Sunday, May 20, 2012

Role Models You Can Support

Napa Emergency Women's Services (NEWS)

The mission of Napa Emergency Women's Services (NEWS) is to provide a nurturing refuge to women and children escaping domestic violence and and/or sexual abuse and to be a catalyst for change through prevention, intervention, and advocacy.

We believe that those who have become victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse have the power to strengthen and heal. Every day we bring respect, understanding, and resources to survivors, because we see that with kindness and support, we can create peaceful homes and healthy communities. As the executive director of this organization, I feel very fortunate to be a witness to this transformation.

Tracy Lamb
Executive Director

Every week when the children's group at NEWS meets, it has a topic for the day. The topic for this particular day was role models. Children were asked by the facilitator what their understanding of role models was and the facilitator then concluded the session with a collaborative definition of what a role model meant to the group.

After the discussion, children were asked to write a lettter to their role models. Some immediately expressed who they had in mind, while others needed some extra time and help to identify who that person could be. Still others struggled to find someone at all, which made the exercise difficult to observe.

It was very interesting see that each child was able to identify what a role model should be, but that when it came time to write the letter some group members struggled to find a person in their life that they could look up to. Unfortunately, some of the kids we serve lack exposure to positive people.

At the end of the session, with help, everyone was able to identify a role model and write a letter. Sitting around a table, each child had the opportunity to share his/her letter. Some of them wrote to their parents, others to their teachers, and one of them wrote a letter to the group facilitator and KEDS Shelter program manager and group facilitator.

This group facilitator was honored to see the impact that the program has had in the life of this child. This letter is just one example of many others that we have seen exemplifying how important this group is to to the lives of these children, as due to the difficulties they are experiencing, this group might just be the only space where they feel safe enough to just be kids.

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