"I haven't told anyone else this, but I'm going to tell the group because I trust you guys."
-- Martin, 14
Does this surprise you? According to Seth, our school-based clinician running the support group attended by Martin, traumatized kids work together to build towers of trust more often than you may think.
"These kids are craving connection," says Seth. "Martin had gone through our initial screening in his school and reported a pretty significant trauma history with divorce, neglect, and some homeless periods. So he was referred for individual therapy and group support in the school. For weeks he remained quiet, but then when he felt safe he disclosed an extraordinarily graphic history of abuse."
You can probably guess how this happened -- screening tools only work when honest answers are given. But many children we serve believe that honesty might get them or a family member in trouble: Where is this paper gonna go? they wonder. That's why your support of our school-based clinicians and care coordinators is so important. You make it possible for us to be on site and in the school where we can spring right into action with an appropriate response for disclosures like those made by Martin.
"Martin isn't that unusual," says Seth. "He's a smart kid who shared enough to get referred for help, but it was only after several weeks of care that he felt comfortable enough with the group to share his prolonged exposure to sexual assault and domestic violence. And that boy shared some incredibly painful stuff. He was very brave to do that, which speaks to what we were able to do in the group with those kids."
Because YOU provided that trusting environment, Martin was able to be honest and set in motion getting the care he needs.
Your kindness made possible a wealth of services for Martin and his mother whose battle with alcohol was making things even more difficult for Martin. You are why we were able to connect Martin's mom to recovery services and a sobriety coach. Martin's mom is participating in family therapy with Martin, and she is also taking some parenting classes.
Today, Martin and his mom have a path forward.
"It's unbelievable what some care and connection can do," says Seth. "Martin is a different kid now. He wasn't ever really badly behaved, but his teachers described him as eerily quiet and withdrawn. Today they say they see him laughing and teasing with friends, and I believe that's because he's been heard and sees a way to get to a better place for himself and his mom. Together, they see a future."
In a poignant twist, Martin's courage in the group resulted in another group member disclosing some significant trauma, and we are in the early stages of getting that group member and his family the support and care they need.
YOUR good and kind heart made that happen, and we are inspired.