Buddy at almost 6 y/o in our play therapy room.
I have so many exciting things to report for our project 'Set kids free from trauma of sexual/physical abuse!'
First, let me tell you about a boy we'll call 'Buddy' to protect his confidentiality. Buddy's mother was a drug abuser and began to abuse him in the womb by taking drugs and drinking while she was pregnant. As an infant, he was neglected by his mother and abandoned by his father who also abused him in the womb by beating his mother and throwing her down the stairs while carrying Buddy. This continued his existence until the authorities and his grandparents took him away to safety when he was 2 yrs old. He was behind in crawling, walking and couldn't ride a bike even with training wheels. He also wet the bed several times every single night and had horrific nightmares. Grandma had to sleep upstairs to keep him from waking up scared and screaming for about 2 full years! No one will ever know what he went through before he was rescued.
Starting school, he had fits of anger that caused him to lose control and destroy the classroom, throwing desks and endangering other children. His grandparents were at their wits end trying to control him and love him to emotional normalcy. Psychiatrists put this child on numerous psychotropic medications and as a result his weight went to 100 lbs at age 6 and by 7 he was 160 lbs and could only wear men's size clothing! This did not help his acceptance by other children. Neighbor's heard him howling in anger at times as well as his grandparent's struggles to control him. Teachers at school had to restrain him 2-3 times per day and called his grandma as often as 10 times per day! He finally beat up on his grandmother and tackled his grandfather at only 7 years old. His psychiatrist wanted to put him into a state mental hospital permanently. Without the right help, Buddy was likely destined to hurt someone severely and to end up in the criminal justice system, his life lost as a result of his own victimizations.
His grandparent's neighbor referred them to Innovative Alternatives, Inc. and our Victim Assistance Program. His therapist recommended that his doctors change and almost eliminate his meds and taught his grandparents techniques to use during his anger episodes and when to give him some personal space to prevent escalation. Grandma said our counselor was the only professional other than teachers, who believed what they were going through and how hard it was to control a 6 y/o!
Much personal investment of love and dedication by family members and professional intervention later, Buddy's Grandma tells us, "Now he has learned how to get along with others and to make friends. He also rides his bike, skates and rides his electric scooter. And of course loves his Xbox and iPad. He has come along way! Thank you!" Not only that, Buddy is a slim 9 year-old, whom you would never recognize from his picture! His teachers say he is very smart and will catch up to grade level. He has learned how to handle his anger when it hits him and places himself in voluntary time-outs, away from others when needed and can communicate when any touching will only make things worse for him. He is a sweet child whom everyone loves and admires for his triumph over his troubles! IA cannot take all the credit for this child's progress but we are honored to have been a part of it! Most of the credit belongs to his grandparents who never gave up on this child whom they love until he got the right help, as well as to a dedicated team of professionals. We give the lion's share of the credit to Buddy'--and his determination to belong and to show who he is really meant to become in life, despite his very difficult beginnings!
IA now has a chance to help another fifteen-hundred people per year! Every single child has a purpose to fulfill in life, just like Buddy who is yet to achieve his, but is getting there! The grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office of the State of Texas which funds this project has removed the cap to allow IA to serve 2,500 people per year if the expansion grant we submitted last week is awarded in September! Our grant dollars will increase from $240,000 to $630,000! This is the great news and an amazing opportunity! The challenge is that our required match amount will also increase from $60,000 per year to $155,000 annually! If it is within your ability to consider doing so, please think about making even a small monthly donation of $10 to $50 per month to support this program and to allow us to increase our service numbers by over 100%! Don't forget that all donations up to $1,000 are matched by 30% by Global Giving on March 18th from 8 am to 10:59 CSTor 9 am to 11:59 EST.
Not only this, but under this grant IA is also offering bilingual services, faith-based service (only on request and definition of our clients), play therapy as you already know and IA is now expanding services to target neglected, abused and financially exploited elderly persons in this particular grant (though this GG project will remain dedicated to children). In many ways, the elderly are just as, or more vulnerable than infants in some respects. They are very easily isolated and controlled by abusers by not allowing them into public--unlike children who must attend school and have more chances to 'tell', and by financially exploiting the them out of their life savings as well!
If awarded this grant, IA will also provide free services through 10 new nonprofit agencies on-site at their locations to allow victims of all ages who cannot travel to our current offices to access services--essentially expanding our reach from the city of Galveston to the ship channel area of Houston! It is an exciting time at IA!
We thank you for becoming a part of our mission and our success thus far and we will also let you know immediately if the new grant is funded! Thank you and bless you for making our work possible!
Sharon Bayus, MA, LPC-S
President & CEO