An upstream solution…

During our Child Abuse Prevention Month Kick-off, I suggested two opinions of child abuse prevention. “Prevention is for everyone” and “We, the adults, are responsible.”

My personal philosophy of child abuse prevention is that it be a purposeful initiative to reduce child abuse occurrences and liberate those that may be silent victims.  When working with young people I am responsible for directly communicating what abuse is to children of all ages and intentionally engaging with students in the simplest way possible to allow them to hear and respond to a dark and unfortunate piece of our real world. There is no guarantee that child abuse occurrences will be fewer in a community exclusively because of active prevention.  However, with prevention there is some possibility that more children are given the knowledge in how to recognize and respond to mistreatment or danger of themselves or their peers.

The Dragonfly House Children’s Advocacy Center has given hope to hundreds of victims of child abuse, neglect, and maltreatment in Davie, Davidson, and surrounding counties.  When looking at data, the number of reported abuse cases are not decreasing; this identifies a cycle of abuse within our communities.  Investigative services will always be needed.  These services will protect and defend victims, but may not necessarily prevent the issue.  Prevention is an additional step taken by the people in a community.  Caring to know and knowing what to share are the first commitments.

When abuse of a child happens, it breaks down the connectivity of the child and the community around them in some sense.  Child abuse can cripple the ability of a community to grow if it is not seen and not heard.  Child abuse divides people–those that are advocating for children, those who may be ignoring children or the problem, and those that are mistreating children and causing the abuse. Any one of us can know or be an acquaintance to someone that has experienced or is connected to child abuse.  No one is excused or eliminated from THE ISSUE.

The staff at our center and the members of our multi-disciplinary team are here to help repair the damage after the disclosure has been made, but what about the work that can be done to prevent the damage from occurring in the first place?

Take a moment to write down the first names of 10 children you know – friends of your children, children of your friends, children in your neighborhood or church, etc.

Reflect on each name and remember that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday.  Who on your list WILL be affected by sexual abuse, if they haven’t already? Are you willing to wait until that abuse occurs to put help apply the band-aid or are you willing to speak up now and teach those children about abuse and how to end it?

Let’s work together to provide an UPSTREAM SOLUTION to this downstream problem.

E-mail me today at sheria@thedragonflyhouse.com and ask how you can help upstream.

Sheria White, Community Educator

Youtube video is a courtesy of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina.

All I Want For Christmas…

During Christmas 1987, Sharon Batts took our nation by storm.  PowerSource, a Christian Pop band out of Bedford, Texas, made headlines throughout our country with their hit single (released in 1986 but made a staple on holiday radios in 1987) about something real; something that very few people wanted to talk about.  With a voice of innocence and sweet sincerity, Sharon mournfully sang about a national crisis then and now.  Dear Mr. Jesus is a “child’s lamentation” for abuse.

When I first heard this song, I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I felt a combination of anger, sadness, and fear.  Sharon’s tiny voice singing for reason and resolution to something so large brought tears to my soul.  Today, we can read about how the country responded to Dear Mr. Jesus.  It touched many, was requested on the radio, and provoked a rise in calls to many child abuse hotlines during that time.  When nine-year-old Sharon was asked to share her thoughts of the songs impact, she responded innocently, “I didn’t know it would ever come to anything this big.”

In and beyond our community, child neglect and abuse is a growing issue. An issue where excuses are made and indications are overlooked.  The words that young Sharon sang forced our nation, at that time, to visualize the physical abuse of children.

Please don’t let them hurt your children
We need love and shelter from the storm
Please don’t let them hurt your children
Won’t you keep us safe and warm

These same words are a cry for all forms of child abuse to stop.  It seems that people place so much value in music and entertainment; how revolutionary it might be to have awareness and prevention of child abuse regularly at the forefront of media.  I wonder the response if Sharon’s song was aired or re-created today.  Artist and songwriters of today like Matthew West (Broken Girl), Christina Aguilera (I’m OK), Martina McBride (Concrete Angel) are among others that have used their voices as vessels of hope for ending child abuse.

As you look forward to your holiday time with loved ones, consider the words of Dear Mr. Jesus.  Should you hear it, pay attention to the complex thoughts that come from the lyrics.  Take a moment to feel for the heartache of the children that are not so jolly during this time of year.  For many of us this may be imaginable, but not our reality.  As with the song, a child requesting love for all children can make the strongest of hearts feel a discomfort that makes them realize there needs to be a change.

Stay Focused on Child Happiness During the Holiday and Everyday:

  • It is common for families to face challenges and frustration. There is so much to do and so many emotions that adults and children alike feel. Remember to stay calm with the children you care for before resorting to hitting or yelling in response to behavior challenges.  Often intense anger or reactions come from other issues of an adult, not the child.
  • As you may plan to attend adult-only holiday gatherings and events, assure a suitable sitter for your children. Make sure that you’re a child is comfortable with this individual as well.  If your child can communicate, question their time and enjoyment with their caregiver.
  • While visiting with new and familiar faces during this time of year, keep in mind to not force your child to give hugs and kisses to every friend and family member. They are children and should not be required to be overly affectionate if they do not wish to.  If a shy hello is all a child is willing to give, that is okay.
  • School-age children are home for the holidays. There are more possibilities of extended TV, electronic, and bed times. Many children will be given cell phones, tablets, and other devices for Christmas.  Don’t provide permission without oversee! Check to make sure your children are watching and accessing appropriate shows, movies, websites, chat groups, and games.  Don’t hesitate to check social media activity!
  • Enjoy your family time! This may be one of a few opportunities where everyone is together with little rush.  Laugh, love, and talk together.  If you are fortunate to have time off, engage with your family, especially your children.  Talk to them about what is happening in their lives, get a gauge on their wellness and happiness, grasp insight on what they want and believe in as children of this world that we live in today.  You may be surprised by what you learn from engaging in conversation with a child of any age. 

    Have A Very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year,
    Sheria White
    Community Educator at The Dragonfly House

 

The Little Elephant; Circumstance, In Your Control

little-elephantI once heard The Little Elephant.  The short story was told that one day, a boy and girl went to the circus with their mother and father.  There, they saw a huge elephant tied to a tiny stake with a rope.

“Daddy”, asked the boy, “The Elephant is so big and strong, but the stake is so small and short. He could set himself free just by taking a few steps over. Why doesn’t he just do it?”

The mother and father smiled first at each other.  The father replied, “When the elephant was very small and just a baby, he did try to break away from that stake.  Back then he wasn’t quite strong enough to break free. He tried and tried, until he finally gave up, believing that it was impossible to free himself. Now, he is a larger elephant, but he doesn’t try anymore.  He doesn’t believe it’s possible to break free.”

The moralistic themes of the story could go in many directions and could be used to drive many points, especially to young people.  However, I would like to focus my thinking on one thought that is considerably relevant.  People can be the same as the circus elephant.  Many things happen to us during childhood.  Those things can be common life events or continuing circumstances that we are born and raised into. Often, we try relentlessly, even during our childhood, to change those things.  If a person gives up, for whatever reason, on trying to change circumstances and fix things; they may remain tied to them, as if with ropes to tiny stakes, just like the elephant. Adverse things that we could easily move from, can become things we are willing to stand by.

I concluded a prevention class with teens by reminding them to consider the fact that they are in control of their circumstances.  I explained the value of our community and the people that are responsible for assuring children are safe and well.  It is important that youth all over know that they are in control of changing things that are confusing, uncomfortable, or unsafe in their lives by seeking the help that they need by, first, speaking up.

The circumstances that children are put in vary.  Children are well cared for by parents that are emotionally involved and responsible in nurturing.  Other children are raised by caretakers and busy parents working multiple jobs.   Some children have an incarcerated parent, an addict parent, or a parent emotionally detached from the family.  To imply that children are in control of their circumstances seems erroneous and perhaps insensible.  Consider that perhaps if young people are given appropriate explanation of their worth early in life, and taught how to address a need for any change, they may find that their circumstances are not, ever, out of their control.

When working with teens in our community, I stress that they are to recognize a plan for their life…their blueprint.  We focus on four words in this prevention program; You, Others, Cope, and Live.  The emphasis of the prevention is placed in empowering participants with the understanding that they are first in control of themselves, YOU; this is identifying what they want in life, of themselves, and what they know they should have. Next, I have them reflect on OTHERS; others will have an impact on their lives. We evaluate what happens in relationships with others by interpreting the positives and negatives that can occur between people.  Finally, we discuss how to COPE in numerous dilemmas.  We focus on the various outlets that a person can use to speak out during struggles so that they may LIVE with hope and strength for their future.

The rise and fall of life’s roller coaster can make anyone want to stop trying.  Especially for those that become a victim of any form of abuse.  Perhaps, if early on we believe that we have a priceless tag on us–then we can certainly believe that we should want more for ourselves.  This means never settling for less than the best of love, care, and support of those present in our lives.  Understanding that we can step away to make a change, it’s never too late.  More specifically, one must try not to let tiny stakes remain to become giant posts that cause interferences in their ability to cope and believe in more for their future.

Sheria White, Community Educator

Little eyes are watching….

bully-1(1).jpgAlbert Bandura’s social learning theory explains how people (children) learn from one another through ways of observation, imitation, and modeling. With that said, how do you think this election has affected our children? Their behaviors? Their thoughts and attitudes? And, how they perceive interactions with adults?

Commercials, ads, and billboards constantly show and advertise, over and over, this accepted bullying behavior. And, then crowds cheering it on passionately accepting this as a cultural norm. I think every year, we cringe when we know election time is coming because we hear advertisement after advertisement of one person putting down another. How does this set an example for our youth? What does this show them about government? Bullying is what gets you somewhere? I hope not. This particular election cycle seems to be nastier than ever before.  We are continuously seeing that the bickering spreads from the tv screen to social media and into the home. All the while our kids are watching…and learning.

Bullying has become even more complex over the past couple years in particular. Social media has played a huge role in this due to constant interactions among teens in and out of school. Bullying is not just in the halls at school, but displayed on the screens and homepages of multiple apps downloaded on student’s phones. It never stops. I’m sure we have all heard of one, or many, cases of teens going to lengths as suicide due to this bullying behavior.

Certain forms of child abuse (such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, severe neglect and lack of supervision, domestic violence in the home, drug exposure, etc.) create vulnerability for kids to either become bullies or become victims of bullying. For instance, some kids who are abused might learn that violence is the way to deal with problems, and therefore physically bully their peers at school.

According to the website www.stompoutbullying.org, 1 out of 4 kids is bullied and 42% of kids have been bullied while online.

Signs that a child is being bullied can include:

  • Withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Reluctance to go to school
  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Self-deprecating talk
  • Staying away from friends
  • Crying Episodes
  • Frequent complaints of headaches and/or stomach aches
  • Unexplained bruises

Children with disabilities may be at a higher risk of being bullied than other children.

In addition to the short-term signs of bullying, there are many long-term effects that need to be considered.  Kids who are bullied have fear instilled in them and over time may:

  • Lose all self-esteem
  • Suffer from severe depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses
  • Suffer from more physical health issues
  • Could turn to drug and alcohol use
  • Could start self-harming
  • Some kids are so tormented that they use suicide as an alternative. 

The above signs are signs of bullying but are also signs of other abuse as well. If your child displays any of these signs talk with them and talk with the school staff to learn more about what’s going on.  When talking with your child, don’t just ask if they’re being bullied.

In a study of 700 fifth grade students it was found in student self-reports that:

  • 14% are bullies
  • 12% are victims
  • 8% are both bullies & victims
  • 66% not involved in bullying

When groups were compared on the amount of victimization in other areas (i.e., outside of the school) they reported:

  • Bully-victims reported the most child maltreatment (44%), which included experiences with physical and psychological abuse and neglect.
  • Bully-victims also reported the highest rates of sexual victimization(32%), which included experiences with sexual harassment as well as sexual abuse, and included familial and non-familial perpetrators.
  • Bully-victims and bullies witnessed higher levels of victimization within their homes (domestic violence) and communities (witnessing attacks) than other youth (59% for bully-victims, 61% for bullies).

Most children are too embarrassed or are afraid to tell an adult about bullying. They may think that involving an adult will only make the problem worse. But you can prepare children by teaching them socialization skills, modeling friendly behavior, and telling them that you will always be there for them. Mention that if something bothers them, they can also talk to their teacher or with a school counselor.  Schools have done an amazing job with bullying education and prevention – with most schools now requiring suspension for bullying behaviors. It is never too early to begin these conversations.

If you do suspect a child is being abused or has been bullied, appropriate mental health treatment is strongly recommended.  The problem is that even though it is recommended and a much-needed service, it is becoming harder and harder to obtain. The most important thing that we can leave with you today to think about is that mental health should be one of our top priorities as a country. Technology has changed, and is changing, the way our brains work. We are becoming increasingly less interactive and more isolated as a whole. Those in need of mental health services often become frustrated because they aren’t able to get the services they need and give up.

We cannot begin to describe how difficult it has become to get the children we serve proper therapeutic treatment.  We strive to make sure that every child who is truly in need of mental health services can receive it free of charge and regardless of the requirements that insurance mandates. Mental Health Clinicians are being forced to jump through multiple hoops just to provide an evidence based treatment to a child who was proven to experience abuse.  Some clinicians have even stopped accepting specific insurances because the demands are too unreasonable. Throughout all of this, the ones who are suffering are the children…the ones who depend on us for help…the ones who are being taught these abusive behaviors because they are experiencing it firsthand themselves…the ones who have no options but those that we (as a nation) give them.

Brandi Reagan & Jenny Smith

“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”

sheria-desk-with-booksMany educators find this statement, originally made by George Bernard Shaw, offensive.  Most educators find their daily role so demanding with an under-appreciation from those around them.  So if anyone dare say that a teacher “can’t” do anything, they are asking for battle.   Perhaps there may be some truth in the phrase, but its usual insinuation grossly underestimates the talents of those who teach.

I was a teacher for nearly 9 years of my young life.  I came in as an educator at 21 years old—when life is just beginning as most people would say.  I took on a career of which maturity, momentum, and focus was required.  I adopted the lifestyle naturally, so I never struggled with identifying myself as a teacher — a leader for our youth. Teaching at the K-12 level involves managing the behavior of 20-30 kids, being mindful of individual student health, academic levels, and family life, aiding the followers and leaders, and loving both slackers and over-achievers.  All while developing and delivering effective lessons that meet state and local standards. That, overall, is the role of any average teacher.  Knowing content –the being able to “do”—is just part of the skills of a great teacher.  A great teacher will make strong efforts to connect with students.  Connections that can inspire young people.  Many connections are made to gain trust.  Through gaining trust of young people, adults find themselves immediately responsible for all that happens to them.

My first class whipped me into shape starting on day one.  I pursued a challenging school because I said I wanted to teach students that needed me.  I got just that! I did not teach at the most challenging school in my district; however, I was assigned a group of young minds that had seen, heard, and experienced more than the average 5th grader of that time.  My days consisted of tears, fights, non-compliance, and concerns with sex and drugs.  At times, there seemed to be no end to the drama of any of my boys and girls.  Through it all, I found my position as their teacher and made way through all of their priorities to survive life outside of school.  During my years working with youth, I have spent weekends on fields and in gyms supporting what parents could not or would not.  I bought hair-cuts, field trips, meals, groceries, clothes, and school supplies.  I spent evenings in hospitals supporting students of mom’s and caregivers battling cancer.  I cleaned up homes of students with drug-addicted parents.  I answered calls to kids stranded, and made calls to report negligence.   I stayed after school and arrived early to mentor and tutor. I wore mom shoes before giving birth to my own children.  I was doctor and therapist without the degree. I felt tiredly fulfilled.

As a student, I was a successful over achiever.  I flourished in school.  I loved going and staying in any classroom.  I took every opportunity to talk with my teachers and learn them.  I strived for and achieved every academic award that I possibly could.  I avoided sports, but I participated in every academic club possible.  My mother encouraged piano, dance, pageants, and talent showcases; I obliged every opportunity and was recognized for my talent confidence.  I knew at 7, that I would teach others.  In elementary school, I was leading my after-school program as a mini-instructor—playing school with the other kids acting as the teacher and having them captivated for after-school hours in whatever I wanted them to do.  Perhaps the teacher’s pet; I looked for any opportunity to lead the others and stay close to adults of the school.  Any place where there was learning was my happy place.

For many kids school is their happy place — often their only safe place.  I think of my friends and classmates who often seemed eager to be in school, yet struggled to be successful.  Could it be that home life was so uncomfortable that school was the only good place to be despite how difficult it may have been to do well?  As a teacher, I eventually realized that many of my students could care less about what I was teaching; they just needed to be in my presence.  This is where they felt loved and safe; home was not where they wanted to be most.

Often times, people invest perfection in one area of life so that those areas that are cloudy and gray with failure don’t seem so bad.  As mentioned before, my school life was successful, but I can identify many struggles in my life outside of school.  I struggled socially and often my social atmosphere did not match my honors achievements and intellect.  I resorted to many temptations and was challenged in relationships.  I did not say “No” to the many things I should have and I secretively tested the waters on things that could have cost me my life or my freedoms.  Being the smarty with silent issues ultimately helped me as a teacher.  I knew how to get on a level with kids that were having difficulties.  I understood the reason for A’s and B’s just as well as I did F’s.  I understood outstanding behavior just as well as I did acting out.  I was no street thug, but I understood street life. I was able to make myself a great educator because I connected with students on a life level so that I could reach them not only through books, but through their hearts.

When the opportunity came to work as a Community Educator at The Dragonfly House, I found a chance to regain and renew my sense of self in my career as an educator.  My job at The Dragonfly House involves teaching abuse awareness and prevention, teaching appropriate relationships between adults and young people, and working to impact our community in becoming better.  I am now finally able to combine my “can do” and “can’t do” and create something sublime. This is why I believe that Shaw’s quote is not completely incorrect.  In my current place, I am taking my life experiences and teaching abilities (my can do) and pairing it with the heart wrenching issue of which I was not directly a victim (my can’t do).  I can explain to any child how to love and protect themselves from the harm of others, which is why I do this.  I can’t change their home lives, dangers they face, or the roots of which they come from. Therefore, I teach them empowerment to survive what has or may come.  I am just a small link in the enormous resource available to change any child’s life.

I can love, help, listen, and respond to issues that children face; therefore I do.

I can’t accept abuse and negligence of a child, protect every child, or identify myself as a victim; so I teach as many as I can the path to liberation.

Sheria White
Community Educator at The Dragonfly House

To learn more about our Community Education Program or to schedule a presentation/training for your group, visit our website at www.thedragonflyhouse.com/communityeducation or call Sheria at 336-753-6155.  

P.I.R.

PIRPerception is reality. A concept I learned about in one of my favorite high school classes and a concept that has stuck with me throughout the years. But over these years, as I have been educated on and been trained in helping victims of abuse, and especially children of abuse, it’s a concept that I am having to think about with a more open mind. As I hope you all can.

For instance, think about the question: “Wouldn’t a child who was being abused tell?”

This is perhaps one of the most common questions that I, as the Forensic Interviewer, get asked. And I get it. It makes sense. If I, as an adult, was being punched or kicked I would immediately tell someone. Or if someone began to touch me in a sexual manner and I had not agreed to this, you better believe that I would tell someone. Because I’m an adult. And that’s what you do when someone hurts you.

But let’s just say for a minute that I am a 5 year old little boy. And my mom’s new boyfriend has told me that if I tell ANYONE about what happens in my bedroom at night when he touches me, he will kill someone that I love. And gosh, I sure do love my mom and my new puppy. And when I look into those scary, black eyes of his and see how big his hands are, I believe him.

Or let’s say that I am a 14 year old girl who has fallen in love for the first time. And he has promised me that we will be together forever. He tells me how beautiful I am and how lucky he is. He makes me feel like I am the only girl in this whole, crazy world. Never mind that he is the 35 year old dad of my best friend. We are in love.

What if even, I am a 9 year old little girl and I am the big sister. I have three younger siblings who depend on me. I am the one who makes sure they have food and I am the one who gets everyone dressed in the morning. Where are mom and dad? Depends. Probably passed out drunk or high, that is IF they made it home last night. And if I tell the nice lady about the bed bugs and the rats and the time dad hit me so hard everything went black, and I get taken away, who will take care of my siblings? They need me.

I have days where I interview children and they do share with me. They share about their abuse and the heartache that they have gone through. But I also have days where those little faces don’t share. Or rather, they CAN’T share with me. Because the fear is too deep, the threats are too scary, and the feelings are too real. And those are things that I can’t see and I can’t perceive

And this is where the wonderfulness that is The Dragonfly House comes into play. Because we work together as a team. We work to figure out the true realities that compose these children’s lives.  We receive very specific training and education on how to communicate and how to read the signs of abuse and trauma.

So my challenge to you is this, rather than asking, “Wouldn’t a child who was being abused tell?” work together with us to figure out “Why wouldn’t an abused child tell?” Open up your mind and attempt to perceive a different type of reality. The reality of an abused child.

Kim Craver, Forensic Interviewer

 

Faceless children…

IMG_0033b.jpgIf you are ever sitting at home and watching tv, then you know at any given time a commercial can come on that will pull at your heart strings.  There are so many heartbreaking but worthy causes that exist; and sometimes just watching the commercials can make you cry – from childhood cancer to the joyful wish come true foundations to the ones of children malnourished, neglected and in need all over the world.  One of the commercials that gets to me every single time is the one with abused animals – I always tear up on those.  With all of these causes and the hundreds of others that have commercials and print ads, they really dig deep to show us what is happening with that agency and the work they do.

But one commercial you will never see is the one of the child getting beaten with an electrical cord so hard by their own mother that it breaks skin and leaves permanent scars.  Or the one of the little girl holding onto her covers tightly as a father figure sneaks into her room and tries to get under those covers with her.  Or the young child being cussed at and called a liar while also being told they are ruining everything just because the child was brave enough to come forward and tell someone what happened to them.  Those commercials won’t ever be on tv.  You will never see those children.  In general, our society doesn’t want to see, think, or sometimes even believe that it happens, but it does.  And these children won’t have faces for you to see because they are children and they deserve the privacy and confidentiality to be protected by everyone involved, so that they can have an opportunity to heal without being labeled.  So they can become the person they are meant to be without being defined by what happened to them.  So they don’t have to hear the whispers and rumors that make them even more ashamed or insecure about themselves.

As an agency, it is so hard to portray the kind of work we do.  We can talk about the services we provide, describe the interviews and the medical exam, detail the “process” and how it is easier for the child and for all working on behalf of the child – but does that really give you the idea of what happens behind these doors?  We can’t show you the pictures we took of the bruises and scars.  We can’t show you the tears falling down their faces when they say the words of what happened to them out loud for the first time.  We can’t show you the findings from the child’s genital exam that confirms a penetrating injury.  We can’t show you lab results from where a child received a sexually transmitted disease from their offender.  We also can’t show you their excitement when they are picking out and holding their blankets.  We can’t show you their smiles when they are eating their snack.  We can’t show you the relief in their sweet little faces once everything is done and it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be.  We can’t show you the hugs they give our staff when they say they want to stay here because they like us.  No, we can’t show you any of that.  All we can do is say it happens – those tears and those smiles – and hope that you understand what that really means.

One thing we struggle with as a child advocacy center is garnering support from our community members without breaking the confidentiality of the children we serve.  We can’t confirm or deny that a child was ever here even if you read about a story in the paper or see a case on the news.  You may know our service area and know that abuse that occurs inside these three counties may have come through our doors – but we can’t confirm or deny that.   Other people may mention our agency in an article about a case or a parent may say they got help here, but from us, we can’t confirm or deny that.  How can we get you to see our work and get you to donate funds or items we need if we can’t even show you how it is being used?  How can we prove to everyone we talk to that the stories are worse than one can imagine, the images will never get out of our heads, the faces are ones we will never forget, and that we – even as workers – need therapy to cope and process? The answer is we can’t.  This work is without pictures and these children are without faces.

But it is because they are faceless that you should think about every child you cross paths with… from those standing at the bus stop, those in line in front of you at the grocery store, those playing at the park, those your own children are friends with.  You don’t know if their face is one who is struggling, masked by a smile, and experiencing more than most of us can comprehend.  Last fiscal year we had 469 faceless children walk through our doors.  Both our agency statistics and national statistics prove that abuse has either happened to you or to someone you know – or even harder to comprehend is that it has either happened to your child or to someone your child is friends with.  Just remember, when we seem protective or reserved in our description of what happens here there is a reason.  When we don’t bring clients with us to presentations to talk about how our services helped them there is a reason.  When we tell you we can’t “confirm or deny” there is a reason.

Abuse IS happening here in your community whether you can put a face to it or not.  So when you are considering a cause to get behind, a place to donate to, or an agency to volunteer for – consider the faceless children and that they too need your support.

Brandi Reagan, Executive Director of The Dragonfly House