Jen was an invaluable resource for me during quite a few rough patches with my then 4-year-old son. What I love about her is her ability to see situations from a child's perspective to better understand their behavior. And she does it in such a compassionate, down-to-earth way that's so comforting. Immediately, you feel like all of you––adult, child, therapist––are on the same team trying to find the win. She would remind me that the negative behavior was simply a symptom, and that we needed to find out what was at the heart of it. As a first-time parent of a strong-willed child, I would tend to think years and years ahead, overly stressed about potential problems down the road. And I also just felt like a failure as a parent.
Jen is so great at calmly and positively focusing on the current problem and the factors that may be contributing to it today, all the while constantly reminding me of my child’s inherent goodness. And my goodness as a parent. Dealing with a highly challenging child can feel so isolating. Jen always made me feel supported, never judged and normal. Once we figured out the root of my son’s behavior, we were able to come up with strategies that turned my helplessness into tangible, real-world action items I could focus on. And even when we would have some sporadic but extremely upsetting low points, she remained steady in her message, reiterating the things that previously worked. All the while she was somehow able to crack me up with her spot-on sense of humor, keeping me sane and reminding me that even during tense parental challenges we can’t forget to laugh. It is her positivity, along with her genuine love of children, that is godsend. I am so happy to say that Jen was right. It’s been a couple years since she helped us and our son is now in first grade and doing great at school and at home. He is an empathetic, confident person, an incredibly loving son and older brother, and able to regulate his emotions and reactions in a healthy way now. I will always be grateful for Jen for being there for me and for the tools she equipped me with.
- Melissa, mother of 2
I've known Jen for almost 10 years. During that time I've seen her serve kids from hard places, their parents/guardians and kinship caretakers. I've seen her fight for the hearts and well being of kids who have been kicked to the curb by life. I've watched her lead social workers, churches and related teams through the highs and lows of adoption and foster care ministries. More recently, I've personally benefited from her wisdom and expertise as my family provided care for a teenager from a foster care/adoption background.
Jen has answers to tough questions. She has insights into the heart and mind of kids who have been adopted... or are still waiting for such a home. She brings hope to seemingly hopeless situations. Jen is tireless because of her heart and passion for God's children.
- Clay, father of 2
The family activities encouraged connection among us. As parents, it was a reminder that we're not crazy. Oftentimes, the trauma-parenting life is marked by isolation. Friends and family members inexperienced with trauma either don't know how to help, or try to help in ways that are unhelpful (e.g. saying things like, "Oh, all kids do that..."). It might not seem like a big deal, but it was really important to me that y'all understood exactly what we were talking about when we would discuss our kids' behaviors. And not only that, you gave us strategies to help address those issues too!
Furthermore, the process of reflecting upon our kids' behaviors (and our responses to them) was beneficial. After the first few sessions, I remember feeling like a light had been shined onto various habits, bad strategies and patterns that we had developed in response to our kids' behavior.
You guys were such a great resource for us over the last several months, and I know that we will continue to rely upon your expertise in the future. Thank you for your passion for this work.
- Jeff, father of 4
It has been great working with Stand Up Eight. For my husband and I, it was a chance to refocus our trauma-informed parenting, reminding us of strategies that would bring about connection. The activities strengthened our family as well as helped us reflect positively as parents. Our family relationships were positively impacted by the support, encouragement and wisdom of Stand Up Eight. Thank you!
- Chrissy, mother of 3
The Stand Up Eight program was such a gift to our family. The activities Becky brought each week helped our family feel connected and allowed me and my husband to see areas we needed to grow in. My kids loved having Becky and Jen come over and they felt loved and cared for during the time we had together. Family connection can be such a challenge for us, and it was so valuable to have an allotted time for it and to learn ways to make it happen going forward. Plus, it was fun!
- Cara, mother of 4