What If It Was Your Daughter?
What if it was your daughter?
On Saturday we shared with you a day in the life at Courage House. There is so much that goes into each of our programs to change lives. This #GivingTuesday we are focusing on a few components of our program we feel are key in doing just that: education, counseling and therapeutic activities, and comprehensive basic needs and medical care.
Help us reach our goal of $50,000! Read more about each of our focus areas and donate to a category, or give what you can to our general program.
A key component of Courage House’s program is education. Being a student gives the residents confidence. It opens up doors for them to follow their dreams for the future.
The need for this tailored education, however, goes much deeper.
Many of the residents were not in school or were extremely behind in their studies. They weren’t able to consistently attend school as a result of their sexual exploitation, multiple foster or group home placements, family neglect, or simple lack of encouragement–combined with the trauma the Courage House residents have experienced, learning in a traditional classroom environment is extremely difficult, resulting in a need for specialized education.
Academic success prior to coming to Courage House is rare because of the effects trauma has on their young brains. Their ability to learn and retain knowledge is greatly decreased. They typically don’t perform well in the classroom and are behind their peers in school.
Each girl works at her individual level and pace. With the support and encouragement of her teacher and tutors, she begins to achieve marks and milestones that have, until now, been foreign to her. It is hard work, but as success becomes her norm, she begins to express dreams and desires of finishing high school and perhaps attending college or pursuing a career. The stability of the home, combined with trauma therapy and specialized instruction, facilitates learning and allows the girls to achieve goals they never believed were possible.
To date, Courage House graduates have attended four-year universities, received their teaching credentials, and worked on advanced degrees, while others have enrolled in junior college, vocational training programs, cosmetology school, and veterinary assistant school.
Education unlocks endless possibilities.
COUNSELING AND THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITIES
Time alone cannot heal trauma.
Traumatic events can cause self blame, victimization, shame, emotional dysregulation, low self-esteem, guilt, and personal identity crises. Survivors often face mental disorders related to trauma such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders including borderline personality disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Our on-campus counselor conducts all individual counseling along with group therapy sessions. This therapy is essential for creating new coping mechanisms and new thinking patterns to recover from a traumatic past and develop healthy habits to ensure future safety. Talk therapy alone cannot heal trauma. Music and art therapy; equine therapy; sports, fitness, and movement; and creativity and play engage the right brain which stores memories. Participation in a combination of these therapeutic activities, alongside one-on-one and group therapy, encourages confidence and promotes healthy self-esteem as well as decreasing trauma symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Each girl is offered a variety of creative mediums to express herself and her emotions. This population often finds it difficult to express their trauma with words only. Creative recreation is incredibly therapeutic and allows an individual to put a voice to what they often cannot express through language. The Courage House girls and young women have come out of extreme dysfunction and trauma. They often have not been exposed to a wide variety of healthy activities. Allowing them to have ongoing exposure to activities that make them feel physically good and allow them to feel proud of themselves widens their mindsets and allows them to find new coping mechanisms.
These mental health services are crucial in each survivor’s healing journey.
COMPREHENSIVE BASIC NEEDS AND MEDICAL CARE
“What if this was my daughter?” is the question we ask ourselves in every step of designing and implementing the Courage House program. What would we provide for our very own daughter? The best of the best. A thoughtfully designed and intentionally implemented program beginning with a safe home, compassionate and well-trained staff, and nutritious food and clean water.
The criminal world of trafficking is dangerous and violent, as were many of the homes Courage House residents come from. Providing a physically and emotionally safe home is a must in creating an environment where healing can occur. Upon arrival at Courage House, the young girls and young women often face intense physical challenges that require immediate medical attention including: physical health problems associated with beatings and rapes; reproductive health problems, including exposure to HIV, AIDs, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancies, abortions, and fertility issues; malnutrition; alcohol, drug abuse, and addiction; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) and Borderline personality; extreme anxiety and fear; suicide attempts and other self-destructive behaviors; and despair and hopelessness as well as profound shame and guilt. These medical needs can be severe, leaving lasting negative effects without intervention.
What if it was your daughter?
Our goal of $50,000 for #GivingTuesday will help with our program costs for several months. Right now, we are supporting sixty survivors of sex trafficking in their rehabilitation in Tanzania and supporting former Courage House Northern California residents with resources and services as needed.
We need you in order to continue transforming lives and witnessing survivors experience hope and healing.
Need a holiday gift?
Stock up on Courage Coffee! We’ve just received a fresh batch of Tanzanian Peaberry coffee, which is roasted fresh in California when you order. Every bag of Courage Coffee supports survivors at Courage House.