I was able to visit two agencies, namely the Fairfield Migrant Resource Center (FMRC) and the Fowler Road School.
The FMRC aims to provide assistance and protection to women and children who are victims of domestic violence. They also provide newly arrived immigrants with settlement services and with support and information on health, education, housing, and employment. They have an Outreach program that aims to provide assistance to isolated minority groups; a Domestic Violence Support program to provide assistance to victims of abusive behavior from their partners; and a Multicultural Aged Resource Service program to provide information, education, and recreation to the elderly groups. In addition, they have an Iraqi Project, which aims to provide information and referral to newly arrived immigrants and a Youth Project, which aims to provide information and referral to newly arrived families and humanitarian youth.
On the other hand, the Fowler Road School caters to children with mental disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder among others. The school provides the children with education while at the same time providing correction for their behaviors and helping the children cope with their social environment.
In conformance to the advice of psychological experts, both the FMRC and the Fowler Road School provide a safe environment for the people under their care. In the case of the refugees under the care of the FMRC, the agency provides them with safe homes, given that they just arrived in a new country. The victims of domestic violence are also provided with protection. For the children in the Fowler Road School, they are provided with a safe environment, which prevents them from hurting themselves and others.
Both agencies also enable their constituents to form connections. For the immigrants in the FMRC, forming new connections in a new country helps them feel that they belong and also helps them more easily adjust to their environment. For the children in the Fowler Road School, forming connections with their carers help them to trust their carers, in turn making it easier for their carers to help them. These connections also enable them to learn to form relationships and to interact with other people. Finally, both agencies help their constituents manage their emotions or adapt to their social environment. For the immigrants in the FMRC, this helps them learn the customs and norms in their new environment. For the victims of domestic violence, this helps the victims manage their behavior, which may be adversely affected by the abuse they experienced. As well, the children in the Fowler Road School are taught to control their behavior so that they do not end up causing harm to the community and to themselves.
With these visits, I got to realize that as an educator, I should have a lot of patience when dealing with students who may be experiencing various types of challenges and who may be coming from various cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Being the adult and the learned one, I should make them feel safe by not imposing corrections in a painful way and by making them feel that they belong. Although I should be consistent in the manner by which I impose rewards and corrections, I should do this in a way that doesn’t inflict more pain for them. I also realized that part of making these children feel safe and included is trying to build a good relationship with them. This will make them feel that they can trust me and that not all adults are to be feared. By helping them feel safe and feel that they belong, their process of healing will become easier and faster.