CINCINNATI — Federal numbers show more than two-thirds of children have had at least one traumatic experience by age 16. An initiative aims to help local organizations address health issues like these through a $1 million grant.
Jayla Bradshaw is a sophomore at Princeton High School.
“I like it,” said Bradshaw. “It’s just like middle school. It’s just like a little more work.”
But school hasn’t always been a breeze for Bradshaw. She said virtual learning during the pandemic had its challenges.
“You really had to learn by yourself and your classmates weren’t with you, so you couldn’t get help from them,” she said. “And it was lonely working by yourself all the time.”
Virtual learning also meant spending a lot of time at home. This led to her fighting regularly with her brother.
“Me and my little brother, we used to argue more because we were always with each other, and we just didn’t get enough space or time to yourself,” she said.
The Center for Healing the Hurt is helping hundreds of teens like Bradshaw. It offers free counseling services for inner-city children dealing with trauma. Professional Clinical Counselor Dr. Shantel Thomas said this is crucial for the community.
“We decided there needed to be a place for children to come to talk about their trauma and their pain and hurt instead of acting it out in ways that will harm them or someone else,” said Thomas.
Bradshaw said these services help her because it gives her another perspective and she feels more comfortable expressing herself.
“When you talk to your parents, it’s going to be different because that’s your brother and it’s a kid, so they wouldn’t understand as much as someone who doesn’t know you,” said Bradshaw.
They’re able to help even more teens now thanks to a $1 million Health Equity Fund from Bethesda Ideas Investments Innovation, better know as Bi3. They’re one of nine Black-led organizations in Cincinnati to receive money to address poverty and systemic inequality. The center received $20,000 from the grant.
“Now those families that could not come, that some we had to turn away because everybody couldn’t do pro-bono work,” said Thomas. ”Now we can help them out. Anyone that walks through the doors can receive those services.”
This funding is a part of a three-year investment. Bi3 hopes to make more investments like these in the future.