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Adults Connect Too!

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FULL TRANSCRIPT. (The following is the full transcript of this episode of Catch The Message. Please note that this episode, like all CTM episodes, features Victor and Deanna speaking extemporaneously–They are unscripted and unedited.)

INTRO:  It is time to catch the message, stories of disclosure and courage

VICTOR: Hey everybody, welcome to Catch the Message. I am Victor.

DEANNA: And I'm Deanna.

VICTOR: What’s going on Deanna?

DEANNA: Not much. Uh, we are off today from work. Well, from presentations. We're always working, right, <laugh>, but we are, um, we are back for our, this is our second episode of Catch the Message, right? 

VICTOR: Yes. Our second episode of Catch the Message. It is a podcast that's first and foremost, but we're also gonna start doing some video recordings of our podcast so that if you feel more inclined to watch us, uh, our video's, great. If not, you can also, uh, just, uh, listen to the podcast as well.

DEANNA: I’m really excited, um, once we have them up on, on the website to go and see how it looks. I'm, I'm so excited cuz I feel like we have worked so hard to, you know, in-person presentations are amazing, but then when the pandemic first happened and we had to go into studios, we really had to develop another skill of being in front of a camera and talking to someone through a device. And I, I'm so excited to see how it looks after what, almost three years of us having this new skillset, which I guess isn’t very new now,

VICTOR: <laugh>. It's, yeah, exactly. It's not as new as it was at one time. Um, we just wanna share too, again, this is a, a, a newer type of, of, of podcast for us. And this is really about what we experience at a school on a day-to-day basis. These are just stories or things that have happened throughout a day that we want to share in terms of like it says disclosures and the courage that it takes for, uh, these amazing students and adults to share that something has gone on in their life and they're finally having the, the ability and the confidence and the courage to talk about.

DEANNA: Yeah. And so I'm gonna, I'm gonna take the reins on this one today. I wanna share a disclosure that I had from, from an adult actually after a presentation. So, uh, just to inform anybody, if anybody's a new listener, uh, has never come across us before, um, we a lot of the time implement, um, sexual abuse prevention education. We have kind of gotten our foot in the door, Victor, you know, in the beginning with Erin's Law, which mandates sexual abuse prevention education in schools. It's in 38 states now. And, uh, I I will say this, that when, when we present to students that that is our goal, that is our priority to present to students. That's why the law was passed. And there are key components in the law, right? Like you have to be able to have different people presented. You have to deliver it to a wide range of audience and ages, right?

Like it, there are very specific things that go along the key or core components of the law. So our number one goal is to present to the students. And if other people connect and are inspired, that's a huge bonus, right? So, with all that being said, I was at a school, this was, um, one of the first few years I was with Victor and I was doing our phase one curriculum, which means, uh, it's the first time a school ever has us out and it's laying the foundation for the years after. So they're receiving, you know, what sexual abuse is, how to tell who to tell, and then later on they'll get more themes when we come back. So I do this presentation, I had three presentations for the day. I had a kindergarten, first and second grade presentation, a third and fourth grade presentation, and then a fifth grade presentation.

Well, during the third and fourth grade presentation, I mean, we get lots of staff members who are super engaged and like sing the songs with us and, and just, you can tell that as Victor says, they're buying into it. They are passionate, but sometimes you see people who connect, you see people wipe tears. You see, um, staff members, um, have to stand up and shift to another part of the room just to move their body to stay, you know, grounded in the moment. So I, I took notice of, of a, of a, an adult, a staff member during a presentation doing that cuz we're always scanning. And before the fifth grade presentation, I, I had a little bit of a break and we drink a lot of water. So I leave the space that I'm presenting in and I go to the staff lounge and I'm filling my water bottle up and I'm hearing all the teachers chatting in there.

And we've got our work shirt on and it's very iconic when we go to our school, our, our work shirts. And I had a staff member just tap me, tap me on the shoulder and said, can I just talk to you for a quick second? Just so nonchalant. And I said, of course. And we step out in the hallway and the staff member immediately starts welling up with tears. And she said, I have never been in a presentation where I saw my life in front of me. He goes, I've never been in a presentation where I heard someone unapologetically share that they've been through what I went through. She goes, I've never told anyone that I'm a survivor. I've never shared this with anyone. And it, it was just such a powerful moment to hear someone who twice my age, twice my age, share that they've, they've never got to experience what I experience every single day.

And, uh, it, it was, there was more that was said that I won't share, um, just to keep, uh, you know, anonymous and, and, and respect this, this staff member. But, uh, I gave, I gave her my email to let her know if she ever wanted to chat with me, I'd always be happy to do so. And when I went into the fifth grade presentation, uh, not that I wasn't already aware of this, but we are reaching so much more than students. And, and that's awesome. And again, students are my priority. I I am there. I I take on the disclosures. I, I validate, I support, I report, uh, you know, any, any direct disclosure or, you know, partial disclosure. But to have a teacher or a staff member or anyone like that come forward and connect and share, i i, it's, it's, it's almost indescribable.

And so the piece of catching the message is, is she did, she was there, she listened. She, she was very much so with her students in that moment, but she was also with herself and her inner child. And I, you know, there's something we say, uh, Victor said it well before I joined him, but I have definitely taken it on, is don't be voiceless is, is find that voice and use it in, in moments of empowerment where you can and connect. And that was years ago, and I'm still, I mean, I'm still so emotional about it. It was so courageous for her to do that.

VICTOR: Yeah, that's just one example of all of the stories that we hear, all the experiences we have. And that's just an, again, just to reinforce what Deanna said is that we go to schools, our, our number one goal is to work with children. That's why they bring us in. But adults were once children and they some connect and, and the fact that this, this educator right, had gone through a lot of, of her life and keeping this what we call an unsafe secret. And that's really, really powerful. And so thank you for sharing, uh, Deanna, and this is the catch the message artwork for this time around. And it's exactly what Deanna said is we teach kids and adults don't be voiceless. In fact, I had a teacher say to me the other day, can you tell these kindergartners, what does that mean? Don't be voiceless. 

Well, it's, it's simple. It's the sense that you don't want to keep unsafe secrets. You don't want to keep something that's hurting you inside. Because if you keep things that are hurting you inside, then you can't be maybe always in the present moment and you're always thinking about what, what's going on in your life? And you might not be able to focus when you're in class or listen to your teacher. So the idea here is, is to have a voice. And again, something that I was told as a child is that I should be seen and not heard. So I grew up, uh, being loved by my family, by my parents, but nobody ever said, is there anything bothering you? Do you want to talk about something? So it was always about, you know, I want to see you, but I don't want to hear you cuz you're just a child. And so our goal at Childhood victories is to give kids permission to be seen and heard. And so the message is, whether you're a child or an adult, don't be voiceless. We want to thank you so much for joining us today. We will see you next time. Thank you. 

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