I’m often asked if I enjoy my position as the Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time Program Manager. My response is always the same, “Yes, I love it!” People are often surprised; one of my daughters thinks it must be the most depressing job ever. I have an entirely different perspective.
You see, I was raised in a family in which domestic violence was a daily reality. My mother left when I was four due to my father’s abuse. I was a daddy’s girl; she thought he’d never hurt me. A few years later, she gained emotional strength and stability and came back for me. Even though they had been separated and my father had remarried he continued to threaten and harass my mother. She was terrified every time he came to pick me up for weekend visits. We both were. Even though I adored my father, I was afraid. I was sick to my stomach the day before my visits with him and usually sick the day I returned home. We didn’t have a Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time Program to ensure my mother and I would be safe during visits and exchanges. Instead, I took karate classes and learned to defend myself. My mother and I moved around a lot; she felt safer the further she moved from him.
Managing the Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time (SEPT) Program gives me joy because I understand what it is to both love and be afraid of the father I adored. I understand that parents can love their children and yet not be safe to be with them alone. I understand the fear that is diminished by having extra eyes to watch out for a domestic violence survivor’s safety. Additionally, it’s wonderful to watch a parent and child who’ve experienced hardship to spend an hour of play, laughing and enjoying their time together. It is a beautiful gift to all involved.
Currently we have a waiting list of parents and children wanting to spend quality time together. Are YOU the one they are waiting for?
Learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time Program.
For questions and upcoming volunteer training classes call Melissa at 719-447-9898.