MEET OUR TED TEAM
Director of Trauma Education and Development
Kourtney Barr is the Director of Trauma Education & Development at the Topeka Rescue Mission (TRM). Kourtney has become an experienced professional in Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) through her work with TRM and the Practitioner program through Texas Christian University and the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. This intervention is designed to meet the complex needs of individuals who have experienced adversity, abuse, toxic stress, and/or other forms of trauma.
During her 5-year tenure with TRM, Kourtney has worked in many different facets of the ministry. Her work started with some of the most vulnerable of the population TRM serves as a preschool teacher at the Children’s Palace. Through this role Kourtney strived to help make paths of healing for the children while holistically wrapping around the families teaching new skills and insights.
Kourtney’s next role was within a food relief program that was executed at the height of the covid-19 pandemic called Operation Food Secure (OFS). OFS provided 5 million pounds of food to 110,123 people across 10 counties, each with their own name and story. Through this initiative nearly 500 volunteers were trained and equipped with education on trauma and how to use food boxes as a catalyst for deeper connections and relationships. This led to the development of a 5-year trauma interventions plan to be the first rescue mission in the nation to holistically incorporate Trust-Based Relational Intervention. As the Director of Trauma Education and Development, Kourtney provides professional development centered on TBRI through the integration of effective trainings, skill development and quality assurance methods relevant to the implementation of trauma-informed practices throughout TRM Ministries. This includes, but is not limited to, providing opportunities for all staff, guests, and volunteers to learn and practice tools, discuss challenges, and build networks throughout TRM.
If you were to ask Kourtney what her biggest leadership accomplishment through her time with TRM was, it wouldn’t be helping feed 110 thousand people, or even creating a 5-year trauma interventions plan to create cultural change. Kourtney would say she never wants to lose sight of who this work is for and unto whom she accomplishes it with.
“I have learned so much through my time with TRM and continue to find fresh perspectives and initiative in myself that I didn’t know were there. However, I never want to lose sight of the humanity of what this is all for. It is for that one person in front of me that is struggling and hurting. It is for the single mother who is ready to give up. It is for the veteran who sits on the street panhandling with no family. It is for the woman on the sidewalk outside the shelter smoking meth because she can’t see outside of her addiction. It is for the gentleman who struggles with alcoholism and recovers and then relapses and then recovers again. It is for the family of ten who made it out of homelessness and now thrives together. It is for the gentleman who is unsheltered and lost his father to suicide. Each one of these individuals have a face. Each one has a name. Each one has impacted my life and changed my heart in ways that are unexplainable. The connections with each one of them and so many more is my most significant leadership accomplishment. They are why I do what I do each day. They are why I advocate for change. Because they are worthy.”
Kourtney’s goal is to continually help the body of Christ walk in the fullness of her identity by encouraging the Church to step outside the church walls, having hearts that break for what breaks the Lord’s, stopping for the one, loving the one, encouraging the one. By sharing in TBRI literacy and techniques, Kourtney aspires to have a community that sees people through the eyes of Jesus with a lens of trauma.
Trauma Education and Development Assistant
Kodee Christensen is the Trauma Education and Development (TED) Assistant at the Topeka Rescue Mission. Her experience working in homeless ministry began in 2019 when she spent 3 months as a seasonal staff member for the Denver location of the ministry organization CSM (City Service Mission). In this role, Kodee led middle and high school students through week-long inner-city mission trips in which they partnered with local service-based community organizations and ministries to serve Denver’s homeless and vulnerable population.
Her time at TRM began the following summer of 2020 when she accepted a position in the Hope Center women and family shelter serving at the front desk. That fall, she completed her undergraduate education and earned a Bachelor of Arts in business, English and communication with a minor in sociology from Washburn University. After graduating, Kodee continued her work at TRM within multiple roles, most recently joining the TED Department in October of 2021.
Kodee has received 28 hours of TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) caregiver training and plans to attend Texas Christian University to earn her TBRI Practitioner’s license in the 2023 term. Her heart for people from vulnerable places is what drives her to continue in the work of educating and equipping caregivers of all populations for serving the one in front of them through the eyes of Jesus with a lens of trauma.
Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) is an attachment-based, trauma-informed, therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk individuals. TBRI uses Empowering Principles to address physical and environmental needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs and engagement, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. TBRI has been applied in courts, residential treatment facilities, group homes, foster and adoptive homes, churches, schools, correctional facilities, with survivors of sex-trafficking, law enforcement, clinical practices and beyond. TBRI is designed to meet complex needs of vulnerable individuals. While the intervention is based on years of attachment, sensory processing and neuroscience research, the heartbeat of TBRI is connection.