Replacing Domestic Abuse with Joy and Hope

Replacing domestic abuse with joy and hope Think for a moment about your favorite childhood Christmas traditions. Most families have a variety of things they do and the food they eat only at the holidays, and just thinking about any of them can propel your mind back into childhood. We often take the existence of those traditions and the joy they create for granted. In some ways, they form the foundations for families across the generations. That’s part of why Christmas is so important at Sheltering Wings. When families spend Christmas with us, they’ve left their homes behind, and often also have to do without the traditions surrounding the holidays. They can’t visit with relatives or go from store to store. Typically, they’ve left most of their possessions behind, so the familiar Christmas ornaments and special stuffed animals aren’t there to reinforce memories. It can be very difficult and depressing. So our staff and volunteers ensure that Christmas is an extraordinary celebration. We help the families living under our roof create new traditions. The mothers and children participate in activities like baking and decorating cookies. Santa Claus makes a special visit to listen carefully to the wishes of our youngsters, and groups bring a variety of celebrations and other activities that build up the excitement. When Christmas morning arrives, our families open their doors and the children’s eyes grow wide as they witness the generosity of our community. Eventually, families move on to safe, independent lives outside our doors, but we know they bring many of the traditions we’ve shared with them, to start new foundations that will live...
A Bold Proposal

A Bold Proposal

Train up a child in the way he should go. Even when he is old he will not depart from it. — PROVERBS 22:6  I HAVE A BOLD PROPOSAL: we should celebrate Christmas in November and Thanksgiving in December. It seems backwards that we spend a Thursday in November expressing gratitude for life’s blessings, and just hours later, we’re celebrating consumerism at Black Friday sales to kickoff the Christmas season. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Of course, it’s tough to change traditions. And when those traditions don’t make sense, we just shrug our shoulders and accept them. Most of the time, that’s harmless. But for some families, what has become traditional is unhealthy and downright dangerous. I think about that each time a child comes to live with us. What have they seen at home and how are they processing it? What unhealthy attitudes about relationships have become normal? What patterns do they repeat because they’ve been modeled at home? I vividly remember one little boy looking at his mother and saying, “I’m going to hit you in the head and you will die.” He wasn’t being angry or malicious. He was simply repeating what he had heard the adults in his home say. That’s why our work with children is so critical. If we can break that cycle of abuse and prevent little boys and girls from growing up in homes where domestic violence is a way of life, we’ll achieve a true victory. This holiday season, I hope you’ll create wonderful memories (and maybe some new traditions) with your family. And I’ll spend my family’s traditional...
Thankful for a Quiet Moment

Thankful for a Quiet Moment

Something interesting happens every Thanksgiving (and every Christmas Day): our Crisis Line becomes very quiet. The number of calls from women who are being abused takes a significant drop. You might think that puts smiles on our faces, but it doesn’t. We know exactly what’s happening. Some women are taking a deep breath and putting up with bad behavior in an abusive relationship so the children in their home can have a “nice” holiday. Others are enjoying a momentary respite from violence, as they’re surrounded by family and friends, and abusers rarely act out with witnesses around. Sure enough, after the holidays pass, the number of calls spikes. Domestic violence does not just go away. There are other factors that contribute to that increase. Face it, the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year. We like to think of Thanksgiving and Christmas as happy times … and there are certainly joyful moments … but there are also challenges. It’s a time of financial stress for many families. Often, family members may drink more than normal. Long-simmering disagreements and jealousies may explode into vicious arguments. And the days following holiday joys can be an emotional letdown. All of those situations can trigger abuse. If you’re facing abuse, or you suspect that a friend or family member is in an abusive situation, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of violence. The most important is having a safety plan. That can include having safe places to go if domestic violence becomes a problem, knowing how to exit the house without the abuser’s knowledge,...

Food

Christian Support Center(317) 767-0365   Community Action Food Pantry(317) 745-2642 Cornerstone Christian Church Food Pantry(317) 852-2411 Division of Family & Children(317) 272-4917 Food Stamps(317) 272-4917 Light and Life Church(317) 839-5151 Meals On Wheels(317) 745-3469 Mill Creek Christian Support Center Food Pantry(317) 539-6157 or (317) 539-4512 Red Cross(317) 839-8027 or (317) 745-2580   St. Marks Food Pantry(317) 839-6730 WIC Program(317)...

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