First-Hand Observations of There is Hope for Me
18 October 2021
Read this personal testimony of how There is Hope for Me effectively helped these four children of Domestic Abuse.
I heard over my nine years with CCTI how effective our handbook, There Is Hope for Me, had been for many. We have had many individuals and organizations contact us, asking permission to use and translate this into their language, which is why we now have it available in nine languages. I had looked over the booklet and its use and development over many years. However, I had never personally experienced its vast reach and impact until the opportunity I had to use it with the children featured in this series on Domestic Abuse.
I began working through the 15 activities booklet in mid-May. I held each session with the four children (ages four through nine) and spent 1 ½ to 2 hours per session. I had a behavior system built into my schedule so that the children would earn varying levels of rewards based on how many stars they earned. With this format, it took us about eight weeks to work through the book.
A sample schedule from There is Hope for Me was as follows:
6:00 Star for arriving calmly and coming to Circle Time after being asked the first time
6:10 Listened to book quietly
6:20 Circle Time Discussion-everyone sits and talks, no getting up
6:35 Complete page 19 of There Is Hope for Me with at least two of your examples discussed with Amy
7:00 Complete page 20 of There Is Hope for Me with practicing Memory Verse and each person shares one thing they have learned and will practice since we’ve been together
7:20 Clean-up and Playground
7:45 Come in from playground after first time told and prize bag
Before our time together, the children had only met me briefly. The book I chose to read each session (see Resource List at the end of this upcoming Barnabas Letter) and the open transparency about our lives quickly opened discussions and built a bond between us. There were many initial behavior problems, but they dissolved soon after the first two sessions as the reward system motivated them and their enjoyment of the activities.
Some of the discussions were very hard, and I gave them chances to “walk away” when it became too much, never forcing them to finish, but I would always come back to whatever the issue was that came up in our next session. Our discussions revealed that this was the first time the four of them had talked together formally about how they felt concerning what had occurred in their lives, losses, and gains. There was always pointing to Jesus, and how He can use the bad for good, it just may not be as quickly as we like sometimes.
By the end of our time, the children’s mother was sharing with me how much more quickly they were opening up and talking than they ever had individually with their separate counselors. Their mother shared that it was leading to some challenging but terrific conversations at home. Through working through the booklet, I learned always to make sure a session ends positively, not negatively. The negatives do need to be discussed, but keeping the good in mind is the best way to end. I am grateful that the children are now asking for more time with me and want to do more on their own. God is good and brings restoration in His time!