Five questions with the Memphis pastor on a mission to raise awareness around childhood trauma

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Caroline Bauman

Longtime pastor and community activist Charlie Caswell knows there isn’t a silver bullet for improving the lives of students in poverty in Shelby County, but he firmly believes he’s come as close as possible to finding one. For Caswell, a high school dropout from the Frayser neighborhood in northwest Memphis, learning about childhood trauma changed his life. Studying adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, gave Caswell the language he needed to process his own childhood wounds. And it empowered him to become an ACEs evangelist, preaching to anyone who will listen — but especially to educators, school district leaders, and even governors — that awareness of childhood trauma can improve the lives of the most vulnerable students.

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