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At nine years old, Ella should be a young, vibrant, giggly child dancing safely in her living room under the watchful love and care of her parents. But she is not. Sadly, like the other 211,000 children that cried for help in Colorado last year, “should be” does not apply.

Ella is terrified, at nine she has experienced some of the most horrific abuse that can be doled out onto a human being. At Tennyson Center, we see past the trauma, to the little girl who has experienced so much in such little time. We see a family desperately trying to reimagine a reality devoid of the stress that poverty, neglect, physical and mental health challenges, and food insecurity bring. We see a family trying to hold it together, and we are unwilling to allow them to walk alone.

We entered this family’s life based on the situation in the home going from bad to worse. The Denver Department of Health and Human Services called us, knowing that if a chance was going to be had for this family, our team of Community-Based Therapists and Family Support Specialists could rise to the occasion.

Week after week our therapist, Vanessa, has walked into this home; and week after week has walked out without a word coming from this child’s trembling lips. This is common in our work. Before the healing journey can begin, we must build a bridge of trust that stabilizes the relationship and the home in a way that unlocks a completely different future.

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