Removing Chains of Child Abuse Book Review

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The collective voices of this anthology rise up as a rightful specter over the insidious realities of child abuse in all its forms. Thank you to its authors for finding the courage to speak to child abuse’s immediate and long-lasting effects. Whether you are a similar victim – or not – the take-away from this worthy effort is one of great emotion and necessary education. Only through the later, can we cause change. A must read…

Removing Chains of Child Abuse

The short stories, art and poetry collected in Removing Chains Child of Abuse are from survivors of human trafficking, child abuse and bullying.

This project was made possible through our Community Partnership with Ark of Hope for Children. Ark of Hope is a human rights umbrella organization using a trauma informed approach to serve survivors through various programs. This includes our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program.

These powerful stories allowed those who submitted them to experience writing and art as therapy. They give hope to the survivors reading them that they are not alone and they too can recover. This book is packed with resources  for those still suffering, as well as signs to look for if someone suspects that a child is being abused. Book includes a journal at the back. Proceeds from book sales benefit Ark of Hope for Children.

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Family Man by Bettye Westbrook

My name is Bettye Jones-Westbrook.  I was born in a family of ten siblings. Six sisters and four brothers. My parents did the best that they could to raise us with God’s help.  My parents were not educated.  My momma learned to read when my oldest sister started school. They learned together.  My daddy never learned to read.  Education was important for his children though, so we had to go to school.  Daddy was the first-born out of his siblings.  His father’s name was Matthew, and he was born during slavery. When slavery ended, my grandfather had no family except his father and mother, because his two brothers were sold during slavery.

 

Daddy worked hard farming, and at the end of the year, he would just break even. One day, Daddy came home and said to my mother that they did not make it.  Because he did not break even, they lost the farm. But he had an option to stay on the farm and continue work for the person that he was share chopping with …but God.

 

I can remember how Daddy would only buy what they did not raise on the farm.  He came home with a barrel of flour, sugar, salt and the major items. Momma would use the flour sacks along with some cloth to make our dresses. I can remember momma looking in the Sears catalog to make our dresses, and that was a gift from God.  Daddy was the best dad. He would take us riding in the horse and wagon.  He owned a horse named Bob, and a mule named Ole Jim.

 

At the age of twelve, I can remember my daddy saying, “Yes sir” to a white boy my age. I stood there feeling so awful, and I think the young guy was embarrassed too. But that was him, and the time he was from.  You see, Daddy was born July 3, 1903. My parents bought their first truck in 1953, and my brother was the driver.  

 

My daddy loved God above all.  He was the janitor at our church.  He also served as a deacon.  I can remember momma telling us that she taught daddy a verse in the Bible each week, so when he helped with the devotion, no one would know that he could not read. What love!

  

My Daddy would take us to Church every Sunday.  Ironing, playing ball and cards was not allowed because Sunday was Holy.  With the help of God, my daddy kept his family together. He was a family man. God blessed him to see six of his children grown and doing well and a host of grandchildren. He had one son in college, and two in school when he went home to be with the Lord. I loved my dad, and I thank God for him. When up against the odds, he didn’t give up. He made a stand and trusted God for everything.

About Timeless Memories

For centuries, we have used story telling as a way to maintain our traditions, values, and history.  As we have transitioned to the 21st century, we use the internet and social media to share who we are -creating a gap in our story telling traditions for those that experienced some of the most prolific events of the last 100 years.  The Great Depression, two World Wars, miraculous medications and awesome inventions mark some of the incredible happenings witnessed first hand by today’s seniors, many of whom do not use email or the internet.  The stories of how we lived life before computers may be lost in the shuffle from paper and pen to bits and bytes.

Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation is a compilation of stories, poems and reflections of the seniors participating in our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy Program.  This one of a kind program offers a platform for our writers to leave a footprint of their history to this generation and beyond.

A portion of all sales benefit St. Luke A.M.E. Church in Waco, Texas, provider of Writing for the Soul Workshop Legacy.

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Life is hard.  Life is not fair.

Forward from Stories of Hope

Life is hard.  Life is not fair.  We’ve all heard these phrases, spoken them ourselves about our own lives, and helped family or friends through circumstances where these phrases apply all too well.   Some of us, if we are lucky, don’t have to endure the heartache these simple words bring with them until we are well into adulthood and can somewhat deal with them in a healthy way.  Some of us too, have these fantastic support systems of friends and family to help us through times that challenge us.  But then there are those of us whom, for unknown reasons, get thrust into challenges and dire situations at a much too early age.  How does the universe determine who gets to breeze through life with few problems and who has to endure tribulations that sometimes we think we will never survive?  We may never understand why certain things happen to some people and not others, and maybe we aren’t meant to understand.

What we do know is how we handle these events can either plunge us deeper into despair and sorrow, or catapult us to a better place if we so choose to channel our energies in that direction.  This may be an easier task if you have had enough life experience to truly comprehend what is going on and make the right decisions moving forward.  But when life deals you a bad hand earlier in life, those experiences are not generally there to draw from.  We do not even know where to start, or how to start, in picking up the pieces and changing the direction of the momentum in our lives.

Having taught for 14 years, I have seen a lot of kids endure some pretty ugly situations.  For some of them, they still struggle to overcome their challenges, to change their life’s path.  Some still do drugs.  Some still sexually offend.  The list is lengthy and sad.  Some have even committed crimes that have landed them behind bars as adults.  So many of these kids have gone through things in their incredibly short lives, which most middle-aged adults would shudder at the thought of going through.  It is so difficult to see them battle within themselves and try to comprehend why they struggle so much to “get it together.”

But then, every once in a while, you come across a kid with something deep inside of them that you can sense, but can’t explain.  These kids have a drive within them that pushes them, propels them to do something, to change their life’s path.  And they do! Why does this happen for some and not others? You see the same type of kids in front of you who go through the same kinds of life-altering events in their lives, yet the outcomes are so vastly different.

Every single one of these adolescents is a very special person with an incredibly varying list of difficulties and struggles.  However, woven throughout these adversities sometimes emerges an inner spirit, a drive for change and for something better.  They all have a story to share, and a lot of times they want to share it, need to share it.  These are the stories of those kids who overcame their challenges, and of those who continue to battle them.

Eric is currently conducting one of his workshops in-house with our students.  I have been completely blown away by the response that our students have given Eric and this program.  I have kids in class who struggle to write a sentence for me, write an entire page in a few minutes for Eric! Kids who have declared loud and clear to me, “I don’t write. I don’t like to write. I can’t write. You can’t make me write” who end up writing; and write from their gut.  Some of the responses from my kids:

“I love this workshop. I have never wanted to write before. Now I do.”

“I can’t believe that I am going to be a published author!”

“I want to write a book now!”

Eric really works to connect with the kids on an emotional level and can elicit written responses from them that astound me. He works from the very beginning to create an atmosphere of acceptance and safety that allows these kids to express themselves not only on paper, but also verbally in front of their peers. It is an extremely awesome scene to witness. You can definitely feel the healing that is going on with the kids through this process.  The kids want to continue to write and carry the process on long after Eric is gone. Some even ask to work on their own stories in class and after their work is done.  Kids ASKING to write because they WANT to.

This workshop is truly amazing and will touch whoever chooses to embrace it and dig deep into themselves.

Sincerely,

Sarah Lankford

Special Education Teacher

State of Missouri

About Stories of Hope:

Stories of Hope is a compilation of heart wrenching, and liberating short stories written by youth participating in Writing for the Soul Workshop™ around the world. Through a unique structure offering both engagement -and reward, this workshop brings education and passion together in a way that offers permanent life changing impact. As noted in the forward by educator Sarah Lankford, these unique and amazing individuals have received a rare opportunity to share a story they needed to share … and develop a love of writing as a result.

Details:

eBook:$9.99 USD
Soft Cover: $12.99 USD
Size: 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Color: Black & White on White paper
Page Count: 158 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1537368849
ISBN-10: 1537368842
buy-nowBISAC: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / General
Purchase a copy of the book or download the eBook and enjoy it from your favorite device today! Stay connected with updates from our workshops in the United States on Facebook at: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ in North America.

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Your subscription includes the entire collection of eBooks by Writing for the Soul Workshop™ like Stories of Hope. Take a sneak peek inside the making of the book:

Enjoy all of our content at home, or on the go. You get great content -all while impacting youth around the country.  See, your subscription is one way that we are able to offer our writing program at no cost to youth. New content is added monthly. Access our audio and eBooks now right from your favorite device!

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Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy

“When I was a child, I used to sit on the floor at my grandmother’s feet while she told me stories of her life. She told me to never forget, but I only remember a few. She expressed how she had to defend herself because she was small. Through that story, I learned that I must use more than my fist; I must use my head instead. I sometimes wish I could remember more of those stories.” –Renée Walker, TGIM Publisher

Do you have stories and life lessons to leave to your loved ones? What if there was a way to leave “Timeless Memories” for your family?

For the first time in the history of our company, we are in position to impact four generations through our writing program. See, we’ve adapted our curricula to be accessed in a whole new exciting way. We call it: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy. This workshop allows all ages to leave a footprint of their history to this generation by submitting their stories during our writing program in Waco, Texas. Their stories will be published in ‘Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation’.  The book is set for release July 7, 2017. Listen to what a couple of excited writers are saying about our Legacy Program:

More Testimonials:

“I enjoyed so much… The Writing for the Soul Workshop presented by TGIM Digital Publishing. Bro. Eric L. Jones along with Renée Walker were both very personable and transparent answering all our questions and giving good advice. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up but I’m so glad I came to be a part. It is an excellent program.” – Jocelyn Long

“The Writing Workshop was very good. It is an enhancement to my writing. The Instructor, “Eric” was very good and inspiring. It was a very good session and I enjoyed it very much.” -Johnette Hunnicutt

“The program was a great experience. Because you share your personal story, it is enlightening and gives an opportunity to share with others. I believe it is a program that would be very beneficial to our youth.” -Florence Clarke

“The workshop today was on time as well as awesome. I learned so much in a short period of time and I feel encouraged to write more.” -Nettie Burton

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What’s your story?

We all have a story to tell. Let us help you tell yours. All ages are welcome to participate. You can share your story in memory of a loved one. Who knows …your story just may impact someone else’s life. Submit your short story, poem, music, and art to be included in our project for inclusion in the release of: ‘Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation’.

Please do not submit manuscripts that contain any of the following: obscene or explicit material, unnecessary profanity, vulgarity, or inappropriate or graphic love scenes. Any material considered for publication that is found to be graphic  will require a mandatory edit of the material and may result in a rejection of the material.

Please note that we do not publish graphic material. Therefore, you may be asked to remove graphic material or language.

Submitting your story is easy! Simply use the Contact Form below, or send your story to our publisher via email at: submissions@tgimonline.us.  Everyone who submits their story will receive a complimentary Pieces of Me Anniversary Edition eBook for participating.

 

 

TGIM & Texas ReEntry: Justice Reinvestment for a Better Tomorrow

TXRS LogoTGIM and Texas ReEntry Services, INC have partnered together to implement Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a realistic criminal justice  strategy that safely reduces the State’s costly reliance on incarceration– creating stronger families, less taxpayer waste, and safer communities.

TGIM developed Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a resource in direct response to the growing number of young people who are either falling through the cracks at school or are already entangled with the court system. The goal of the program is to identify youths who are going to have a turbulent transition into adulthood and offer a positive support system to avoid the pitfalls that can derail their lives. It wasn’t until recently after talking to Kay Smith, Texas ReEntry’s Director that I realized the curricula was leaving out the very nucleus in a young persons life: ADULTS.

After weeks of meetings with Kay and her Board, TGIM is pleased to announce that we’ve adapted our curriculum to now include individuals on probation and parole. Texas ReEntry allowed TGIM to come in during their Job Readiness Training to do an Information Session in an effort to expose Writing for the Soul Workshop™ to their clients to get feedback. 100% of the clients we surveyed said they would attend the program! One said he’d come even if he had to walk to get there. Here is an interview from one of their clients:

Sometimes it takes a trip to jail or even prison for a person to realize that their life has become unmanageable. By then, so much damage has been done.  As a felon, it’s hard to get a job or even a place to live.  Most commit more crimes to survive because their inability to  read and comprehend along with their criminal record makes it impossible to get and hold down a job.  The vicious cycle of doing life in prison on an installment plan (in and out of prison) begins.

These men and women need to know that their past does not define their future.  Writing for the Soul Workshop™ will offer them the same support and resources that our youth access.  Along with the Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse Relapse Prevention, and the Job Readiness Training that Texas ReEntry offers, they have added our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a viable component as well. Our partnership allows Texas ReEntry clients to:

· Experience writing as therapy

· Access to counseling

· Nutritious snacks (Brain Food) to stimulate creativity while writing

· Lasting, positive friends and mentors creating an ongoing network of support

· Increased proficiency in both reading and writing

· Participants become published Authors, and can promote that skill on every future resume and job application

· Participants earn royalties based on individual book sales

· Participants establish strong accomplishments that will help with future entry into colleges and the job market

WFTSW LogoThese unique wow factors go beyond helping participants develop a love of writing; they produce long-term behavioral changes and helps participants make positive life choices. While it may seem incredible that a writing workshop can impact behavior so dramatically, Writing for the Soul Workshop™  is more than just a writing workshop, it is an opportunity for individuals to see a different perspective, to interact with others that truly care about them and their story, and to know that telling their story opens up new opportunities.
Writing for the Soul Workshop™ offers these men and women another chance to make a positive and encouraging difference in the world through their storytelling while allowing participants an opportunity to build self-worth, and learn a new trade.  After all, we all have a story to tell!  Just like youth attending Writing for the Soul Workshop™, they too will earn royalties when they share their stories for group publishing in our books and in The Writer’s Block.

Want to know more about our program or donate to Texas ReEntry to help with expenses? Use the Contact Form below for questions or click here to make your donation directly to Texas ReEntry. Texas ReEntry Services INC, is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization.