In Feature Stories

Thirteen-year-old Maddie won first place in her school’s essay competition for an original piece about The Village Network and its services. Her essay earned her a $100 reward, which the school will donate to The Village Network.

Maddie is the daughter of Brenda Morris, administrative assistant at The Village Network, and the second child of an employee to win first place in the school’s essay competition. Last year, Jerry Hartman’s daughter also won the competition with an essay about The Village Network. Hartman is employed at The Village Network.

The essay contest involved Maddie’s entire grade, and each student wrote on behalf of an organization of their choice. Read Maddie’s winning essay below:

Photo of Maddie, author of winning essay

Last year, an estimated 3.6 million referrals were made to child protection agencies. Also, a referral may count for more than one person, which mean that could count for about 6.6 million children. So many children are abused in multiple ways in the U.S. and some people don’t do anything to help. But on Coshocton Avenue, there is a small building that wants to make a big difference. Their name is The Village Network. The Village Network is a multi-discipline behavioral health organization. They help traumatized children ‘repair’ their mental stability so they become mentally healthy.

The Village Network was founded in 1946 by reverend Clarence Kerr. It provides multiple services including outpatient mental health services, foster care and adoption services, and last of all, residential treatment services for traumatized youth. But there is one service in particular that can show how much these children are truly cared for, “In the residential center, we house, clothe, feed and provide all mental health and medical services for troubled youth that have been severely abused, neglected, or traumatized,” shared Brenda Morris.

They treat multiple mental issues like depression, PTSD, ADHD, ODD, anxiety/social anxiety, and many more. The amount of kids they can house at one time is twenty children. But every single one of these kids is cared for. They have nursing care in case anything bad happens and someone gets hurt. The kids have expressive therapy, where they can use art as a way to express how they are feeling or to help with therapy/stress. They provide psychiatric treatment to help an individual locate and solve their problems, usually mentally. And last, they have group and family therapy where a child and their family can attend therapy together to help communication skills and become a better family.

The children do attend school, public school, in fact. Some attend middle school and others may attend high school. Some kids even go to the career and/or learning center. The children are well behaved at school. They are sure to pay attention in class and do their homework back at the residential building. The kids do their homework and still find time to play outside, especially in or when nearing the summer. But every person turns eighteen, and when they do, they graduate from high school. And so do these kids .By then, they are much more mature and have learned to take control of themselves and their actions. Once the kids turn eighteen, they move out of the residential building and will begin a new life on their own. They might try to get jobs if in good enough shape. They might move into a house with their family or foster family. Sometimes they move into their own apartment by themselves. But no matter where they live after they graduate, they usually keep attending therapy there, but only as an outpatient. And no matter what, they are always cared for.

So after everything The Village Network has done for these kids and will continue to do for them, I wanted to know what they would do with a one hundred dollar grant. I asked Brenda Morris, the administrative assistant, what they would do. She said, “Buy new sporting equipment for the kids to have fun, and stay healthy.” I personally think this is a great idea because not only are the kids staying physically healthy, but also mentally healthy. The exercise can help prevent and/or help someone with depression, anxiety, stress, and more. And considering these kids already have most of these illnesses, it could definitely be a step toward a better mind and life.

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