Provided by Marcia Goodman
Every child deserves to grow up in a safe home surrounded by love. Since 1983 in the United States, we’ve recognized April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, with the goal of having all children be treated as they deserve. This is an issue close to my heart, as my professional background made me painfully aware of the effects of child abuse.
I started my career working at a homeless shelter. My favorite part was when families would secure housing. I was thrilled to help them, and I went treasure hunting to find furniture for their homes. For some, it was the first time that children had their own bed and dresser. For some women, it was the first time they had living room furniture. It was never new furniture, but they were truly grateful.
Later, when I was a young social worker, I worked with three unrelated girls who were placed in foster care at a young age. I cared about the kids I worked with, but these three were special to me for some reason. They had it rough even in foster care. Finally, they were adopted. But even then, it wasn’t easy for them or for the adoptive family. I worried that it wouldn’t work out for them. After they aged out or turned eighteen, I didn’t know what happen to them.
For over twenty years, I wondered how they would end up and how they would manage life, especially after their teenage years. I prayed that they would make it.
Almost like an answer to my prayers, each of these girls contacted me in their late twenties and thirties, through Facebook and phone calls. And one I even happened to run into! They simply said thanks to me and that they were doing well. I cried and was amazed and touched.
Social work is a hard job in which you are forced to “do more with less.” There aren’t enough resources. I found that it was getting more difficult to continue to do foster care and adoption as I had four kids of my own. I wanted to do more for the kids that were in foster care. Some I wanted to take home. I loved helping families, but it was taking its toll.
I moved on and became a realtor. I love this job, as I am still helping families and young adults find homes where they can settle in. I love helping sellers make their home attractive to buyers.
Because of my background, it’s especially important to me that people are comfortable in the homes they live in because this supports the wellness of the family. Helping families settle into the right home within their budget is a small way to help prevent family stressors, which can lead to abuse. But stopping child abuse in this country takes more: It takes all of us.
How You Can Help
This year’s awareness campaign is focusing on the three things all of us can do within our own communities, to have a positive impact on local children and prevent child abuse.
Each of us has the power to positively impact a child’s life simply by stepping up and serving as a mentor. Organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Stop Child Abuse Now, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America offer programs and are always in need of volunteers from all walks of life. Churches and other civic organizations are also great places to reach out and volunteer your time working with children. Perhaps you could coach a local sports team or simply help out a neighbor. All positive interactions make a difference!
Prevent Child Abuse America advises, “Speak up for policies, legislation and programs that promote healthy families and prevent child abuse and neglect. See how your voice can make a difference, from local initiatives all the way to Washington, D.C.”
Visit their website at PreventChildAbuse.org for easy ways to make a difference. Every voice matters, so make yours heard.
Organizations like Prevent Child Abuse America and Stop Child Abuse Now work to protect child victims. They also run proactive programs to educate parents, provide prevention tools and work to prevent instances before they happen. This training and intervention is funded from donations from people like you.
This month, I ask you to do what you can. Mentor, advocate and donate. Together we can help every child live in a home where they are comfortable, loved and supported.
Marcia Goodman, Realtor with Samson Properties, Gainesville, VA is a highly credentialed, experienced staging realtor specializing in residential real estate. To learn more about how she can help you prepare for your next move, or to receive her free staging eBook, contact Marcia by clicking here, or call 703-819-4776.