The Communities Advancing Resilience Toolkit (CART) is a community intervention designed to enhance community resilience through assessment, group processes, planning, and action. CART can also be used as a vehicle to introduce other interventions into a community.
Resilience is the ability to cope with adversity (e.g., anything from an individual misfortune to a major disaster), to learn from the experience, and to grow stronger as a result. Community resilience is the ability of a community as a whole to cope effectively with, and learn from, adversity. Building a resilient community involves more than assembling a collection of resilient individuals; it requires communication and the ability to transform the environment through collective action. Increased resilience offers many benefits. One important goal is to reduce the potential traumatic stress and other negative mental health and social impacts of major adverse events.
Developed by the Terrorism and Disaster Center (TDC) of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, CART brings community stakeholders together to address community issues in a process that includes surveys, group meetings, and strategy development and implementation. CART builds on three key aspects of group behavior: (1) communication among group members permits the group to pool skills and knowledge to achieve better outcomes, (2) members can learn and grow as a result of group interactions, and (3) group participation can facilitate acceptance and implementation of group goals. CART stimulates communication, analysis, and action, and it contributes to community participation and collaboration, community self-awareness, critical reflection, and skill development. CART encourages public engagement in problem solving and the development and use of local assets to address community needs. CART is designed to strengthen and empower communities, not to compare or rank them.
Based on community capacity and related theories, and shaped by field testing and the input of key informants, CART addresses four overlapping, interrelated domains that both describe and affect community resilience. Three of the domains are common to all CART efforts:
1. Connection and Caring - which includes relatedness, shared values, participation, support systems, equity, justice, hope, and diversity;
2. Resources - which includes natural, physical, financial, human, and social resources; and
3. Transformative Potential - which includes data collection, analysis of community assets and capabilities, and skill building that create the potential for profound community change.
The fourth domain relates to the specific adversity that concerns the community. In TDC work, the fourth domain typically is terrorism and disaster management, but communities can focus on other adversities such as community violence, a suicide epidemic, or the recession.
Click HERE for more information about CART and a complete description of the CART process.
Click HERE to download Communities Advancing Resilience Toolkit (CART)©: The CART Integrated System.
Click HERE to download Building Community Resilience for Children and Families.