Angela Angela is 10 years old. By the time she arrived
at Tennyson Center for Children, she was taking several medications and exhibiting sexualized behaviors. She wore dirty clothes
and walked with her head down, dragging her feet.
From the age of four to seven, little Angela had been sexually abused
by her own stepfather, who was eventually incarcerated for the abuse. Her mother, who was also sexually abused by her stepfather
as a child, was dealing with the horrible guilt and realization of how this trauma kept her from protecting her own daughter.
After many months of working with caring staff who focused on her special needs, Angela moved into our Day Treatment
Program and now lives at home with her mother and new, caring stepdad. She is learning to trust again as well as how to develop
healthy relationships. It's wonderful to see her walking in the door with her head held high, her hair fixed, and wearing
brightly colored clothes!
AlanAlan's life was in chaos. His dad lost his job, and the family could barely make ends meet on his mom's
modest income. Then his mom started having seizures but could not afford medication. Because of the safety risk her condition
presented at work, she also lost her job. The holidays were just around the corner, and the family didn't have food or warm
coats for the winter.
Eight-year-old Alan came to Tennyson Center for Children because he was too disruptive to stay
in public school. He fought with classmates, talked back to his teachers, skipped class and didn't do his homework.
the help of community donations of food and clothing, NBA Tennyson Center for Children was able to feed and clothe Alan's
family during this rough time. Alan responded well to the structured environment at NBA Tennyson Center for Children and eventually
was able to return to public school. In fact, he has pulled his grades up from D's and F's to A's and B's! Both his mom and
dad now have jobs, and his mom is on medication to help her seizures.
Their family survived this terrible time because
people in our community remembered the children and their families and shared what they had.
Timmy Timmy, age 6, stole food after he arrived for treatment at NBA Tennyson Center for Children and hid
it under his pillow. When asked by one of our counselors why he was hiding food--that there was plenty available here--Timmy's
story came out.
His mother was a prostitute. Timmy's father beat him and then "made up" through sexual involvement
with Timmy. Because of the household violence, things like regular meal times and having food on hand were unheard of. Timmy
had learned to steal and hide food for his self-preservation. It took Timmy a long time to trust that good meals and snacks
are readily available at NBA Tennyson Center for Children. Now that Timmy isn't worried about eating, he can focus on his
Carla For the first 10 years of her life, Carla didn't know what love was. All she knew was getting slapped
across the face, punched in the chest, or screamed at because she was "worthless." She was seldom cared for by her mother,
but usually by one or another of her mother's live-in boyfriends. Some of the men took advantage of Carla or let their anger
out on her. Even at age 10, Carla began hanging out with a group of older kids and bragged that she was in a gang. In her
healing process, Carla learned to understand her inherent value and continues to stay on the right path of decency and integrity.
Matt Matt's parents divorced, and in such an especially difficult way that Matt started a fire in anger.
The fire burned down the house. When Matt came for treatment, he was angry with himself for burning down the home and blamed
himself for the divorce. He was still playing with matches. After extensive treatment at NBA Tennyson Center for Children,
he went to another city to live with his loving grandparents. Now Matt is an A and B student and plays on the football team.
Cody Cody's dad was a good shot. The large, powerful man would take his rifle and hold it near Cody's head,
making threats about "blasting" the little boy. Fortunately, he never did. His father made the threats because Cody tried
to protect his mother. Cody's father would violently beat Cody's mother. When Cody tried to intervene, his father would make
him stand in a corner, then aim a rifle near Cody's head. Cody's story is startling to hear, but here at NBA Tennyson Center
for Children it is actually a very typical life story for the children we treat. Cody's recovery continues. As with many children,
it is a long and difficult process, involving special schooling, intensive therapy, and giving structure to his life.
Joe The cycle of child abuse was certainly being repeated in Joe's family. As a 10-year-old child, Joe's
mother had left home because of abusive parents. At age nine, Joe started hurting himself, acting out because he'd been sexually
and physically abused. When Joe entered our program, he had already been in another treatment center and two psychiatric hospitals.
Eventually his mother joined him in therapy and they have begun to make progress.
You hear the term "cycle of child
abuse" often, but it has real meaning. As one staff member said, "I've never seen a case of first-generation abuse." Abuse
is a learned behavior from parents and caregivers, and gets passed down like a terrible legacy. We know at NBA Tennyson Center
for Children that healing helps break the cycle of child abuse and has a ripple effect of helping all of society.
Gary At age six, Gary spent two months in a psychiatric hospital. His young life had been filled with horror.
He and four other siblings lived with a cocaine-addicted mother whose home had always been filled with drug addicts. Some
of these visitors sexually abused Gary. He had been shut in the closet on many occasions. Gary needed what so many take for
granted--food, clothing, shelter, and most of all, safety. Now he is receiving therapy, a reliable daily routine, and loving
care at NBA Tennyson Center for Children. Gary is on his way to ultimate healing.
JoeyJoey's story is especially haunting. He had been sexually
abused by both his mother and stepfather. The abuse started on Christmas Day when Joey was 7 years old. The stepfather told
Joey he had some special gifts hidden in the bathroom. Joey ran excitedly into the bathroom. His stepfather shut the door
behind them and raped the young boy.
Though Joey is now receiving treatment and therapy at NBA Tennyson Center for
Children, his parents have refused to participate. Since his arrival, more dreadful secrets have been shared, and his parents'
rights have been severed.
Joey has shown that he is a good learner and has a great memory. He has also become a leader
in his school. Joey hopes he will someday find a terrific foster family. Christmas has a special meaning for a lot of people
but has been a time of horrific stress for Joey. Gradually he is learning the real meaning of the holiday, and maybe someday
Christmas will again be for him the joyous occasion it was meant to be.
read at: http://www.childabuse.org