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I have been a social worker for 20+ years – during that time I also was a school counselor. Prior to this challenging work I survived my own traumas. After recovering from same, I learned that unless I found a purpose to my life, it really had no meaning.  Finding meaning to your suffering gives you answers.

During the years I have spent working and living with teenagers, I have learned so much about self-preservation.  I have directed (living in the residential homes) with both teenage girls (ages 13-19) and boys (14 to 20).  I also have been on sexual abuse treatment teams, and been a foster mother to victims of incest. During these years I have witnessed every type of trauma that can be inflicted upon a child.  

I considered myself blessed to have found my purpose in life for I have had the honor of being a mentor, role model and “other mother” to hundreds of youth at risk.  My hope is that SPLIT will help victims struggling to find their way to safety. I also hope it honors those who have survived and/or are learning self-preservation.  Last, but not least, I hope it helps parents realize that all children have a right to live in safe homes that not only provides their basic needs, but that shows them unconditional love.

SPLIT is an attempt to exemplify how traumatic and formative the teenage years are.  Young people need adults in their lives that understand how very difficult this stage of life is.  Teenagers are developing in many diverse ways – all at the same time.  More than any other time in their lives teenagers need support in making wise choices. The choices they make will impact the rest of their lives.

       Cheryl Reich-Bills, BSSW, MS

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