3 years this month!
What is your role at CALM? My role is constantly changing! Originally I worked with children aged 0-5 who were either at risk for or who had experienced abuse alongside their caregivers to address symptoms and behaviors in the children. Then I became part of CALM’s development team. As part of the development team, I work on raising awareness about who CALM is and what we do (primarily in North County). I am also a soon to be licensed therapist and currently do all of the English phone screenings for potential clients in Santa Maria. I have a therapy case in our CHAT program as well, which is a treatment program for children who have been abused.
Sometimes, it’s the things that we take for granted that are the hardest for families. I worked with a mother who had been in a violent relationship whose 5 year old daughter had witnessed her father hurt her mother many times. Mom was able to leave the relationship, but her daughter had a fair amount of emotional scars. Mom was strong and seemed unscathed about her horrific past, but came to one of our sessions in hysterics about bathing her daughter. She told me she couldn’t get her daughter to bathe anymore because, all of a sudden, she had a massive panic attack every time she saw a body of water. Mom felt helpless, her daughter was DIRTY and anxious about mom’s emotional reaction, and I was shocked at how something seemingly so simple as bathing could cause such an uproar in a family! Anyways, mom and I worked out a plan for helping her daughter relax and slowly introducing her to various “wet” situations. Her daughter eventually happily took a bath and mom was so excited- she called me and left me the most ecstatic voicemail about it. It was so sweet. And the little girl even went to a birthday party at a community pool a few weeks later!
Make sure their parents had the skills, information, and compassion it takes to parent! Every child deserves a loving, empathetic and effective parent.
I wish people knew how imperative the work we do is to the future of our community. We’re serving children who will one day be independent adults in our community. Without services like ours, many of these children would grow up to have mental health issues, commit crimes, or abuse their own families. With our services, these children can grow up to be healthy and positively impact the community.
– See more at: http://calm4kids.org/martha-estrada/#sthash.giUE2hjm.dpuf