Hi! My name is Amarah. Kids are important to me, and they’re important to Jesus, too.
In Matthew 18:10 (KJV), Jesus said, “Take heed that ye despise not (hurt or be mean to) one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
“Kids like me” are kids whose parents are drug addicts, and alcoholics; kids who have suffered, or who are suffering, abuse and neglect on multiple levels; and kids who are victims of bullying.
Hey kids like me! April is child abuse awareness month and that’s why my column is here - to bring awareness to the abuse and neglect that always happens when a parent(s) uses alcohol and/or drugs.
Miss Kathy Suazo, Child Protection Supervisor, Alamosa County Department of Human Services, will talk about this in my column every Thursday this month! Miss Kathy has worked in the area of child abuse for 20-years (and I really understand her third paragraph):
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. The Department, Tu Casa and other agencies unite this time of year to help our community learn more about child abuse and its devastating effects on our children. I’m sure many of you attended our carnival. It was a big success with people from all over the Valley contributing to make this year’s carnival the best yet. Over 1200 people attended; there was a cornhole game, face painting, a cake walk and other fun things too numerous to share. The whole idea behind the carnival is to show that there are many ways to enjoy our children and many things our families can do that do not involve drugs, alcohol, or violence.
There are several forms of child abuse: physical, sexual, neglect, verbal, and emotional. Too often it is easy to ignore neglect because it isn’t always visible. Yet statistically it is reported there are more deaths due to neglect than physical or sexual abuse. Abraham Maslow discussed the hierarchy of needs and the very basic one was safety and security. A child growing up with any type of abuse is lacking the basic necessity for life, yet many carry on with their lives carrying a burden far too great for their little shoulders to carry.
Many children live with fear and insecurity. When a child lives in a home where there is drug use there is no consistency. Many children who live with substance abusing parents sit at school waiting for a parent who never shows to pick them up. Often the children don’t even make it to school. Mom or dad cannot wake up and the kids end up staying home. Older children end up parenting younger siblings and their childhood is lost. Children are often busy parenting their parents.
A large percentage of child abuse referrals involve the use of drugs. Right now the drug of choice is heroin. Babies are born withdrawing and rely on morphine the first few days of their lives. The referrals we receive do not state that the parents are hitting their children but the abuse runs deep and the pain can last a lifetime. Many children believe if they are just good enough their parents will stop using. The parents often promise they are going to quit and many parents do want to stop. They wake up vowing never to use again but by the end of the day when so many things have gone wrong they are looking for that crutch and have forgotten their promise to quit.
It Is Everyone’s Responsibility to Protect our Children. If you know a child who is living with this monkey on their back, call the hotline 1-844-264-5437. Our children are our future. Please, help them find security in a frightening world.
Thank you, Miss Kathy! And, thank you for reading my column. Please send questions or comments to me in care of the Courier, [email protected] or write to me at Amarah’s Childrens Foundation “Kids Like Me” P.O. Box 354, Alamosa, CO 81101, or call (719) 480-4624, leave a message, and someone will return your call. If you know a kid like me, or parent who is an addict, or alcoholic, please tell him or her about “Amarah’s Corner, Kids Like Me” in the Valley Courier newspaper and tell them to contact me, or you can contact me on their behalf. And, if you know a kid like me, or parent, who does not have a Bible, but would like to have one, please, contact me and I will make sure he or she gets a Bible of their very own, “…and all the earth may know there is a God…” (1 Samuel 17:46, KJV).
My goal is to help kids like me, and I want to help their parents, too. Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!