After ministering to my clients (children) at the hotel about two Sundays ago, I got into my car to drive home, and all I could do was cry. In ministering to them, we discussed the fruits of the spirit, and as we broke down the first three fruits, which are love, joy, and peace, many of them have not experienced any of these spiritual fruits because of the traumatic events they faced in their lives.
You may be thinking, what traumatic experiences are they facing at such a young age? Well, they are all homeless! They once had a home, but now they don't, or some of them NEVER had a home. The parents are absent due to working long hours to provide. Some parents are deceased. Some parents are alcoholics. Some parents are facing emotional battles, and they can't be parents. Imagine living your life in those conditions where you have to take care of yourself and possibly your siblings. As a result of these life experiences, my clients (children) feel voiceless, unloved, angry, and do not know who they are.
So, in that moment of ministering to my lovely children, I offered God. Although I know that God is enough to face any situation, I also realized the children themselves have to learn this lesson deep down. At that point, I wanted to do more for them, but I knew nothing more to do.
Fast forward to next week; I realized my tears of sadness would soon be tears of joy because my children heard my voice when I was speaking about how to grow in joy, grow in love, and grow in peace. Ultimately this is the overall goal: to teach my clients (children) resiliency in every situation and build a relationship with God. Agape Life Prevention Center's foundation is God's, unconditional love. Please continue to support us as we help children navigate their trauma and express our compassion by providing tools to help each child on our caseload
In 2018, I became a mentor at an elementary school in the Metro Atlanta Area. Coming in, I had to follow a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, and as a mentor, I had to retrain the SEL mindset. The more I worked with the curriculum, the more I realized the students needed more. Don’t get me wrong, SEL is great, but students dealing with trauma need a more simplified version that would allow me to dig deeper.
So you may be wondering, what type of students do I work with? Let me tell you about these resilient young people! I deal with students whose parents were incarcerated and homeless. I deal with students who need love because their parents have abandoned them in some way. These are just a few challenges that my students faced at 5-12 years old. Traumatic life experiences can be difficult at any age, but especially in adolescent years. How would you navigate if you were in their shoes?
At this point, my passion is now on fire to help my students. So, I turned to my fellow teachers to seek guidance on what this group truly needed. The teachers provided great feedback, and so I began to create my social-emotional lessons. My lesson went very well, and I received great feedback from teachers, students, and counselors. Still more needed to be done, but we did cover a lot of ground.
Fast forward to 2020; we changed our program name from Expanding Social-Emotional Learning to Navigating Trauma Through Social-Emotional Learning because, at Agape Life Prevention Center, this is one of our purposes. We are helping children between the ages of 5-12 years to navigate their trauma and not carry those experiences into adulthood.
-Keep Following Our Journey.
In 2018, Tiara Bracey wanted to change how abused and neglected children are overlooked and under-supported in our educational system. I'll share essential and life-changing stories so you can better understand children who deal with trauma.