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Powerful Documentary on Teen Trauma to be Screened at United Way

The Tristate Trauma Network, in conjunction with United Way of Greater Cincinnati and MindPeace, is hosting a screening of Paper Tigers, a film that captures the pain, danger, beauty and hopes of struggling teens—and the teachers armed with new science and fresh approaches that are changing lives for the better. 

The documentary film, directed by James Redford and executive produced by Karen Pritzker, will be screened on February 2 at 4:30pm at United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Convening Center and is open to the public, though tickets must be reserved in advance. Paper Tigers follows a year in the life of an alternative high school in Walla Walla, WA, that has radically changed its approach to disciplining its students, and in the process has become a promising model for how to break the cycles of poverty, violence and disease that affect families.

“We want people to understand that trauma affects everything about a person’s functioning. It need not be reserved for discussion and intervention in the therapy or medical office. Children, especially, need to be embraced and assisted by the entire community in order to heal. Teachers have such a significant role in children’s lives.  When a teacher ‘gets it’ and knows what to do with trauma manifestations, children have a much better chance of succeeding in the classroom, and in life," said Melissa Adamchik, Executive Director of the Tristate Trauma Network.

"We recognize that trauma, especially experienced during early childhood, can have long-lasting effects on a child's educational, employment, and health outcomes later in life. We all need to learn new ways to reduce trauma and build resiliency if our community is to achieve the Bold Goals in Education, Income, and Health," said Ross Meyer, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

Paper Tigers is an intimate look into the lives of selected students at Lincoln High School, an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth. Set amidst the struggling rural community of Walla Walla, WA, the film intimately examines the inspiring promise of Trauma-Informed Communities - a movement that is showing great promise in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Following six students over the course of a school year, Lincoln’s staff try a new approach to discipline: one based on understanding and treatment rather than judgment and suspension. Using a combination of verite and revealing diary cam footage, Paper Tigers is a testament to what the latest developmental science is showing: that just one caring adult can help break the cycle of adversity in a young person’s life. The film is directed and produced by James Redford with executive producer Karen Pritzker through KPJR Films, LLC. The film premiered on May 28, 2015 at the Seattle International Film Festival. Paper Tigers has an upcoming companion film titled Resilience, which delves into ACEs neuroscience research and includes portraits of other practitioners putting that science it into action.


Date: Tuesday, February 2

Time: 4:30-7:00pm

Location: United Way of Greater Cincinnati Convening Center, 2400 Reading Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45202

Tickets to this special engagement of Paper Tigers are available online at: The screening is free and boxed dinners can be ordered with tickets.   

For more information on Paper Tigers and to view the trailer, visit

- Staff report/Image via Facebook