As our fiscal year is about to end and planning for next year is well underway, it has given us time to reflect on the many “aha” moments of this past year. Let us introduce you to Anthony.
Anthony was born an unwanted child to a 19-year-old. On the day of his birth, Anthony needed what every other baby needs: Comfort, snuggles, smiles and engagement. Instead, he was ignored.
Anthony's childhood was riddled with trauma. His mother was addicted to drugs, his father in and out of jail. Anthony felt scared, alone and angry for most of his childhood. At 11, still a child, he began using drugs to cope. At 14 he began selling drugs. At 16 he began selling drugs to his own father. When we met 27 year old Anthony, he was defensive, hard, and incarcerated for drug possession. Sadly, his three children were experiencing the same adversity he did; the lack of a safe, stable and nurturing home.
We met Anthony in our fatherhood parenting class at the jail. Though Anthony participated, he remained skeptical about what he’d been taught. He kept repeating that he thought kids need “tough love” and a boy needs to be out on his own at 15 when he becomes a man. THE TURNING POINT FOR ANTHONY came during our lesson on the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). The ACE study is landmark research that shows the strong relationship between child abuse and neglect or family dysfunction and costly lifelong social, emotional and even physical health problems such as heart disease and cancer. In an emotional moment of true openness and vulnerability, Anthony realized he was giving his children the same childhood he had. Like his father, he was absent from their lives due to frequent incarceration and their mother was addicted to drugs. Anthony wanted to break this cycle.
Anthony’s “aha” moment is an example of the transformational experiences we get to see every week in our parenting classes. For the first time, these parents learn healthy ways to parent…ways to show their kids how much they love them and break the cycle of abuse, neglect, social issues and physical health diseases.
These “aha” moments are only possible through generous donors like you. We would like for you to consider making a gift today. Your thoughtful gift honors your commitment to prevent child abuse and neglect.