Young and Hungry to Speak

“Some of the most drastic changes we see in our residential clients over the course of an average 30 day stay occur in the youngest of our clients. In the past year, we have had a few young clients around the age of four that came into shelter who had been living in survival mode most of their young lives. They did not make eye contact, did not interact with anyone, were almost completely non-verbal, and the only emotions they seemed to have vacillated from fear and anger to terror and sadness.

It’s amazing what just a few days of feeling safe does for all our clients. Being able to sleep through the night without waking up to violence happening in your home, knowing that there will be food on the table the next day, and knowing that even their most basic needs will be met—hot water, a warm bed and toiletries bring a sense of peace to our older clients.

We often see an almost complete transformation for our youngest clients. Those that wouldn’t look at another adult when they first arrived are walking up to advocates with a smile and arms open for a hug. Those that were non-verbal find words of joy and excitement about the toys in the shelter available to play with.” ~Rachael, NWAWS Employee