MISSION AT WORK: IMPACT STORIES
MAKING AN IMPACT EVERY DAY
Joel and Tara’s Adoption Story
Sometimes Hope Is All You Need
Joel and Tara came to CHOR with the hope of starting a family. They wanted to adopt a 4-year-old boy Max, with whom they had flourished a wonderful connection despite the short time period. When they were a day closer to Max’s adoption, they were informed that Max was placed with a family member instead. The couple were torn but did not lose hope. Just in 4 months, they were contacted by CHOR to see if they were willing to foster a newborn, safe-haven baby with an expectation that they would adopt the child. Unknown to Joel and Tara, the young birth father and the paternal grandparents of the baby stepped forth to take custody, and once again the couple was forced to experience the devastating loss of yet another child from their home.
As an old African saying goes, “At the bottom of patience, one finds heaven”, Joel and Tara were finally able to raise their small, happy family. Today, not only are they a proud foster parent of a 2-year-old girl Lexi and her newborn brother, but also a biological parent to their now 2-year-old son. The entire staff of CHOR’s Foster Care and Adoption Program assisted Joel and Tara on every step of the couple’s journey from providing them with resources, support, and most importantly hope when things were dark and uncertain.
Written By: Maryann Cicale, Permanency Supervisor
CHOR Family & Youth Services
Kathy’s and Rebecca #GivingNow Story
As the world faces the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been blessed by the generosity of local community members. These local community members, Kathy Bowers, and her daughter, Rebecca Bates, took it upon themselves to sew masks for our staff with no desire for payment or recognition of any kind. Their desire came from their own work in the healthcare field and a simple desire to give, plain and simple. They recognized the fact that the employees of our Residential Program do not have the latitude to “work from home” and that a gesture of donating their homemade masks would provide protection for both staff and kids.
These staff are truly essential and need to present to work each day ready to continue their commitment to our kids. It only feels right to recognize this generosity and the “warm fuzzies” it creates for all of us at The Children’s Home. We are, yet again, the fortunate recipient of very gracious community members.
“Thank you is a simple sentiment, but it is conveyed with the upmost sincerity. Thank you Kathy and Rebecca!! “
Written By: Kristen Mattos, MA, JSOCC, Director of Residential
The Children’s Home of Reading
James’s ERC Success Story
Everybody Deserves a Second Chance
James, a 13 year old young man was admitted to the Evening Reporting Center (ERC) program in March 2019. When he was initially admitted, he was aloof and would barely interact with anyone in the program. Things went downhill for James when he did not show up for the program for a whole week. This was a clear violation of his probation. A few days later, he was detained by the officers at his home as he came by to collect fresh sets of clothes for himself.
I believe that everybody deserves a second chance. I trusted James. I requested the officers to let James re-join the ERC program. Within just a month, James was a changed young man. He and I were able to build a therapeutic relationship over the time period.
James was very respectful to staff and became a very positive peer to others, even those that were older than him. He even volunteered at Hope Rescue Mission to serve dinner to the homeless men of the shelter. He successfully completed the program and even returned to visit me and other staff after the completion.
Cornell R. Morton, ERC Berks Program Supervisor
The Children’s Home of Reading
Jane’s GRTF Story
There’s Always More to a Story than the Evaluation We Receive
After multiple in-patients and residential treatment placements, Jane came to CHOR in 2019 from yet another extended stay at an adolescent mental health inpatient hospital. She was adopted at the age of 3 and did not have the best relationship with her adoptive mother. At first, it seemed like the reason Jane showcased aggressive, defensive behavior, and minimal cooperation to facilitate family counseling or treatment were primarily because of the complex dynamics between Jane and her mother. As a transitioning adult, she felt that she was not being cared for or understood by her mother leading up to numerous encounters of Jane running away from home, stealing, refusal to engage in follow up services, poor medication management, and lying and manipulation. This wasn’t easy on Jane’s mother as well. She was equally torn and felt misunderstood by her adoptive daughter. She, like Jane, had numerous negative experiencing in her life as an adoptive parent.
In order to reconcile this complex mother-daughter relationship, as a clinician, it was very challenging for me to navigate what Jane and her mother needed the most to work out their differences and build a lasting bond of love and trust. Eventually, after months of counseling and hard work from all three of us, we were able to ameliorate the situation. Jane started opening up with her mother, became more forgiving of others, started letting go of her past traumas, and began accepting herself for who she is. Jane began engaging in her individual and family sessions, and was now seen as a positive leader by her peers. However, Jane’s reputation of trying to “pretend” to normalize and provide a false impression of things working for the better just for the sake of others did make me scrutinize her behavior a bit more. I was never so happy to be proven wrong. One day, I encountered Jane’s then-roommate taking Jane’s personal belonging and wearing them. That assured me that Jane was actually letting her guards down and becoming more accepting of others.
Jane was discharged from GRTF successfully and I have heard positive reports from her mother several times since she left the program. As a clinician, being able to work on this case was a very challenging yet fulfilling experience. This story reminds me that there is always more to a story than what is on paper, or in the evaluation we receive. I want to thank Jane and her mother for trusting & allowing me help her mature into a smart and empathetic young woman.
Kristin White, MA, LPC, Certified TF-CBT Therapist, Lead Clinician Girls Residential Program
The Children’s Home of Reading
Lauren Mosback’s #GivingStory
Lauren Mosback is a distinguished author, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Licensed Behavioral Therapist. She specializes in helping children, teens, and their families navigate issues related to anxiety, depression, ADHD, grief/loss, trauma, social skill difficulties, and low self-esteem. Just when we needed them most, Lauren stepped up and helped our foster/adoptive families by providing expert advice on incorporating positive coping skills to help children experiencing stress/anxiety especially during these strenuous times. She also donated 15 of her new books, My Sister’s Super Skills, to allow our foster/adoptive families to utilize this free resource that educates individuals about the power of sibling relationships and love to deal with any challenges life throws your way.
Her incredible new book, My Sister’s Super Skills teaches young kids positive coping mechanisms to help manage emotions and promote positive social and emotional development while highlighting the importance of an emotional, growth-oriented mindset and healthy sibling relationships.
Childhood mental health is imperative for the overall development of a child. Family is the cornerstone of the wellbeing of a child. In this video, Lauren talks about how families can work together with their kids to help them emerge out of a challenging situation through the power of love and kindness. She also illustrates some examples from the book to showcase ways to deal with stress, especially during these challenging times. My Sister’s Super Skills is an interactive and entertaining book that is told from the viewpoint of a child who learns about a few important life skills through his older sister.
Lauren is also the winner of the Mom’s Choice Award for her book, My Sister’s Super skills. The book talks about how children can learn important skill sets that they can use to navigate challenging emotional encounters that come childhood and adolescence. You can buy her amazing book here.