The goal of the Children’s Program is to initiate and deepen the healing process for boys and girls growing up in a family that has been hurt by alcoholism and other drug addictions. Children are often the first hurt and the last helped.
The Children’s Program provides education and support for children between the ages of 7 and 12 who are dealing with an addicted family member, usually a parent or older sibling. During the three-day program, children who have been affected by addiction go through role-playing exercises, games, and group discussions that help them identify and express their feelings, develop self-care skills, and strengthen their communication skills. We help them to understand it’s not their fault. We give them tools to deal with issues as they come up, not let them build up inside.
No child has ever been turned away from the program because of an inability to pay, and donations are important to funding the program and the full-time staff members that it requires. The program has become an important part of The Silkworth Charity Group’s mission. We talk about this being a family disease, and that this is a disease that hurts everyone, but there just aren’t many opportunities where boys and girls are allowed to be an integral part of the treatment and recovery experience.
On the third and final day of the program, children are given the chance to talk to their loved ones about how the disease of addiction has affected them. Having a child participate in the program often strengthens a parent’s recovery. Children have a way of helping the family heal and helping parents let go of shame and guilt. By bringing children touched by addiction together, the Children’s Program helps cut through the shame and stigma many children feel. Despite the fact that 1 in 3 children are affected by addiction, each believes he or she is the only one. Seeing that belief shattered is one of the best parts of the program.
Empowering children is an important part of breaking the cycle of addiction, and it’s at the core of The Children’s Program. We give children a voice. How many adults in treatment didn’t have that when they were little? The disease of addiction is one of silence, secrecy shame, and isolation. We’re helping children break through that.Back to resources