30 Years of Preventing Child Abuse
Each year we commemorate April as Child Abuse Prevention Month with our Annual Putting Kids First Awards Luncheon. This year’s event was another packed house and heartwarming reminder of the work that continues to be done in our community on behalf of Placer County’s kids and families.
With community leaders in education, law enforcement, local government and child welfare in the audience, we were proud to recognize KidsFirst’s 30th anniversary as Placer County’s premier family-focused nonprofit and honor these community leaders who are making a difference in the lives of children through their daily actions:
KidsFirst Healing the Broken
But perhaps the most impactful portion of the program was hearing from two abuse survivors who have managed to rebuild their lives and families while doing the hard work it takes to break the cycle of child abuse.
Jessica Luna-Miranda wishes she had had access to KidsFirst services when she was suffering as a child to prevent or stop the abuse from occurring. She is now using her lived experiences of trauma to positively affect today’s youth through her work as an advocate for child abuse prevention.
Growing up in Mexico City, Jessica was the victim of repeated physical and verbal abuse from her mother and sexual assault from trusted adults. She realized early on that school was her only safe place and that her only means of escaping her life would be through education.
At only ten years old, when her mother moved the family to California, Jessica had to leave the comfort of her school and establish a new life in a new place where she had no network, trusted adults, or language skills – an overwhelmingly vulnerable position for her.
After several failed suicide attempts, she found the strength to reach out for community resources that she credits for saving her life. She began intensive therapy and moved into foster care where she began to “transition from hurt to healing”. Now a junior at Sac State, she is a survivor and continues her path of recovery.
Jessica knows first-hand the impact KidsFirst’s programs can have on the lives of suffering children and believes in the work that the organization is committed to.
A local mother of six children born to an abusive father shared her story of survival. After ten years of living out-of-state and suffering physical and sexual abuse, she escaped to a shelter and reached out to her mother for help.
With her children experiencing severe physical and psychological reactions to the abuse, her mother knew of KidsFirst and hoped the organization could help the children begin to overcome their lack of trust and find their voices.
From seemingly simple things like arranging for Christmas presents for the family when financial resources were stretched thin to intensive therapy providing the coping skills to move forward, now, seven years later, the entire family is grateful to KidsFirst, hopeful for an emotionally healthy future, and truly thriving.