My Life as a Support Coordinator-

In January, it began. I was going from an Investigator for the Children’s Division to working with a new culture of individuals: The Developmentally Disabled. Many people see that and immediately; as I did myself; judge that these individuals are not on a normal intellectual level. Little did I know, my assumptions were wrong. I’ve met 1 brilliant individual who has experienced life through a wheelchair. Despite the physical disability, this individual has made me laugh and see life through a different set of eyes.

So I’ve learned again, one should nor judge someone based on a title.

As an entry level career woman, I was not for sure how I would adjust to my new career or if the passion that lived in me prior would re surface. Many times, I recall conversations with my dear boyfriend who encouraged me, supported me & told me to give it time.

I listened, despite some part of me wanting to deny what he was saying.

I was used to hectic, not knowing and seeing things I would not wish to see, ever again. I was used to an everyday challenge, differing opinions and somewhere, feeling invincible.

I wondered, were these feelings a distant memory? Would I be challenged again and be able to use my voice to fight for the right?

The answer is, absolutely. And what’s even better, I’m on a different end of the spectrum. I’m the good person. The person that families look forward to seeing. The sometimes; peacemaker, mediator and voice when there isn’t one.

I’m the one who can talk to individuals pertaining to modifying their home to make it wheelchair accessible, who can help them find suitable employment, who attends IEP  meetings as a listening ear and an advocate. I’m the phone call when a person or parent needs to vent or just another voice of advice; I’m a water temperature checker to make sure no one gets burned; I’m an activist when it comes to ensuring all rights are not being violated, a soft place and everyday, I am challenged. I use critical thinking skills pertaining to funding, making sure all individuals have appropriate housing, I am the one who can move individuals out of a nursing home into a lesser restrictive environment; the one who can high-five all my consumers and feel the positive, reciprocating. I’m the one who makes sure my individuals have everything they need such as, swim lessons; tutoring, adaptive equipment for educational purposes, a shower chair, sensory equipment for individuals who suffer from ASD; therapeutic horseback riding, Summer Camp Attendace and so much more. I can’t take all the credit, it’s definitely a team effort. And the best teamwork I’ve known to date.

I have not lost my voice, my passion or my drive. My mind has been challenged, I’ve been tested and I’ve grown.

Everyday life is less than perfect but my Monday thru Friday consists of being grateful for the life I and my loved ones have been given & the abilities I’ve been blessed with.

“The Only Disabilty in life is a Bad Attitude”

A letter to my son-2006

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Today, I’m going back almost 10 years. I was 17, a senior in high school, living with my daddy, happy; scared and pregnant, all at the same time. Despite being scared, ridiculed and sometimes hopeless, I was preparing for my unborn child at an age where I, myself; was still a child. I suffered terrible morning sickness, was tired all the time and most days, I didn’t want to go to school. My friends we’re always by my side, making me laugh, watching movies with me and most importantly, supporting me. Throughout this time, there were those who didnt support me and the words: abortion and, “you’re too young” were often spoken. I can’t say I wasn’t confused and a bit selfish in my 17-year old thoughts. I knew going into motherhood was going to be a struggle, I knew I was going to graduate high school pregnant which added more to the unwanted thoughts.

Prior to getting pregnant, a dear friend of mine and I toured a college in Southern Missouri. We wanted to go. I wanted to get away, have new scenary and make memories from afar. Regardless of those plans not working out, she became a mother shortly after I did and we ended up attending a local college, together. As we carpooled, we shared in the daily struggles of homework, motherhood, single motherhood and working. She was one of my biggest supports. I love you Trish (bestie)!

So, here it is. A letter to my son: This letter has and will remain in he is babybook.

January 3, 2006

Hello Baby!

This is your mommy writing you!! I am 17 years old and a senior in high school. I grauate May 14, 2006. I took my first pregnancy test December 13 and then another one on the 14th and another one on the 2393rd and they all came out positive. I am ready for you and to be a mommy. I’ve already made you a blanket, the front of it has duckies and bubbles and the back of it has ABCS and words, it’s cute. I’ve slept with it a few times. I don’t know if you are a boy or a girl although, I have names picked out. I haven’t been to the doctor yet to find out anything but I’m ready!

Hey! I just got done doing my Algebra 2 homework. When you are in motherhood, you are going to have to take that class. Its hard in some ways and easy in others. I also sang the national anthem at the varsity basketball game tonight. I love to sing. Well baby, I’m going to start a new page for you! I love you.

To. Be. Continued!

Cruel & Hard=Bullying

c8384e6aec4b2c8a6e60d43c80203d15When I began first grade, I felt bullied…by two simple little things: I arrived at a new school with my grandma and clearly children that she were able to distinguish the difference between a grandma and a,mom; simply by appearance. Even though she was like my mom, I couldn’t quite possibly convince people my age of that because despite my love for her, I struggled with that myself. I felt abnormal, a sense of insecurity; a,lack of love and an appropriate family structure. And secondly, my last name was Foster. I was told that I was from a foster home and i truly believe some of my classmates thought I was a foreign being.

As the years went by, I struggled with my sense of belonging and lack of normalcy. Quite fequenrly, I voiced wanting to change my last name to stop feeling ridiculed and maybe help me with feeling content, valued and most importantly, part of a family. The older i got, i accepted my life and my own insecurities and with every part of my being, I did feel blessed. All i ever yearned for was family and feeling accepted for my unique situation. I knew that even though my situation was not normal, nothing was ever normal..even if it was portayed that way on the outside. And with time, you learn also that even with the appearance of a mother and father; every person has a story and no family is perfect despite what appears on the outside.

As I became a mother myself, I’m grateful that sometimes despite my feelings and desires; I did not fall prey to bullying. So many children and adults have made poor lifelong decisions that ruin their lives because they too, felt bullied and could not overcome.

Now that I’ve shared my experience, I would like to see how you have overcame childhood or adult bullying. Sharing these stories can only help others.

My Inspiration-

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Since this week is about upbringing, this is about my inspiration!

She taught me about Jesus, how to be helpful, unselfish, how important friendships are, faith, being goal oriented and becoming a career woman, she taught me to love animals & how bunny rabbits love carrots, she taught me about the importance of family and the true meaning of Christmas, she taught me about safety, the importance of birthdays and becoming a woman, she taught me about movies especially dirty dancing, but most importantly, she taught me about Heaven.

Nanny-

1943-2001

Female Recidivism Rates Based Upon Upbringing

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As many of you know, my positive upbringing lead me to where I am today.

This article takes me back to college and with my career, I truly believe this an important topic. Feel free to add your input and comments.

Further, a lot of people that have not studied criminal justice are unsure what recidivism means.  Therefore, I have pulled the definition from the National Institute of Justice and it states, “Recidivism is one of the most fundamental concepts in Criminal justice. It refers to a person’s relapse into criminal behavior, often after th; ae person receives sanctions or undergos intervention for a previous crime.”

While in college, I studied about a career of a reintegration specialist. The sole purpose of this job was to help offenders prior to their release to create appropriate home plans; jobs and locating meaningful support systems to prevent recidivism.

In this post, I’ll include statistics taken from the following:Journal of Child and Family Studies; Journal of Clinical Psychology; an article titled, teenage girl’s perception of the functions of rationally aggressive behaviors; American Sociological Review and the Journal for Juvenile Justice Services:

Females under the age of 18 make up for one of the fastest growing segments of the juvenile justice population with their arrests accounting for 27% of total arrests during 1999.

The most influential aspect of delinquency among Female juveniles is their upbringing.

Females are more impacted by males due to their close relation to the home and being deeply involved in it’s culture. 

Influence of the family is seen through the child in every: decisions, aspirations,, attitudes and ideas about deviance and violence.

If a close member of the family displays deviant attitude; the female will likely form the same attitude and associate with similar deliquents.

Disorder and disorganization of the family increases the statistics for females to find order; guidance and regulation on the streets of their communities which in turn lead to violence.

A study was conducted in San Bernadino of the Girls Treatment/Juvenile Unit with 126 female delinquents. Each female was placed in a separate category depending on home environment: 30 we’re from single parent households; 56 we’re living with both natural parents and 40 were living In foster care.With this, 62 Females took place in this study which examined family environments and factors of delinquency. It found that biological parents criminality is a serious factor with female juveniles and their likliehopd to reoffend. Results showed that parent’s criminality scores represented a gentic risk and environmental risk to the girl’s.After the initial study was completed, a follow up study concluded that rates indicated that broken homes are ineffective and misleading as an indicator of family disorganization that contributes to deliquency.

If there are predisposed genetic factors whether the female is living with their biological parent or another, the crime factors still exist based upon their biological parent’s criminal behavior.

Biological parent criminality increased the odds of the first arrest from 15-283 times for females.

“When the family structure fails, the females look for structuralism through the community and the school which sometimes leads to the wrong place.”

Juvenile females who are not committed and poor academic scores and performance at school see the role of student as an unimportant part of their lives face increased risk for problem behavior.

In conclusion, the most important factor to this is a positive family environment whether that be single parents, married parents or two parents who are fostering.

Lastly, I truly believe at times that it does take a village of unselfish people to raise a child however, if you have one positive person in your life, no matter the relationship; that can make all the difference!

My Christmas Night~´14

Twas’ the night of Christmas,

There was Cars wrapping paper, nerf guns, toys and clothes all strung through the house,

My husband and boy were stirring more than a mouse,

Using the screw driver, finding batteries and reading instructions to make sure all toys work just as planned,

And waiting for his hand-held toy UFO to land! 

Seeing their eyes so bright,

The sound of laughter, joy and love filled our house than  full moonlight

My heart is complete;

Truly a night a mother could only wish to repeat.

Merry Christmas to all, Goodnight!

Sixteen Again: My Story

Born blue eyed & blonde,

 My childhood centered around my pacifier and million dollar blankie.

In ’94, God shuffled me into my Nanny’s arms.

It was that year that I began to wear plaid skirts and polo shirts for the next seven years of my young life.

I remember late night dance,recitals, tough volleyball games and singing my heart out.

Disney World was fun. Especially eating breakfast with Minnie and Mickey Mouse.

I remember the play in the Christmas Season of ’98, Santa Pig it was called. I had the leading role.

My name was Beth.

At thirteen it happened, I got my first kiss. It was a late spring night in March, under the stars.

Late at night on the eleventh of July, God took my Nanny. She became my angel.

My daddy was calling my name.

That early morning in September, sitting in church..I found out about the worst crime in America. I was terribly sad and awfully scared.

That May, I had to tell the old good bye and start with the new.

Freshman year was hard. I wasn’t used to change.

The next year was better. Had a lot of fun & adventurous times.

I am 16. I love to drive.

I’m young and inexperienced.

Everyday I grow. And,

I’m still thankful to be the blue-eyed baby almost

All grown up.

Truth Yet Taboo

As we all know, sexual abuse is a common situation in our society. It’s however, unspoke of; often leaves a victm & family members in denial. It raises questions as the level of understanding between a victim or a perpatrator or if the perpatrator has been a victim himself. Often times, the act of sexual abuse is much more than intercourse. It can be fondling, touching or using other objects. As i have dealt with this recently in my profession, i see the importance of our society educating themselves as well as our youth.

Sexual abuse can occur anywhere at anytime. It leaves a lasting effect on victims. And at times, puts so many others in turmoil. However, there are resources such as, SAFE exams, forensic interviews,support groups and victims compensation.

Below are statistics from the National Center for the Victims of Crime. I primarily focused my search between sexual abuse occurring in the home. These statistics are from 2010:

The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported; experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities. CSA is also not uniformly defined, so statistics may vary. Statistics below represent some of the research done on child sexual abuse.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report Child Maltreatment 2010 found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted (page 24).

Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:

  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized
  • 60% of children are victimized by an individual in their social circle
  • For more information, please visit victimsofcrime.org.
  • Open for any comments or questions.

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