The other day, I shared a story about a woman who was tending to cats in a seemingly hopeless neighborhood, where children were treated with disregard, and the cats with even less. I shared it as a story of hope.
I know. It felt like a stretch even to me.
I spent 20 years working with children and families in neighborhoods like the one in the story. I have seen not only the pain of feral cats harmed by hateful human acts.
I have seen children harmed by hateful human acts.
Those children often grow up to hurt humans and animals, and the cycle continues.
Except when it doesn’t.
You see, there is hope, because sometimes the cycle breaks. Sometimes something happens, and a child’s spirit rises above the emotional carnage around them. Sometimes an emotionally wounded adult gets help and changes their actions. And sometimes a fearful victim seeks refuge and protection from an abuser, and becomes a survivor.
I was only able to stay a counselor for 20 years because of the resilience and hopeful courage that I saw in the people with whom I worked. I left the profession to pursue my art, not because I lost hope.
What happens to cause the cycle to break?
- Someone reports an incident of child abuse to authorities and it leads to a family intervention that protects the child and gets the family the help it needs to be safe.
- A child sees an adult acting differently than what he/she is accustomed to seeing – caring for animals or doing other random acts of kindness.
- Schools and other community resources promote education about empathy.
- Someone is moved to action to change things in their community because they were moved by a piece of art or other creative endeavor.
Okey’s Promise is more than an artwork. It is more than a website and blog. It is a movement to create awareness so that we can improve the lives of children, of families and of animals.
Contributing to the current Kickstarter campaign is one way that you can keep the promise, but there are other ways too.
What can you do in your community to make our world a better place for all creatures great and small?
Please check out our resources page for information about intervening with children, families and animals. You may find that there is more that you can do than you ever imagined.