My Name is Colleen Brookes-Gain. I’m 56. A survivor of spousal abuse. A Mom to 4 and Grammy to 5. In my personal capacity, I craft in my spare time, love daily 5km brisk walks, a trauma counsellor since 2003, an ECD Practitioner, Life coach to young people & Unemployed Youth, Parent Empowerment Facilitator (group or 1 on 1). And I have a special interest in seeing senior citizens thrive as they live out their twilight years.
All in all, I am just an ordinary average woman making her way in this world. I was never able to pursue a particular career because I had to work to survive, put food on the table and a roof over our heads, see the kids through school and further education etc. Now in my matured years, I have an empty nest (I am happy and content to know my kids are good people), and a few years back it dawned on me that since the year 2003, God had been steering me into the direction where He felt I would be most suited and happy.
I am currently into my 5th year at WCSCF, as Assistant Coordinator.
Equipping young children, tweens, teens, young adults & lately very senior citizens- with life-skills and coping mechanisms. More so those who had gone through unaddressed trauma /or suffering trauma. Being a part of the process, that listening ear, that shoulder to cry on, the voice if needs be, that one constant in a world that’s ever changing. Identifying the barriers scholars have to learning because of(normalised) trauma and addressing it without stigmatising or labelling them. Creating safe environments for them to speak out, and know that they are being heard. No matter how young or old “Healing starts once you are Heard”.
Teaching resilience to young kids, especially those who are at risk of falling by the way side due to unmet needs, zero support systems, absent fathers or whole families caught up in various forms of abuse etc. Instilling within them the wisdom to reach out for help and to be there for them when they do.
Because of the violent times we are living in, to see that each School & ECD Centre is a Trauma Informed Approach School/ECD addressing not only the trauma of the learners, but also the teacher’s trauma because teachers are human and also suffer trauma. To see teacher to learner ratio changing drastically in the community schools/ECD Centres thus prevent teacher burn-out. To see the sardine can mentality (that currently exists in community schools and community ECD Centres) discarded and to see children thriving instead of falling by the wayside because they grow up thinking they are not important enough to warrant proper personal space at schools and ECD Centres and that they don’t matter as human beings, perpetuating the stigma of inequality. To see all CYCW’s Trauma Informed Approach Trained and their traumas dealt with too.
How I would change our world:
Ensure that everyone working with children are Trauma Informed Approach Trained (as above). Added to that, teaching Life-skills and Resilience would become a HUGE part of school life. In life outside of school, Pre -Marriage classes and Pre- Parenthood empowerment classes would become a part of life as Marriage and Parenthood seems to have no merit or meaning anymore. Yes, I know I’m reaching here, but in today’s world, humans discard human lives as if it has no value. Parents especially need to be held accountable for their lack of parental care. People need to know that ALL LIVES MATTER and where better to start that teaching, than at ECD & Primary school level. Thus, they grow with it to be better adjusted, comfortable in their skin, clear headed, empathic human beings. In the interim, I do what I have been assigned to do – touch as many lives with love and empathy as it is humanly possible.