David's Story

Isolating the Effects of Childhood Trauma Gives David a Fighting Chance

David* was seven when he was brought to our Children’s Center by the state’s Department of Social Services (DSS) in the middle of the night. He was removed from his home after his father hit him in the face with an iron.

Every day, infants, toddlers and children enter our shelter with deliberate burns, gunshot wounds, broken bones and failure to thrive. Children are often malnourished with serious illness, infestations or infections caused by poverty, abuse and neglect. Once in our care they receive immediate and specialized treatment for physical and emotional wounds, as our dedicated staff work to isolate the effects of the trauma they have experienced.

Even in pain, and suffering from injury, David was most upset because he wanted to go home. For several weeks staff could not get him to respond. He wouldn't interact and play with other children. He knocked books out of their hands, cried and refused to play or talk. Staff continued to care for him, encouraging him to play and participate. While his physical wounds began to heal, emotionally he seemed beyond help.

One day, DSS brought in another little boy close to David’s age who was crying and very upset. With no notice, David got up, walked over to the other little boy, patted him on the back, and said, “Don’t worry. They really love kids here.” From that moment on, David started to make great progress.

Boy leaning against a tree


Building resilience and helping children heal from trauma is one of the most important investments we make as a community. Research bears this out time and again as it shows untreated trauma can follow a person through their whole life, often with significant costs for the community. Together we can make a real difference for these children, with a ripple effect that will be felt for generations.

*Name changed to protect privacy