Petaluma People Services Center
PPSC's Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Program is one of the many programs within our counseling department and serves residents of Sonoma County with child therapy, parent education and family advocacy. This program offers a matrix of services designed to prevent child abuse through education, counseling and collaboration, and to provide early intervention and ongoing treatment in dysfunctional and abusive situations. This program has funding, however the need is so great for services Speedway Children's Charities Grant allows us to see youth for a longer duration, or catch those in need who may not qualify for any other programs. This grant allows our counselors to help children without wondering how is this child going to pay for the services.
Sam came to PPSC and was struggling to find words to express himself, at 12, he rarely spoke and just pointed to items as a method of communication. Our counselor facilitated the making of a comic book in hopes that Sam would open up and share with her the abuse he had been subjected to. The focus was non-violent ways to resolve conflicts. Sam created a caricature that represented himself. In the past this project has produced caricature by other children that run the gamut from animals to superheroes. Sam vision of himself was a small animal with large ears and a cape. Sam was asked to use the caricature he created to solve real-life conflicts that he faces everyday. Sam shared with the councilor that he not only faces abuse at home, he has also suffered from bullying. He started to come out of his "silence" and loved being creative and silly while still solving this emotional dilemma (with a little guidance from his counselor). The entire process has most rewarding for Sam. Sam is proud to see his finished product and hold it in his hands. He has learned about the roles in a bullying situation, and created meaning for himself. He now feels he has more choices. His counselors feel certain that he will stop and think before ever re-enacting unwanted roles from the past that hurt others. Sam is excited to come visit with his councilor weekly, and has even opened up and showed other PPSC staff members his comic book and his verbal expression has become strong.