We are continually impressed and inspired by the young volunteers involved with SCAN. There’s something special about teenagers making the time commitment to be a connection for kids in their own community, and for setting an example that many adults would be smart to follow. This month – as we launch our new Kids Need Connections campaign – seems like the perfect time to share a teen perspective of SCAN and its programs, so we sat down with Colleen and Cecily, two local high school students with a passion for supporting SCAN this month and all year long.
SCAN: Girls, tell us a little about yourselves.
COLLEEN: I’m a senior at TC Williams High School, and I run the TC Abuse Awareness Club. We’re helping SCAN by running bake sales, promoting the symbol of the pinwheel around our school, making posters with statistics to raise awareness of abuse in our community, and any other things SCAN may ask for assistance with.
CECILY: I’m a junior at Patriot High School. I’m helping SCAN as an individual. I’m self-motivated, and decided to reach out and support SCAN this April because it’s a wonderful cause.
SCAN: Why do you think it’s so important for young people to get involved with abuse prevention?
COLLEEN: As a youth in foster care myself, I understand how child abuse is still shadowed by social taboos, and I believe that we as youth should promote more conversations about abuse to defy this taboo. In this action, we can move forward, tearing down the wall that children in abusive situations may feel suffocated or voiceless under. As teens we also function as babysitters, older siblings and the making of the generation to come. The more aware we are, the better we can enable future generations to be aware as well.
SCAN: Our new education campaign focuses on the important of CONNECTIONS in the lives of children. How have connections with adults in your lives made a difference?
CECILY: Connecting with adults who can relate to you, talk to you, and work with you has helped boost self-esteem and build up pride. Sometimes, yes, we “kids” don’t understand adults and their mindset, and they might not understand where we’re coming from either. Connecting with adults at an early age gives everyone an advantage in understanding.
COLLEEN: For me, my foster parents are my source for positive adult contact. They have encouraged me and lifted me up to the success that I didn’t believe I was capable of when living under the suppression of trauma and dysfunction of my parent’s home. As a person who formerly struggled with depression, drug use, and self mutilation, my foster parents are the root reason for my belief that with love and attention any child may have a chance at rebounding and not allowing their past experiences to define their future.
SCAN: Why should others — teens and adults — take action this month?
CECILY: No one deserves to be abused. Children need love and support…without that, we only set up our future for ruin. Children are the future. So, why turn away the opportunity to make it something extraordinary?