Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Coronado Local to Undertake 24-Hour Run to Raise Funds for ACEs Awareness

The run will begin at 8:00 am PST on December 22nd and finish at 8:00 am PST on the 23rd. To make a donation or learn more, please click here.

Kai-leé Berke explains details about the run – and why she is doing it:

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Young children are experiencing trauma at an alarming rate—first, the impact of COVID-19 on their day-to-day lives and the lives of their families, and then, the incredible strain that the current social climate has led to in many of their communities. Pediatricians and educators are anticipating that exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) will have increased exponentially as a result of this pandemic. Exposure to traumatic events can have long term, wide-ranging impacts on children’s physical health (including frequent illness, obesity, asthma and speech problems) and mental health (including learning, memory, mood, relational skills and aspects of executive function). And in the short term, it can leave children in stress-response mode, which makes learning and developing healthy relationships incredibly difficult to do.

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That’s why I’ve been so inspired by the work of The Lourie Center, a private, non-profit agency with a mission to improve the social and emotional health of young children and their families. While based in the Washington, DC area, their research has an incredibly broad reach, defining best practices for educating and caring for young children who’ve experienced trauma. I am so proud to have the opportunity to partner with them to support programs and classrooms across the country in providing trauma-informed, responsive care to children in need of it.

I’ve spent my entire professional career focused on the care and education of young children, so The Lourie Center is a natural partner for me and my company, Noni Educational Solutions. But it is deeply personal, too.

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My mother died on December 23rd when I was nine years old. She was very sick in the years before she passed. My father split his time between work and the hospital. For me, my early childhood teachers were my constant. These women made me feel loved, nurtured, and supported. They hugged me. They told me that I was smart, capable, strong, and could do anything I set my mind to.

My brother didn’t have that support. He went through those years without the warm, nurturing embrace of a consistent, supportive adult relationship. We came out on the other side of my mother’s death, completely different people and would go on to take opposite paths in life. My brother died of a drug overdose a few years ago.

As I worked with young children and learned more about the critical importance of the early childhood years, and the impact of trauma on a child’s development and learning, I knew I was so blessed to have had the experiences with those women that I did, when I did.

A safe and secure relationship with an adult can act as a buffer between a child and the negative impact of trauma. All children deserve those relationships in their lives. I know from my own teaching experience, how challenging it can be to support children’s social, emotional and mental wellness, particularly when they are in stress-response mode and exhibiting behaviors that make teaching difficult. It takes time that we often don’t have, and it can be emotionally and physically exhausting.

That’s why the research and programs provided by The Lourie Center are so critical. Educators need support to be able to build those strong relationships and break the ongoing cycle of dysregulated behavior for trauma-impacted young children, setting the stage for them to lead healthy, happy, productive, and successful lives.

So, on the morning of the 22nd, I’ll begin a 24-hour run to raise money in support of The Lourie Center’s important work and in honor of my mother and brother. To make a donation or learn more, please click here.

Here is some quick information about the event:

  • It will begin at 8:00 am PST on December 22nd and finish at 8:00 am PST on the 23rd.
  • I’ll be running the same 4.3-mile loop around my neighborhood–over and over again :).

  • We will be logging every completed loop in the 24-hour period and I’ll be using two GPS devices to track mileage, as well. I’ll be posting regular updates on Twitter which you can access via or through twitter directly.
  • My kids will be supporting an “aid station” at my house that I will pass by on each loop.
  • My family members will take turns running with me through the night to make sure I don’t go off course or run into a car while I’m sleepy.
  • I am an ultramarathon runner. I completed a 100-mile run a couple of years ago but have never run a timed 24-hour event. I hope to finish north of 75 miles (100 would be amazing!) but we shall see how my legs hold up.

I understand that this has been a challenging year for many folks, so if donating isn’t in the cards right now, I’ll gladly accept your moral support and hope that you’ll take a moment to learn more about childhood trauma at Noni Educational Solutions.

If you can, I invite you to make a pledge per mile or you can simply make a flat donation.

Thank you so much for supporting The Lourie Center and this event and for being an advocate for  children.

Kai-leé Berke’s Coronado Connection:
I moved to Coronado on July 1, 2019. My partner, Scott Oser, and I had been living in the Washington DC area. I had recently sold my education technology company to a new private equity firm and was ready to move my kids back to the ocean (I’m part Hawaiian and my kids are big surfers, so DC was definitely not our place in the world). Scott runs his own consulting business and can work from anywhere. We both loved the San Diego area and the laid back vibe, so in February of 2019 we took a one week trip out here to scout around. My ex-husband (father of my children and very good friend) told us to check out Coronado. He’s recently retired from the Navy and had spent time here years ago as a midshipman. We spent a few nights at the Del and just fell in love with the town.

There’s something about it – the “island” feel, the people, the sense of small town community, the ocean – that gave me a similar feeling to being in Hawaii. Plus, since the kids and I had been part of a military family for so many years, the military presence felt really comfortable to us. We began house hunting on that trip and met an awesome realtor, Beth Aiello, who helped us find our home. We closed on it in the spring of 2019. My last day as CEO of my company in DC was June 30, 2019. Scott, the kids, our dog, and I were all on a plane to San Diego on July 1st!

Coronado has been the perfect place for me and my family. The kids easily transitioned into the schools and Scott and I got involved in supporting the Coronado Schools Foundation. It is in so many ways idyllic. My children (daughter 10, son 14) have the freedom to ride bikes places and walk into town. My son got a job at the hardware store. We can have a morning surf session, grab a few breakfast burritos at Clayton’s and still get to school on time!

People here really seem to look after each other and care about each other. Even through the craziness of 2020, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. We are so thankful that we moved here in 2019!

To make a donation or learn more, please click here.

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