Happy New Year!!!! If you have been keeping up with us via social media or email you know that 2018 is going to be an important stop on our journey- the year we open the house. We are so excited to finally be able to fulfill our mission to help children at risk. Recently we held a fundraiser with a superhero theme and I thought I would share my speech for those who couldn't join us as a reminder of why we are on this journey.
"Thank you so much for being here. I want to talk about why we are here, about those children we want to help, that we want to be heroes for. I know you know these kids and have thought to yourself what can you do? Remember the boy in your school or your child’s’ school who might have gotten slightly pushed on the playground or in the hall and reacted by getting violent or screaming, definitely overreacting to what had happened and you thought hmm I wonder what made him react like that. Or think about the little girl at the table while at snack time or at the table during arts and crafts who sits there silently, not necessarily withdrawn but never asking for anything or saying anything while the other children are clamoring and wanting their turn or wanting more cookies. Maybe she nods her head or maybe she doesn’t. Again you ask hmm I wonder what is going on in her mind. Well when I worked at Casa, a home for abused children in Houston, we had kids like these but we knew what was on their minds. The little boy was constantly on alert, loud noises scared him. You see his mom’s boyfriend hit her all the time and sometimes with no provocation he was next. Sometimes he got beaten for doing nothing but making a noise. He never knew when it was coming. The little girl was neglected while her parents did drugs or went to look for drugs. As a baby she cried but never was comforted, as she got older she spent most of her time watching tv or feeding herself when there was food in the house. No one read her stories or played dolls with her. Her speech was delayed because no one really ever talked to her. She didn’t know she was important enough to ask for something, she didn’t even know she was loved. Imagine another little girl with big brown sad eyes, who hated going to the bathroom, she was three years old. Why didn’t she like to go to the bathroom because her parents thought it was a good idea to burn her with cigarettes when she had an accident in her pants. Three years old.
These are the children I knew, children who never left my heart. After a few months at Casa that little boy was the first one to ask for a hug in the morning and the first one to run over to another child to help them out. The little girl who never asked for anything became the little girl who could ask for more cookies and smile and say thank you when she got them and who soon joined the others in clamoring to sit on our laps while stories were read. The little girl with the sad brown eyes became the little girl with a twinkle in her eyes both when she was having fun and when she might have thought of doing something she wasn’t supposed to. I saw first hand what love and stability can do for children who through no fault of their own have found themselves in situations way beyond their control. I know Pinwheel Place can be that for children here in New Jersey and I know we all want that for any children in such circumstances.
So when you ask yourself what can you do know that you are doing it. By being here you are helping a child find hope and empowering them to believe that a safe and happy life is in their future and they are deserving enough and strong enough to have it. If you think about it most superheroes overcame adversity and transformed their lives. Let us be heroes and help our children do that. Thanks again for coming."
Looking forward to sharing the coming year with all of you. Wishing you all the best in the new year!