This month brings visions of hearts, sweethearts, secret valentines and roses. While the team at Family Advocates wishes you, and your loved ones, a warm and loving month, we are faced with the harsh reality of the journey of our children and families.
Did you know that the majority of our families, and all of our kids in CASA, have an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score of over 7? What does that mean? It means these folks have faced trauma like physical, emotional, sexual and mental abuse. It means that these brave individuals may adopt risky health behaviors, be susceptible to disease and disability, and may even experience an early death due to the unavoidable trauma in their early lives. (Find out more about ACEs here)
What does ACEs have to with cupid?! For many of the people in our community who have been exposed to violence in their childhood, it means that relationships may look differently. It means that they may have social and emotional barriers to address before a bond can be formed. It means that they may never have seen what a positive adult relationship looked like. That is where each of our programs comes into play. Our CASA program provides a volunteer Guardian ad Litem to advocate on behalf of the children they represent. Our family strengthening programs provide safe, healthy, and nurturing spaces for parents and children to heal. Our mission is to see families and children build or find a loving home.
This month, we ask that you think of your loved ones. That you buy them that bouquet. That you shower your family with affection. Make these loving gestures in solidarity for the individuals who haven't had the opportunity to feel this unadulterated love. And, of course, help us continue to support them on their journey to feeling loved.