We have also been blessed with many new children this year, children who are traumatised and hurt, needing a safe space. Children express their pain in severe acting out behaviour. Or in sadness and grieving.
Yesterday we held our last therapy meeting of the year. Our resident psychologist, social work team, senior child care team, and the student psychologists who provide assessments and therapeutic intervention, were there. 43 children received therapeutic intervention and assessment this year from the psychologists. This excludes the individual and group therapy given by our social workers, and life skills by our child care workers. Every child was discussed, their needs, and the outcomes, and every child made progress.
Children start to build relationships. They are able to express their hurt and anger, and are able to leave some of it behind. They learn to set boundaries, and manage their anger. Their school work improves. Their self-esteem grows. They become confident and smart. Their moral reasoning develops. They develop a sense of reality. They start to discover themselves, and develop a sense of autonomy and self-worth.
They start to internalise that in order to make friends they need to be nice to others. They become aware of the consequences of their actions, and that making better decisions has positive outcomes for their lives. They start to understand why they are at Kids Haven, and the possibilities they have for a good future.
They become happy children, with hope, and something to look forward to. Every child is special, born for a reason, and needs to find their purpose in life, to become the best that they can be.
We ended the meeting with such a good feeling. Our therapy centre started last year. We saw the deteriorating behaviour and mental health of children coming into care, and the therapy centre was established for us to be better able to their needs. After 2 years we can see the difference we are making in children’s lives, and right now that is the greatest gift. Without the support of donors, staff and friends, this would not have been possible. My dream is to be able to offer this service to other children in need in the community around Kids Haven, who otherwise would not be able to access such services.
Christmas is a time for family and friends, and at Kids Haven it is a very special time of year, a time of goodwill. Many donors arrive with food and gifts for our children. All the children that can go home to family and friends or hosts, go home. Then it is time for those children who do not have anywhere to go to have the best time of their lives. Some are children too unstable to go anywhere, others simply have nowhere to go. So we arrange for them to have as much fun as possible, and to be given individual attention. Every year we find that some children have never experienced all the fun things of Christmas before, one even said ‘I thought it was a time where everyone got drunk and beat each other’. And because there are fewer children and they get more attention, we have some wonderful breakthroughs with difficult to reach children at this time. That is why Christmas at Kids Haven is special to me. Some unstable children are stabilised and better able to face the new year.