This work is focused on resilience. Defined in the view of the agency that funded the work. And the project has this in it's name (another comment about the word "project" will come on another day). The question we've gotten time and again: what is resilience? And the follow up comment about the word: I'm not sure I like the word use at all.
So I thought I'd put my two cents out about what it might mean.
Resilience is often talked about as the ability to bounce back, or to continue to move through daily life in the midst of adversity; this kind of description is in general conversation, in the general view that gets put together when talking about what to do after something big (and bad) happens. One of the issues that comes with using this definition though, is that it's hard to account for the things that were hard or wrong or less than positive in the first place, so what are we bouncing back to?
Our ReCAST resilience definition is a little more clear and intentional. And to distinguish, I'll point to some of the definitions used by the people and scientists who have studied resilience for children and adults of all ages. Some talk about states of resilience (US State Department), acknowledging that it is a process to adapt to current circumstances, and in other spaces resilience processes refer to the actions people take on, using their existing skills/abilities, to make sure they get the resources (financial and otherwise) to take care of themselves. Other definitions refer to resilience as a trait (Block & Block, 1980) evidenced by various psychological features, like optimism or emotional flexibility (Waugh, Thompson, and Gotlib, 2011). There's also work that discusses what should be expected after major negative events- that resilience should be the expectation rather than illness (Bonanno, 2004). With these connected but varied definitions, we value them as a starting place, but know that we have to have a common language to support the community moving forward, and that the common definition we work from needs to actually be the definition developed in this community. And that's just what we spent the last year making sure we understand, and what we'll be looking to do as we keep moving this work forward in the future.