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Healing While Presenting



Hey everybody, welcome to Catch the Message. Um, my name is Victor and Deanna's on the on the line with me. Say, hi, Deanna. 




Hello everybody. 




Yeah, we wanna talk about really quickly, like we're, we're very passionate. Catch the message is all about some of the, the, the results from the be seen and heard curriculum that I created, uh, many years ago. I can say that now. But this curriculum is all about body safety, specifically sexual abuse, awareness and prevention. And we have been going into schools now for many years, uh, through in-person presentations and live stream presentations and online curriculum that ultimately it's really for two reasons. One, it's to help prevent kids from being abused. It's like giving them the tools to speak up if anyone ever gets too close to them or they're feeling uncomfortable. Because many times, for me anyway, we grew up kind of, you know, it's good to trust people and that's great, but we were never told that if we're ever feeling uncomfortable to speak up. 


And again, I was raised thinking children should be seen and not heard. So that's kind of how I, you know, that's kind of how I live my life. But ultimately too, it's to help kids that have gone through abuse to have the courage to talk and, and, and to, to really share. Interestingly, we've talked about it before where not only is this helping children, cuz that's our number one focus, but it's helping staff come forward to talk about their experiences, uh, teachers and, and, and leadership at the schools. But now we're finding that it's, it, it's even going further and it's helping not only us as the presenters, but other presenters that we've brought on into the, onto the team at Childhood Victories. You wanna share a little bit, Deanna? 




Yes. I wanna share about myself and then one of our other presenters who, who is Spanish speaking. So, uh, when I started rehearsing with Victor to learn the curriculum all the way, all the way back in 2019, I had never shared my story to anyone under eighth grade. Okay. Anyone under 13 or 14. Cuz I didn't really know how to do it right. And, and, and the curriculum that I used called Second Step perfectly fine curriculum, but, but in my mind, very, very basic, not survivor led. Um, it just, there there wasn't a space for me to do that with the younger kids. By the time we got to eighth grade, it was a little more open flowing. I could share a little bit. So when I started with Victor, I was actually terrified of the third and fourth grade curriculum because we start sharing our story in third grade. 


It's very developmentally appropriate. Um, we use very, very simple language and we use the curriculum in accompaniment with the Be seen and heard book that, that Victor wrote. And then we rewrote, uh, what a summer, two summers ago. And, and I was so scared because I was like, I don't know how to talk about this. But it was okay cuz he, he taught me how to do that. But as I started getting into the mindset of telling my story to third and fourth graders, something opened up. Something opened up because I would be envisioning myself as a 7, 8, 9 year old child sitting in an audience listening to someone like me. And it made me realize something with this very simple language. Oh my gosh, I was so little and I was so vulnerable and I deserve to hear this. So even as a presenter who is, who is teaching these kids about this, it cracked open something in me. 


And, and it, and it's helped me heal. It was so powerful. And then, um, for, for one of our presenters, um, you know, she, she does the curriculum both in English and in Spanish. And one of the things she shared with me that when she was going through the English, really no problem, right? It was totally great. Like, but when she started translating it into Spanish, but when she was a young child and the abuse had begun, she, you know, there was English, but you know, Spanish was her primary language in her family. It opened up something totally different. And, and it's almost as if the memories were more raw, uh, hit closer to home because it, it was connected with her home language. And she had shared with me that it was, it, it it was almost more difficult to go from her home language cuz there are those neurological connections from when she was a child and, and that she's able to connect with it even, even more so on a different level. 


You know, a totally different connection. Something that, I mean, I could never experience myself because I'm, uh, an English speaker, right? I, I don't, I don't have that, that connection. And I know that diversity and inclusion is so important in, in all education, but in our realm, right? Especially with us because there are other kids, right, who are Spanish speaking themselves or that's their dominant language or their, um, their primary language rather. And they might be able to make that same connection much better in their, their primary language than maybe hearing it, uh, from English as a second language. So even, even her who, phenomenal speaker, fantastic, um, you know, performer cuz something we perform with the kids very powerful that even as an adult, she is finding ways to connect with it and heal through the program. 




Yeah. And, and I'm currently, um, uh, training some new presenters and one specifically shared with me, we just started training and she shared how this work, hearing your story when she went to see you at a school, then she saw me, the work itself, just having a conversation about it has helped to bring up something that she wasn't even dealing with. It was another occurrence that happened in her life that she brought up again. And what she was able to do was then to start talking about it outside of, of just, you know, she, she, it came into her mind and then she started going to, to law enforcement just to a little bit about what had happened. And, um, they were very, very, uh, helpful and supportive. Not like when I was a kid or when I was 19 and I started talking about it to the police. 


They, they really had no clue on how to deal with it. But my point is that this work is, is, is, is working, uh, talking about sexual abuse at, at the basic level is helping kids. It's helping adults just to, to heal and to help them get the help that they deserve so that they can, uh, live a productive life. And that's our ultimate goal with, with all of our, our programs, is to get kids, uh, to give them some education on this, but also to, to give those tools so that they can live their full potential. Because you can't live your full potential if you're stuck a a and you have all these layers of, of things that you haven't dealt with. And so that's really the key today that this, this program, this curriculum is helping children, it's helping adults alike. So, um, please share this with your, your colleagues and, and schools that you know of. Check out our website, childhood victories.com. Uh, we have curriculum for sexual abuse, awareness for, uh, human trafficking, exploitation for harassment, uh, gun violence education. So thank you so much and, uh, we'll see you next time. Please share. Thank you. Bye.