Jewish Herald Voice
By Halle Brazda
I have written articles for this column on light-hearted topics; however, this column about child abuse and teens in crisis will be the most serious to date. Through this article, if I am able to reach even one teen or parent of a teen who is experiencing a crisis situation, then I will consider this piece to be successful.
Ms. Sheila Aron agrees and explained to me,”The greatest benefit of my non-profit to the community would be bringing child abuse to the forefront and preventing it. I put the word “preventing” in bold because my hope is that the cycle of child abuse will one day end. Giving people the resources where they can go for good parenting skills, I believe, would prevent these horrible occurrences from happening.”
Ms. Sheila Aron is a book author and founder of The Thread Alliance, a non-profit organization, dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse. I asked Ms. Aron what her experience was with child abuse. She answered, “I, personally, haven’t experienced any abuse. Since I have been involved with the different organizations that I give my books to such as CPS, Children’s Assessment Center and ChildBuilders, I have learned that child abuse has no boundaries and can happen to children in all levels of income and of any religion.” Ms.Aron explained to me who she works with and said, “Depelchen and now I am working with them in their non-profit called BEAR….Be A Resource by giving the baby Lovies along with books to give to babies in foster care. I want to help in anyway I can, avoid the pain of emotional, physical or sexual abuse.”
Ms. Aron emailed me to ask if I would get the word out that a very special mitzvah project is available to teens.”The Lovie project is for everyone of any age. I would be happy to teach the Easy Eyelet pattern that is shown on the Community page of the web site www.thethreadalliance.org to Bar/Bat Mitzvah boys and girls. Yes, even boys can help make baby Lovies for babies in foster care. The Lovie project is all about easing the pain of another child as well as giving the person who knitted it a wonderful feeling for weaving the thread of love and ending the cycle of child abuse.”
Ms. Aron is a true inspiration through her work at her nonprofit. Additionally, her book is equally impressive. “My book is a parenting book disguised as a children’s book. It teaches parents and children how to say “I love you” through different opportunities that happen throughout a child’s day. It also builds self esteem with the words “I’m glad I’m me” repeated throughout and teaches them to be kind, loving and forgiving to themselves as well as others. At the end of the book there is a page of interactive questions that allows the parents and children to share their thoughts and feelings.”
She continued, “As I was writing my book, I’m Glad I’m Me, Weaving the Thread of Love From Generation to Generation, I had the opportunity to speak to several people whose opinion I greatly respected and Rabbi Karff was at the top of the list. With his praise and encouragement I knew that my book was necessary for parents and children to read together because it teaches how to express feelings under the best and the worst conditions and still be loving, kind and respectful.”
Crisis Intervention’s (of the United Way of Greater Houston) statistics indicate that for the time period June 1, 2012 through May 31, 2013, that 9,183 teens phoned the Crisis Teen Hotline, 2,721 voiced concerns through online chat, and 4,202 teens used text messaging to the hotline to ask for assistance. Those numbers were extremely eye-opening to me. I feel that even though Jewish teens may be generally more fortunate than most with many materialistic things they acquire, attending great schools, and having wonderful support through friends and loving families, as Ms Aron points out, abuse has no boundaries. Jewish teens may be experiencing crisis, and if they do not have any strong communication bonds with family, friends, teachers, or their rabbis, and need help of any kind, they can visit Ms. Aron’s website as I highlighted above, where there is even a link just for kids and teens.
Thank you, Ms. Aron, for reaching out to me with this invaluable information that I hope parents and teens in our community will use if they need. For educators and school staff, I asked Ms. Aron if she visits schools and she does. “The best part about going to the schools to read and give my books is the children. Their enthusiasm and appreciation always gives me such a wonderful feeling for having been with them.”