal
Monterey Elementary School
Roanoke City Public Schools
I think this training has not only opened my eyes with new information, but it has allowed me to reflect on how I work and approach these trauma kids. I am now re-energized and my heart is even more full for these kids.
Such great visual aids that are relevant, engaging, and not outdated! This the best, most applicable training I have ever had as a TDT (Therapeutic Day Treatment Counselor)! The techniques are so applicable. The knowledge and experiences they shared and they filled up my toolbox to help the kids I work with and made me feel less harsh about myself when I feel insignificant/losing my cool/or feel like I’ve fallen short therapeutically. But it happens, even to the best trained people. I hope to participate in more trainings offered by these two presenters. Everyone should have this training…especially teachers and school staff. We are now training police officers in mental health, why not our teachers so they can better understand and work with our kids?
This workshop has given me the knowledge to see my adoptive son, who has been diagnosed with RAD in a new way. Thank you!! I wish I knew this information years ago.
I thoroughly enjoyed the training. Working in foster care, I attended many trauma trainings but I really enjoyed how you all articulated the information and all the resources provided.
For almost five years, The City of Roanoke Department of Human and Social Services has retained Decca Knight for ongoing training for our foster care Resource Families. When she announced her consulting partnership with Brandy Smith, another well-regarded trainer in the area, we were excited at the prospect of bringing their quality educational programs to our parents.
We have used these trainers individually and as a team for a variety of courses, including “Love and Logic,” “Early Childhood Trauma,” and “Mindfulness and Emotional Regulation.” Our parents relate well to their personalities and teaching styles, and we find their course materials to be highly relevant to the issues we face in child welfare today.
Connected Child Consulting has been a reliable resource for us when it comes to bringing appropriate and qualified training to our parents. We hope they continue to provide these services to our area for years to come.
Stephen Warren, MSW
Resource Family Program Coordinator
"Adverse Childhood Experiences: Helping Parents Emotionally Attune with their Child", presented by Brandy Smith and Decca Knight, was the best presentation I attended all day.
2015 Convention Attendee
Virginia Counselors Association Annual Convention