René, a former board member who works at Wells Fargo, talked about the response at her workplace. She said that several staff went out shopping on their lunch break and talked about how much fun they had picking out things for the boxes. One co-worker took her niece shopping and enjoyed that time together. Another co-worker asked if FEC was a place someone could call if they had a concern about abuse. The project created openings to talk about a topic not usually discussed at work. Wells Fargo staff filled over a dozen boxes.
At the Family Enhancement Center Gala on April 25, 2015, we built a pyramid with some of the boxes that were still empty. After telling those present about the project, we were delighted to see that all the empty boxes were taken by someone at the Gala to fill up. So it seems that the momentum of this effort keeps going!
It is our hope that this project helped people feel like they can do something positive in their community to prevent child abuse. The fun they had getting items for the boxes reflects the value of fun and play for our children. The Project provided an opening for talking about a subject that is often avoided. These conversations are so important in the community and in families. And it was so inspiring to see the heart-centered connection made between these adults and children within our community and our FEC families. We keep learning more from research about the impact of trauma on brain development, on health and well-being, and on our communities; but what we learned from this project is that we can start by saying NO to child abuse by tapping into the hearts of the community. To learn more about the pyramid project…
The Hague neighbors in St. Paul filled many boxes full of things that they remembered from their childhood. One neighbor recalled how important playing games was in her family. Another recalled the “bubble lady” in the neighborhood – all the children knew they could go to her house and find the supplies to make bubbles. One recalled the fun interactions while playing with sidewalk chalk. They talked about valuing their “village”, where they knew each other and took care of each other while respecting differences, and how important that was for kids growing up. One of the neighbors took a box to the restaurant where she works and her co-workers helped fill it up.
The Hague neighbors’ involvement with our project went deeper when they talked about how they thought these boxes of “activity stuff” could make a difference. Finding time and activities that increase interaction between parents and children strengthens that relationship. Fun time together builds up a reserve of care that can be drawn on when stressful things occur. The Hague neighbors could identify with the stressors that the parents the Family Enhancement Center works with experience, and could see how those could lead to losing control. They appreciated being able to contribute to something they feel will go directly to families in our area who will be able to use these donations.
My neighbor, Shelly Barton, said she wanted to participate but hoped it would be okay to give a check. We assured her that was a wonderful way to help. However, she decided to pick up a few items, and then found that she was having so much fun that she filled up a box. She went to several stores to get additional toys and books, and then included a yoga mat since she knew about the Healing Motion group. And she is already thinking about items to include in the box next year. −Barb Klatt, Board member