DEAR EDITOR:

Thirty-plus years ago, four local professionals — Janet Burch, Tina Bartleson, Sandra Allen and Jeanne Alshouse — collaborated and created a support group for children who had been victims of sexual abuse. That group was named “HEROES, Great & Small Inc.”

We never could have predicted the need for this program nor the success of providing a free, uplifting, positive atmosphere where children who had experienced the trauma of sexual abuse could come together and celebrate their survival. These children were repeatedly presented with encouraging words and activities surrounding their heroism for the bravery it took to disclose their abuse. Hundreds of children received messages of strength, hope, safety, courage, and bravery.

Simple words, fun activities, art, music and dance allowed child upon child to understand their stories were believed, they had been rescued and their wounded spirits could begin healing. These children astounded us. We were privileged to walk beside them as their journey unfolded. We never knew it was our lives that would be changed.

It is with mixed feelings that we write this letter to announce that, after 30 years, the time has come to end our journey as a group. We give a big HEROES shout to the Rome/Floyd folks who stepped up, volunteered, financially supported, provided snacks and lunch, donated supplies, and gave us space to meet through the years. Because of that support, the kids we served, many of whom are now adults, gained healing messages. Thank you for your support and encouragement through the years.

Jeanne Alshouse, Tina Bartleson, Sandra Allen, Janet Burch

Rome

Recommended for you