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The Worry Wall

7 Mar

On Friday, I had the huge privilege of going on a tour of the Childhelp Children’s Center of Arizona, located in downtown Phoenix.

From the outside, the building is unassuming; you’d never know that more than 36,000 child abuse and neglect cases were processed through this very building last year alone.

Let that sink in for a minute: 36,000 cases…in one year…in one center.

Often, this is the first stop for Phoenix’s Child Protective Services and others also bring children who are in danger to the center.

The moment I walked in, I experienced a wave of emotion. I immediately felt a sense of sadness, considering all of the terrible reasons why this place even existed. Looking around after a minute though, my heart warmed as I noticed the stuffed animals sprinkled around the room and the personal touches throughout the place that made it more inviting, downplaying all else.

First, our group was taken to the play room (pictured below).

Between the colorful mural of the farm and all of the animals, to the dress up closet packed with frilly skirts, stacks of hats and other play items, you could see how the Childhelp Advocacy Center was a haven.

I have to say though, this was the happiest place in the whole building.

Next, our tour guide walked us to a row of beautifully painted and decorated exam rooms where pediatricians evaluate the health of every child brought in to the center. As we entered a room decorated with mermaids and Nemo (my son’s favorite movie at the moment – pictured right) my heart sank as I saw a professional photographer’s camera attached to the exam room’s table.

This was where pediatricians also collected evidence. Bruises. Scars. Bites. Scratches. All the pictures are taken to help build a case to advocate for the child.

Then we saw the Southwestern-themed room with a teddy bear seated in the room. This is where the children are interviewed, but the teddy bear isn’t for comfort; it’s a tool a child can use to demonstrate what has been done to them and where.

Next, we climbed the stairs and encountered dozens of small, sardine-like cubicles housing detectives, lieutenants, and other officers who help sort through the cases and collect evidence. All of the positions are taken care of by grants. All of the rest of the workers in the facility are also funded by grants and they have a number of volunteers who endure a grueling training period and commit to volunteering for at least six months.

For me, after seeing a number of therapy rooms designed to help the kids process through their experiences, one room really hit me hard.

The Worry Wall

Taped to one side of the room was “The Worry Wall,” where children are encouraged to write their biggest worry on a Post-It note and tack it to the wall, leaving it there to defeat their fears.

“My step dad.”

“Being alone with a man.”

“Bruises.”

(There’s a much higher ratio of girls to boys that are brought in, especially ages 4 to 6.)

What are your worries? I know mine can’t compare.

So, this is what your dollars go to. For every dollar you give, 90 cents of each goes directly to funding the programs that assist these kids and help them recover from such devastating situations.

Please donate to Childhelp and support me as I raise $5,000 for the organization to run the Boston Marathon on April 18.

You can donate by visiting my “Donate” page at the top and all donations are 100 percent tax-deductible and will immediately go directly to the organization.

Thank you for supporting this worthwhile organization. If you’re in the Phoenix area, I strongly suggest that you take this 1-hour tour. Let me know if you’re interested.

A World Where Fish Never Die

16 Feb

I had the brilliant idea to get my son a goldfish for his Valentine’s Day present since he’s a big “Finding Nemo” fan now.

What I thought was the quintessential, tried and true, “first fish” turned out to be sort of a disaster that has nearly culminated in explaining the circle of life a little too early.

Here’s the timeline:

Take son to pick out first fish at pet store on Saturday (check!)

Snap photo of happy child with first fish (check!)

Prep new fish aquarium with cleanest water on planet, get fish acclimated and transition to bowl (check!)

Four hours later I’m Facebooking my worries about the clearly ailing goldfish that’s spending far too much time in the bottom corner of the aquarium.

Next morning: dead fish.

Sunday

Send hubby to pet store to purchase the replacement fish for another 13 cents (check)
Go through previous steps (check)
Fish not looking so hot by 10 p.m….oh boy.
Dead in the morning.

:sigh:

Two goldfish later, my son is still none the wiser, but we’ll see what his reaction is when he sees that his itty-bitty, 13-cent golfish has morphed overnight into a mammoth (but golden!) beta fish (I hear they’re tougher). Just another day being “supermom” and saving the day.

Okay, so we’ve all probably experienced this at one point or another; as a child or perhaps as a parent. Our innate desire is to protect our children and shelter them from a world that’s far too dark and disappointing for as long as we can. At 2, my little guy’s world is still open and full of possibilities. Not sure I’m ready to explain death to him. Or pain. Or suffering.

You see, my son is growing up in an ideal situation. He’s loved and cared for 24/7 by his mommy, his daddy or another nurturing family member. He has no abuse in his immediate surroundings. He’s innocent.

Not every child has that, in fact, far too many don’t have that. And it completely breaks my heart.

Isagenix & Childhelp

I’m fortunate to work for a company that cares about freeing people physically and financially from pain, it’s part of our mission. Isagenix partners with Childhelp because the organization is at the forefront of preventing abuse and helping children across the U.S. receive the assistance they need to grow up safe and secure.

Early on, one of the company’s owners, Jim Pierce, was instrumental in bringing this partnership together. A victim of childhood abuse himself, the subject is close to his heart and one that he vowed to impact in a positive way in adulthood.

He’s doing that and we were privileged to have an article in the Arizona Republic recently dedicated to his story and connection with Childhelp.

Read the full story.

I’m so proud to work for a company with this kind of commitment to humanity. Not only are we helping people live healthier, revitalized, rejuvenated lives, but we’re spreading it to our future generations.

Please learn more about Childhelp by visiting Childhelp.org and visit my “Donate” page if you find it to be a cause you could support. Every dollar donated to supporting me in the Boston Marathon goes directly to Childhelp. The $5,000 goal is a large one, but I know we can do it together!

Every child deserves to have someone in their life that cares about protecting their innocence; even if it’s helping them to believe for a little while longer that fish never die.

Thanks for your support! :)

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