The ACE in Gun Violence: Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences

Monday, December 9
4:00 – 5:45 pm
Colonial Church in Prairie Village
(lower level, east side at back)
7039 Mission Road

As we confront the seemingly daily acts of gun violence here and around the country, we struggle to understand their root causes. Poverty, joblessness, depression and hopelessness all play a significant part, in addition to the easy access to guns.

Another contributing factor to violent behavior is the effect adverse childhood experiences (ACE) can have on the healthy development of a child. Environments with abuse and/or neglect, parental mental illness, substance use, divorce, incarceration and domestic violence can traumatize children and severely compromise their future ability to cope in the world.

We heard first-hand testimony of that dynamic from Ples Felix, one of the keynote speakers at the Heartland Coalition’s Community Forum in October. Ples pointed to his grandson Tony’s early years in a household led by a single, overwhelmed teenaged mother struggling with an extended family of drug users and gang members. At age 14, Tony shot and killed a 20-year-old college student in a gang initiation and then spent the next 25 years in prison.

The good news? ACE is commanding increased attention from researchers trying to better understand its role in contributing to violent behavior. That’s why we welcome to our December meeting Barbara Unell, a local author of several books on parenting and an authority on ACE. In a new one-on-one format with GAGV president Judy Sherry posing questions, Barbara will share information about a particularly groundbreaking ACE study which included some surprising insights. Though the initial childhood trauma can’t be undone, recent ACE studies can expand our perspective and offer ways to mitigate its far-reaching potential for harm.

Join us December 9 for this insightful program!

Advocacy Corner

In addition to the commitment to have an advocacy project at every meeting, the committee has been working on two projects to make the public aware of the dangers of firearms, particularly in the areas of domestic violence and suicide. One project is directed at gun stores and firing ranges, urging them to post warning signage like that used on cigarette packaging. A review of these articles illustrate why such action is so important:

The goal of the second project is to educate the public about the startling statistic that 60% of gun deaths are by suicide, and promote the importance of safe gun storage. We have produced yard signs with that message and will distribute them at our December 9 meeting – take a look. Each sign costs $10. GAGV has underwritten the cost for the initial order, so the first sign is free of charge. We hope our GAGV members and friends will assist us in getting these distributed all over the metro area. If you do want more than one sign, we would appreciate a donation of $5 to $10 so we can keep purchasing and distributing more of them.

We have been meeting with the Kansas City Missouri Health Department on both projects and they are eager to assist with them.

Charity of the Quarter

Trudy Nepstad, a founding member of GAGV, and Lona Harris, GAGV board member, alerted us to this need from the Once We Were Refugees program. It is designed to help refugee arrivals identify their interests and then teach them skills to help them become self-supporting. Since much of their emphasis is on sewing, here’s a list of the items needed. They can also always use cleaning supplies, paper products and diapers.

Please bring whatever you can to the December 9 GAGV meeting.

Mark Your Calendars

Tuesday, December 3 – Giving Tuesday (see article below)

Monday December 9 – GAGV Monthly Meeting
Don’t miss this monthly meeting: yard signs, GAGV spirit wear and Charity of the Quarter!

Saturday, December 14 Sandy Hook Vigil, 5:30 pm 
To commemorate the tragic loss of lives on December 14, 2012, we will solemnly demonstrate at the four corners of 43rd & State Line Road. Email us if you want to carpool, or just show up on your own. Signs are welcome.

December 22 and 25

Monday, January 27 GAGV Monthly Meeting
A review of 2019 and a preview of 2020.

We have named 2020 the Year of Collaboration and will have representatives from various groups we plan to work with to achieve our common goal of preventing gun violence.


    You can make a BIG difference for GAGV by making an online donation at our Facebook page. 100% of donations made to GAGV through Facebook go to us and the first $7 million are matched by Facebook starting at 7 am that morning!

    So mark your calendars and set your clock for 6:59 to be ready to go to our Facebook page and make your donation. If you don’t use Facebook, go to and click on the donate button.

    Last year’s Giving Tuesday generated $400 million for community groups and charities around the globe. Read more about how generosity goes viral December 3.

    A BIG thanks in advance to each of you who contributes!

    GAGV Spirit Wear is the Ideal Gift                      


    If you’re stuck for a holiday gift idea or just want to treat yourself, then step right up to the GAGV spirit wear table at the December 9 meeting.

    New items with the GAGV logo now available include one-size-fits-all ball caps for $10, plus zippered hoodies for men and women at $25 each. GAGV polo shirts are also available at $15 each. Shirts and hoodies come in adult sizes of small, medium, large, extra-large and 2XL.

    Grandparents Against Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Kansas City, Missouri, that focuses on issues related to gun violence in Kansas and Missouri. We are working with community partners on strategies such as distributing gun locks to help gun owners protect the children in their homes from tragedy.

    P.O. Box 11193, Overland Park, KS 66207  |  [email protected]

    Donate to Grandparents Against Gun Violence

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