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Alex’s Story

Five year old Alex came to shelter early in the morning. He and his mother left from a household torn apart by violence. Since his time with SafeNet, Alex’s life is slowly piecing itself back together. 

He came to the shelter at 1:45 a.m. in September.  He was in his pajamas and a jacket, and he arrived by police car.    He was 5 years old and frightened.  He kept repeating that he wanted “Sissy.”   We later learned that was his cat.

Alex’s life had been ripped apart by domestic violence.  Coming to shelter was only more loss to him.   He lost his home, his toys, his cat and all familiar routines.   It had been only 7 months since the violence began.  Things were not perfect before, but the recent physical violence seemed to be getting worse.  Alex had witnessed his mother being pushed from a moving vehicle, hit with a flying plate and having her head slammed against the wall.

Alex went to bed that night at SafeNet with a small home-made quilt furnished by the Quilt Guild, which was his to keep, and a little stuffed animal.   Our goal was to develop a trusting bond between Alex and his mother and to expand his world to include other supportive adults in his life.   We wanted him to learn that the fear and anger he felt within were not who he was, but rather feelings that he could learn to handle.  We wanted him to have fun and we wanted to honor his individuality.

Alex and his mother were in shelter and Bridge House (transitional housing) for 8 months and attended weekly support groups for another 8 months after that. Within 6 weeks, the most difficult of his behaviors ceased. He started school and did fairly well in the beginning. Later in the school year, he did very well.

These children experience chaos, threats, exposure to weapons, and repeated homelessness.  Even with these experiences, the stories of the progress children have made seem nothing short of miraculous.  And the best part is that they are taught to have healthy relationships and end the generational cycle of abuse.

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