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Culture-centered Trauma-informed Care

Welcome to the CRESTSprogram Communiversary!

As some of you may already know, CRESTSprogram provides culture-centered, trauma-informed training for adults who work with Black children and other youth of color. Our goal is to educate mental health professionals, educators, parents, and other professionals on the symptoms of race-based stress, historical trauma, and resiliency using culture-centered interventions. To that end, we provide online and in-person training programs. Our videos on demand allow individuals to access information asynchronously, in their own time, and at their own pace. We also provide customized live, in-person training at the request of individual groups and organizations.

What We Do

At the heart of what we do is offer individuals the opportunity to decolonize their previous training that relies far too heavily on Eurocentric theories and approaches while ignoring the unique challenges and strains of black youth and their communities. Many of you may have had the experience of reading through a theories textbook and only seeing theories that reflect a Eurocentric or Western orientation. For instance, to this day, most counseling or psychological theories books cover many Eurocentric theories, from psychoanalytic to cognitive behavioral and even feminist theories. However, I have yet to see African-centered theories, indigenous theories, or Latino-centered theories included in the standard psychological theories textbook. This can also be applied to other subjects in the mental health professions and other disciplines. We can even look at the textbooks and instructional tools used at minority-serving institutions, like HBCUs, tribal colleges, and Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs). Thus, we are all in the same boat. And it's time for us to jump ship.

Our Unique Offerings

CRESTSprogram offers professionals, community people, and parents the opportunity to begin their work with black youth by utilizing Afrocentric frameworks and interventions to help mitigate the effects of race-based stress on black children and other youth of color. Although, in our training, we do frame our work by reminding our participants about the challenges that black youth face, we emphasize a strength-based approach to discuss ways in which black children, black families, and black communities have been resilient in the face of systemic racism and historical trauma.

Dr. West-Olatunji and Dr. West at a live table discussion

The outcomes of our work have been shown, and the significant advances and competencies for those who have completed our training. The results of our surveys indicate that there has been a significant amount of knowledge acquisition, increased awareness of sociopolitical context, and augmented understanding of race-based stress, as well as the tools needed to move Black schoolchildren toward academic excellence and emotional well-being.

Why Focus on Culture?

We are often asked why we focus so heavily on culture to the extent that we place it at the center of all our programmatic efforts. We explain that there are over three decades of empirical research that focuses on racial/cultural identity development and that research consistently suggests that black children with a strong group identity have higher levels of academic achievement, lower levels of behavior problems, demonstrate better decision-making, and indicate higher degrees of self-esteem and overall socio-emotional well-being.


We know that you have other choices when considering trauma-informed care training programs for yourself or your team, but other organizations do not provide in-depth coverage of race-based stress, nor do they focus on culture.

What can you do right now?

  • Begin decolonizing your thinking and practices by enrolling in emancipatory training programs.

  • Acquire culture-centered theories and evidence-based interventions.

  • Read books and articles that expand your understanding of culture.

We know how busy you are. We all are. Isn't it time to take one small step to decolonize your training? Our children are worth it.

Useful Resources:

Concept Papers



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