Getting Sick And Getting Well In Community with Karen Simms

Karen Simms Trauma & Resilience Initiative


Karen Simms grew up supported in many different ways by the people of her church. She loves the positive influence that a community church can have on neighborhoods and families. Her social service work and passion for community advocacy are rooted in faith through her seminary education. She believes in hope and her training has led her to new ways of operationalizing it.

Kelly and Karen discuss the CU Trauma & Resiliency Initiative and the projects that she has been a part of to bring help and healing to the black community. She lives out her Christian faith every day by offering hope, looking out for the most marginalized, and bringing authentic trauma-informed care to all who she works with. 

Karen is doing the work to create a new kind of robust, vibrant, supportive community, one that is built on love,  self-reliance, and giving back. Her aid and the opportunities that she makes available to those in need are rhythmic, repetitive, relational, respectful, and restorative to the community.

Don’t miss the end of the episode when Karen talks about burnout. If you are feeling the need for a bit of rest or restoration, book a Quiet Pod at Soul Care. Spending as little as one hour in stillness reading, breathing, journaling, creating art, or even just napping can do wonders for your body, mind, and soul. 

Meet Karen

Karen Crawford Simms is an experienced consultant, trainer, facilitator, and coach. She has a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy; and has spent over 30 years advocating for individuals, families, and communities who have been marginalized because of race, gender, sexual orientation/identity, health, or socioeconomic status.  She is the founder of Trauma & Resilience Initiative, Inc. a not-for-profit that trains, educates, advocates for, and promotes resilience and justice for individuals, families, organizations, and communities. TRI works to reduce the impact of adverse community experiences by healing and repairing those who have been impacted by trauma and equipping organizations and providers to be trauma- and justice-informed.

Karen has expertise in trauma-informed care, culturally responsive practices, community engagement, outcome-based planning, collaborative processes, and implementing evidence-based practices. She is also the owner/founder of Meridian K Consulting & Counseling Services which provides targeted training and technical assistance to schools, universities, community organizations, law enforcement, local governments, civic organizations, not-for-profits, and employers.

Resources We Mention

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God and other works by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Dr. Bruce Perry and childhood trauma theories
  • Rev. Otis Moss of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago
  • Kiwane Carrington murder in Champaign, IL
  • CU Neighborhood Champions
  • Dr. Ruby Mendenhall, Associate Professor in Sociology, African American Studies, Urban and Regional Planning, and Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Mary J. Blige’s “MY LIFE” documentary on Amazon Prime
  • Black Boys documentary


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Want to build supportive community and relationships with people like Karen and others featured on the podcast? Learn more about the Kindred Souls membership community

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