WXXI AM News

Helping kids who've experienced trauma

Apr 20, 2017

Credit Alex Crichton

The Boys and Girls Club of Rochester will use a $4,000 Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award to better serve children impacted by trauma.

Fourteen year old Sylvester Carter lost his mother to gun violence last summer.

"I'm too young for this to happen. I lost my mom at 13 years old, a month before my birthday, and a month after hers." he said.

Another club member is 10 year old Samiyah Baxter, who lost her mother to addiction at the age of 10.

Her legal guardian now is Vickie Majors.

Vickie Majors and Samiyah Baxter
Credit excellus.com

She says programs at the club like Camp DayDreams, have benefitted Samiyah.

"It's so impacting on these kids, to have people that care and love them.  And it's so important."

Their stories are not out of the ordinary at the Boys and Girls Club, where executive director Dwayne Mahoney says they'll use the award from Excellus to help them become a better informed trauma organization.

He says this will enable them to continue with a study to help better understand the needs of children who've undergone trauma.

"To determine how many indicators of trauma our kids currently have, and then put a published report out to our parents, to the community," he said. "Any kid that has more than three of those indicators, and some of our kids have as many as seven and eight.  There's research that indicates that they function very differently, because it's almost equivalent to Post Traumatic Stress a soldier would go through"

Mahoney says they don't know what the findings in the study will be, but they'd like to bring  mental health and social work services into the Boys and Girls Club, and have it readily available.

Excellus Awarded over $110, 000 in Community Health Awards to nine nonprofit organizations to help fund health and wellness programs.

Here’s 14 year old Sylvester Carter talking about his mother, and how the Boys and Girls Club helps him: