Project Pinwheel

A note about COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 and the ongoing need to practice precautions, some of the recommendations for ways to help and connect with others listed on this page are not safe and should be avoided at this time—especially those that call for close contact with others. However, many of the strategies listed here are still possible!

It is important to continue to look for ways to connect with individuals and families by phone, video or from a safe distance. Sharing connection, support, resources and encouragement can benefit children and families.

What Higher Education Staff
and Students Can Do

Colleges and universities can influence the community and be a force for social progress and learning in ways that very few organizations can.

You have the leverage to support families and children—including those associated with your institution and those in the wider community. You can also encourage your administration, student body, faculty, non-academic staff and local community to get involved and give back.


As a member of university or college administration, you have opportunities to implement trauma-informed training and policies that help your faculty, staff and student body to succeed while also encouraging and building community involvement, activities and social action.

  • Foster an understanding of community service and involvement by encouraging or facilitating the involvement of student groups, clubs and athletic teams in community events, volunteering, mentoring or tutoring and donation drives.
  • Design family friendly practices for university staff. See the “Businesses” section of this site for examples.
  • Join Our kids: Our business, Spokane’s coalition of child advocates, as an individual or as a representative of your college or university.
  • Provide training on ACEs, toxic stress, resilience, child development and child abuse and neglect for all staff who interact with children, young adults or parents on campus.
  • Propose or review policies designed to protect children on campus from abuse.
  • Interview or survey student parents to identify your institution’s strengths in supporting families on campus as well as opportunities for improvement.


As a faculty member, you work with a broad group of people, ranging from traditional and non-traditional students to other faculty and non-academic staff. Many of these individuals may be parents or carers. Depending on your discipline, child abuse and neglect and related social dynamics may also be a focus of your research.

  • Continue to work with community partners on identifying and conducting research to advance knowledge in youth and family programming, child development, brain development, legal policy, parent engagement and best practices in promoting resiliency.
  • Create internships, practicums and capstone projects that enhance student learning objectives while intentionally and strategically supporting families and the community. For example, a civil engineering student could be advised to consider interning in urban development projects that focus on improving neighborhood and community public spaces.
  • Where possible, consider incorporating topics like adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), toxic stress, resilience, child development and the science of brain development into your curriculum. Many disciplines and professions touch on practices, policies and systems that influence family health. Students in finance, engineering, communications and medicine may all have opportunities to consider and potentially help the families in their communities.
  • Look for opportunities to partner with community organizations and direct funding into programs that help support families.
Non-Academic Staff

Non-Academic Staff

College and university staff, including personnel in admissions, finance, housing and student services, work with a wide array of individuals, both students and colleagues alike. If you’re a member of the non-academic staff, you have opportunities to support students, your colleagues and the community.



As a student, your role in preventing child abuse and neglect is unique because you can continue to learn—and advocate for learning opportunities—about your how future profession can affect families in your community. You also have an opportunity to help families and individuals that you know right now, in school, socially or at work.

  • Advocate for the addition of topics like ACEs, toxic stress, resilience, child development, and the science of brain development to course offerings across disciplines. This can be an opportunity to explore how family violence and trauma are connected to health at the population level and to understand its effect on many other social issues.
  • Work with your student organization to host a student forum focusing on the impact of ACEs on the body and hold an open the discussion to talk about how these may be affecting students’ health.
  • Find ways to volunteer in the community as an individual or with a group from your school and look for opportunities that support families. Check out Volunteer Spokane or visit your campus office of community engagement to learn about ways to make a difference.
  • Encourage your student organization or university to host an event that supports families and children on campus and in the community. For example, host an event like a sports day or kids carnival or organize a drive for necessities like food or baby supplies.
  • Work with your student organization to host donation drives for parents and caregivers who could use a little extra help.

If you are experiencing trouble in your relationship or with family, or want to find out how you can help a friend in an abusive relationship, get help and advice by phone, chat or text from Love Is Respect. Text LOVEIS to 22522.