During my time at Family Compass, I have been able to learn a great deal about all forms of child abuse and neglect, but more importantly about the overwhelming need for prevention services in our community and beyond. Although some cases of child abuse I came across are truly abhorrent, some of the less extreme cases of abuse or neglect can occur simply because parents haven’t had the chance to learn how to properly raise children.
Since child abuse unfortunately tends to repeat itself in generational cycles, many at-risk parents might have experienced nothing but abusive treatment or harsh discipline from their own parents. Some parents may actually need to be taught that there is another way, that there are indeed more positive ways to raise children. All of the programs offered by Family Compass, such as Bringing Families Together, Parent Aide, Healthy Families, or otherwise, educate at-risk clients in order to improve the lives of innocent children and reach a sustainable outcome that can ultimately break the generational cycle of abuse.
I am proud to have been able to have been even a small part of this laudable mission this summer; through scheduling social media posts, helping craft E-News, suggesting website improvements, designing original Family Compass visual content, or otherwise. Yet what inspired me most was to be able to get acquainted with the people behind-the-scenes at Family Compass, specifically through my photography project documenting many of the staff members.
In the spirit of one of my favorite photography projects, Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York”, I took candid images of each staff member while having them briefly speak about their experience at Family Compass. These images and interviews were later posted on Facebook as part of my #CycleBreakers post series, in order to provide the social media audience with a more intimate look at what goes on at Family Compass. After hearing everyone’s story, it became evident that the staff here has such an innate passion for abuse prevention. While some individuals stressed how rewarding it is to watch their clients grow and improve, some even shared stories of personal encounters with abuse and trauma. Regardless of their personal motive, I know that everyone I spoke to shared a strong desire to serve and help others.
For a young person like myself, it was an impactful experience to be a part of an agency so rooted in compassion. Although I have yet to discern my own path, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn and grow alongside an organization with a mission I greatly respect and support. Organizations like Family Compass exist to serve the community and are vital to protecting children and instilling hope in the lives of others. I am hopeful that the content I’ve shared shared and the suggestions I’ve made will help Family Compass continue to grow to make an even greater impact in our community.
Post by Justin Schwartz, Exxon Community Summer Jobs Development Intern for Summer 2015.