Two years ago, Tamara’s husband and children spent the afternoon tidying their home. After a long day of chores, Tamara dropped Cameron off at his grandmother’s and met her husband at the movie theater for a date night. They laughed during the show and then said goodbye to each other as Tamara left to pick up Cameron and her husband went to meet their older children for a late night snack.
Tamara didn’t know then that she was saying goodbye to her husband forever.
In the early hours of the following morning, Tamara and Cameron woke to the sound of gunshots outside their freshly cleaned home. Tamara, with her children by her side, rushed to see what happened…
Cameron’s father lay face down in the flowerbed, a pool of blood surrounding him.
The days after were filled with family, friends and a funeral. Heartache and depression followed, though Tamara still had to help her children-—especially three-year old Cameron—cope with the traumatic event they witnessed. Cameron was angry, aggressive, and cried out at night. Tamara didn’t know what to do with him.
A friend of Tamara’s reached out and told her about Therapeutic Preschool at Family Resources, where Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is taught. SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
Along with SEL, Family Resources therapists are trained in trauma-informed care. After being enrolled in the preschool, Cameron met with the therapists for individual therapy, and then group therapy. Slowly, his teachers watched as Cameron’s anger and frustration disappeared. He began following rules, interacting with the other children in healthy ways, and the little boy, who once sat outside the circle of children the first month of school slowly made his way to the middle of the group.
Cameron’s tears lessened and his smile returned. Tamara credits the staff at Family Resources for the positive change in Cameron’s behavior. And when Cameron graduated to a traditional school setting, Tamara asked to speak at his graduation ceremony.
“In order to be successful in school, they need to get their emotions out, talk about their feelings,” she said. Family Resources Therapeutic Preschool is a “safe place to say what
he feels. They (FR staff) showed him how to love and build trust. You’ve got to work your feelings out before you can learn
Family Resources staff at the Therapeutic Preschool was trained to help children like Cameron overcome trauma. And you can help other children like Cameron who have witnessed violence or who have been victims of abuse by clicking the donate button below or sending a check to the following:
Attn: Nina Zappa
1425 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
We can’t do our work without you.