It Makes a Difference...
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing.He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)
At the end of June 2018, Chester Community Coalition was funded to begin providing trauma-informed counseling in Chester. Since that time, we have been working diligently to assemble a program that will provide high quality services to families dealing with the loss or violent injury of their loved one(s).
During the following three months, we focused on securing partnerships for counselors to lead our groups and space in which to hold them. We also used outreach to spread the word about the program and recruit clients. None of these were simple or easy tasks, but thanks to the goodwill and cooperation of our partners, Child Guidance Resource Centers, Shiloh Baptist Church, Urban Affairs Coalition and our sponsor, the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia, we got them done.
The program opened to its first cohort of five families at the end of September 2018. As we serve this pioneering group, we continue to learn and shape our program to create the best possible experience for our clients. Collaboratively, we are using the information from our challenges and successes to create a smoother process, clearer expectations, and more effective recruitment for the future.
Early feedback from participants and counselors has been positive about the learning taking place. We sit together for meals, split into participant groups and come back together to close each evening. Youth use art to explore their experiences, and adults share insights on their coping skills.
Looking at the faces of the adults and children coming back week to week, it is clear that this program is making a difference to these ones.
We believe that this difference will continue with time and your support.
We are currently recruiting for our spring session. If you know families who can benefit from our program, please send them our way.
Help us continue to make a difference.