“I am happy.”
This simple phrase, uttered by former child resident Jaraun, is the pinnacle of achievement for a survivor of domestic violence. However, Jaraun is insistent that without the counseling services at JBWS that taught him to manage his emotions, process the trauma he endured, and retain his individuality, he never would have seen his life’s work come to fruition.
“I remember the staff at JBWS teaching me how to become a kid again,” recalls Jaraun, now 36 years old and a father himself. “I no longer had to play the role of caretaker for my siblings, that was the staff’s job. I could focus on my artwork, run around outside until I dropped with exhaustion, and play table games in the kitchen.”
For Jaraun, living at Arbour House felt like a quick and easy transition to what life was supposed to be like. He was finally able to let his guard down, focus on school, and build relationships with his peers.
“Being able to socialize with other kids, working through art therapy sessions, and learning constructive communication reinforcement as a child resident greatly enhanced my life,” explains Jaraun. “Without the counseling services at JBWS, I’m not sure if any of my life’s achievements would even be possible.”
In 2011, Jaraun completed a 40-hour domestic violence training program offered by JBWS. After his training, Jaraun returned to JBWS-but this time as a volunteer. He enjoys teaching children and teenagers who have experienced different forms of domestic violence how to safely transition to socially healthy lifestyles through art therapy. Watching child residents sit where he had sat and also heal themselves through art was one of the greatest moments in Jaraun’s life.
“As important as it is to acknowledge and rectify the unfortunate circumstances that led us to JBWS, I would like you to know that it is equally important to extend a part of my heart to all the counselors, volunteers, and staff who have given their everything to us kids,” says Jaraun. “It is you who helped us successfully transition into our perpetual happy place.”