SURVIVOR (noun): A person who copes well with the difficulties in his life.
I am a SURVIVOR. I endured 14 years of abuse before the Pennsylvania SPCA (PSPCA) rescued me from a person who abused animals. In 2008/2009 I spent five months healing at the PSPCA, and then I was adopted into a loving forever home, where I could enjoy life as a family member who was loved and respected.
The boys at the "Kids in Transition" (KIT) Program are SURVIVORS, too. The KIT Program is located in Camden, New Jersey, and provides specialty residential treatment for adolescent boys age 13 to 17 who face complex emotional and behavioral challenges. The boys have suffered from traumatic physical or emotional abuse and come to KIT to heal.
WE ARE SURVIVORS.
And we are friends. I've had the honor of visiting the KIT boys on several occasions. One time I brought along my pal Hector, another SURVIVOR of abuse. Hector is friends with the KIT boys, too. My Mom works for Animal Farm Foundation, and they've supported our visits to KIT. So Animal Farm Foundation is friends with the KIT boys as well.
Yesterday I received a VERY special gift from the KIT boys, which I want to share as a reminder that we are SURVIVORS, friends, and partners in the effort to build safe and humane communities. These posters mean the world to me, and I'm so grateful for the effort and heart that went into making them!
"TOP TEN FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT SARGE VISITING THE KIT PROGRAM"
By Hamid C., 17 years old, Camden, NJ
(1) I am glad that Sarge is still alive.
(2) Sarge did not deserve to get abused.
(3) Sarge was a quiet dog when he was at KIT.
(4) He is not an aggressive dog, he is a kind and sweet dog.
(5) I think Sarge was everybody's friend in KIT.
(6) Everybody in KIT loves Sarge and he loves us, too.
(7) Sarge is one of the best dogs I ever met and he is also a brave dog.
(8) Sarge is a big-hearted dog and everybody should love him.
(9) I like the way Sarge was smiling at the kids and even me.
(10) Me and Sarge is mostly alike because me and him can get along with people right away, and another thing is me and him used to be in multiple homes.
"CAMDEN LOVES ANIMAL FARM FOUNDATION (AFF) -- HOW AFF HAS HELPED CAMDEN"
By the KIT Program, Camden, NJ
(1) Taught teenagers the misconceptions about pit bulls.
(2) Helped children build empathy.
(3) Helped teenage SURVIVORS of trauma heal by spending time with AFF ambassadors, Sarge and Hector.
(4) Educated youth about animal abuse by providing The Lost Dogs book to teens and coordinating a visit to meet the author.
(5) AFF inspired community service among teenage boys in a treatment program -- they now volunteer weekly!