Thank you for visiting our fundraising page! This is Team Burning Brightle's 3rd year participating in The Tree House Tour de Cookie. We love everything about this family-fun day of riding, cookies, expo activities, raising awareness about child abuse and neglect, and philanthropy.
Here is our story and why your donation matters.
Each of the children and family members who make up these statistics have a name. And a story.
While you may believe this kind of thing doesn’t happen where you come from, the numbers speak for themselves. Child abuse and neglect do NOT discriminate. It is happening to your son’s friend from Cub Scouts, kids in your youth group at church, your daughter’s BFF, the one who bullies your child at recess, the cousins who live together in low-income housing….the list could go on and on. Yes, it is happening right in YOUR OWN backyard.
The good news?! There are safe places where these stories can be shared and handled with care. Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) like The Tree House CAC of Montgomery County provide a range of specialized services to children and families impacted by child abuse and neglect. Among the services provided are forensic interviews, medical services performed by a child abuse certified pediatrician, victim advocacy, psychological assessments, and on-going therapy. Staff are trained on the impact of child abuse and neglect as well as trauma informed evidence-based practices. Therapists and other staff are equipped and able to screen, assess, advocate for, support, and work with children and families. Together, they provide appropriate medical, psychological, psychiatric, and therapeutic interventions tailored to each child. In general, this multidisciplinary approach allows the family to stabilize and work through the resulting trauma from the abuse and/or neglect.
In 2015, The Tree House provided services for over 700 children and families (over 800 in 2016). The Phoenix Family is just ONE of them. Over the years, we went through multiple therapists with the girls…many times taking months for the girls to get settled and begin to share…only to be told those stories couldn’t be told. Most of these therapists had the best of intentions, but were either ill-equipped or not permitted to provide the level of specialized services that the girls and our family so desperately needed. As a result, the trauma continued to boil and eventually reached the tipping point…burning into the lives of the girls, our family, and members of our community. At just 4 and 5 years old, the girls were experiencing such severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that they became self-injurious and aggressive towards others. At times they even struggled with suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts and behaviors. These cries for help reached the point of requiring multiple acute hospitalizations and eventually extended placements in a Residential Treatment Center. We worked with countless professionals over the 5 years that we were therapeutic foster parents and the majority of them lost hope and labeled our girls as “damaged beyond repair”.
Today we are considered a “success story”. There is NO doubt in my mind that the greatest influence on our success is the trauma-based and child & family-centered services we have received through The Tree House. While our friends and their children were rushing off to extra-curricular activities, we were heading to therapy. For two years we spent the majority of our afternoons and evenings at The Tree House, participating in individual (x3), family, group, and child/parent therapy. In addition to providing the highest level of therapeutic interventions, our Tree House therapists (and all staff from receptionist to Director) believed in and advocated for our family, and the potential the girls had if afforded permanency through adoption. This advocacy was crucial to the court case and lead to us being able to finalize all of the adoptions. In short, the services provided were nothing short of life-saving.
To use the words of The Tree House,
"The Tree House CAC of Montgomery County Maryland is dedicated to reducing trauma and promoting healing for child victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Through an innovative collaborative process between the private and public sectors, key professionals come together on behalf of the best interests of victims. This effective early intervention is essential to ensure that an abused child or adolescent develops into a healthy and productive adult, capable of forming trusting and loving relationships. Underpinning the work of The Tree House is the belief that the cycle of child abuse can be broken and the knowledge that child abuse and neglect is preventable!"
Our girls were highlighted in The Tree Houses’ 2015 Annual Report. Their names were changed for confidentiality, but I love how hope and healing is highlighted here and in the Tree House's mission and vision shared above. All too often we hear about the negative impacts of abuse and neglect. Most recently the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study has brought attention to the potential for long-term affects including early death, increased incidences of incarceration, physical illness, addiction, and depression to name a few. While this is important information, this doesn’t have to be the plight of our children. When offered timely & appropriate evaluations and treatment recommendations coupled with effective therapeutic services, children and families are able to strengthen. This increases resiliency and has the potential to have a strong impact on reversing the negative impacts of adverse childhood experiences. Our girls are living proof of this.
|Elisabeth Thibeau||05/05/2017||$50.00||I wish I was home to participate. Have a fabulous ride!||Cheryl Booth||05/05/2017||$20.00||Tim & Hannah Phoenix||05/05/2017||$120.00||Elana and Tom Hoopes||04/26/2017||$100.00||Great cause.... Enjoy the event.||Marion Schaefer||04/17/2017||$50.00||I love you all. Wish I could ride with you! Love. Gramma/Gigi ❤️❤️❤️||Glenn & Teri Phoenix||04/12/2017||$50.00|