Rene began speaking in high schools across Missouri in 2008. That quickly spread to schools across the midwest. She spoke to students on the important topics of child abuse/neglect, and parental coping skills. She informed students and teachers about how the child welfare system and family courts look at family issues. Her goal was to impress upon our youth the need for change by sharing both the pros and cons of how the current system works. We must have an understanding of the current to make successful changes for our future. Planting a seed of desire knowing our youth of today will be the leaders tomorrow. During the past nine years Rene Howitt has spoken to over 23,000 students from middle schools, high schools to universities. She has traveled to over 240 schools throughout the nation. This effort was all about our youth. Inspiring and motivating them towards a passion to want to create healthier families.
The result of meeting so many students and teachers from across the country is what lead to Rene founding COPE24. Unintended consequences is something child welfare and lawmakers often speak about. As they seek to make systemic changes they always try to anticipate the unintended. The stories that students and teachers began sharing was an unintended consequence she hadn’t anticipated when she began speaking. This time the consequence was good as those stories motivated her to found COPE24, begin creating reality-based documentary videos and continue to educate herself on family dysfunction. Why does this cycle of dysfunction exist? How many families does this actually touch? Why do we continue to make the same decisions expecting a different result? How is this one issue affecting our communities and nation?
In her need to understand she began reading about the ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Her focus is now shifting back to the adults. All educators, church leaders and the public need a complete understanding of how our childhood experiences will shape our future. If our childhood was marred, bruised or even ruined we must understand we had no control of that. We do have control and freedom to change our future but first we must understand the past. Now Rene is speaking at schools, conferences and churches on the subject of ACEs. Please take a look at our “Professional Development/Workshop” pages for more information about this topic, the need and scheduling her to share her presentation with your staff and members.
Students/Family Consumer Science Teachers
We haven’t forgotten about you. Rene will always want to be connected to students. Their voice should be heard. Their voice is a thermometer to measure how our families are doing. It became obvious that Rene couldn’t possibly get to every school across the country. Thus, we began producing videos that will inspire students to think about the elements in their family that can contribute to abuse and neglect. Are some of these elements already entering their own life because of their current choices? Our “ELEMENTS” series of videos will tackle issues like immaturity, drugs and alcohol, mental health, domestic violence, absent fathers, ACEs and more. Some of those videos have been produced and trailers can be viewed at this website. Others are in the works. Still, teachers like to hear the words of guest speakers. So we have produced a free downloadable video “The Game.” Teachers, please share this with your students and send us your thoughts and feedback. This game is something Rene has done for years after speaking of the challenges of dealing with that infant that won’t stop crying. This video allows us the ability to still be in your classrooms, while Rene takes time to reach all educators on the trauma of ACEs.