The opinions, statements, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this session are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the conference hosts.
Take a walk with me through the years of trauma and how building treehouses with my brother helped to ensure a small girl would one day overcome her perceptions of failure and learn to breathe. The memories of “Breathe, Sissy, Breathe” still ring in my ears. We will laugh and cry together today. Find hope in the hopelessness that children sometimes face and discuss some simple tools that can make the difference in a child’s ability to survive while in crisis. Most importantly, how everyday YOU can help a child build resiliency by being the voice they hear, “Breathe, Sissy, Breathe,” when they are feeling hopeless.
Presented by Terri Mielitz, Program Director, East Central CASA
Community Response to Child Abuse Conference 2023
As a teen and survivor of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse I felt the effects of a system that did not quite work for me. I had no voice. This began my story of fighting for our children through education on childhood trauma and the long-term effects- as I fought for my own resilience. As a young mother I went to college and changed my story. I began to champion children and turned the page to re-write my book to one of resiliency. As a troubled youth I was seen as a “waste, useless & troubled.” I was not willing to settle for that label. I began to walk through the doors that opened and push against the fear in my chest of perceived failure. I saw light through the dense tress, lights of siblings, friends, and community. I learned to ask for help, listen and learn. I was given tools to build a better treehouse.
Gaps in the trees began to open. Vulnerability and fear of all the exposure to the sun and new ideas was paralyzing at times. The branches that had covered me and held me in place were swaying in the breeze, I just had to reach out and trust that I deserved a better place in life. Resiliency for me was learning to love myself. Learning I did not need to be perfect. Throughout my life I built treehouses that were not perfect, but I keep getting better. I can hammer in a nail and not bend it now.