When We Heal Our Children, We Can Heal America!

We hear about youth problems as separate issues, which include bullying, child abuse, neglect, runaways, drugs, gangs, sex trafficking, gun violence, mental health, and suicide. These issues are critical, but we need to focus on the two primary solutions that can help heal and solve all of these problems.

Children from abused and neglected homes often experience a spiritual crisis from the adults who should protect them. They experience loneliness, sadness, anger, frustration, and social isolation and may blame themselves, turn to self-destructive behaviors or become violent. Many children don’t know how to protect themselves from pain and anger!

Children from abused and neglected homes lack support. They may struggle to have friends and become victims of bullies with nasty texts from classmates. They blame themselves and feel nobody cares! They look for love and support in the wrong places, such as “friends” on the internet, and find “groomers” who express kindness but have ulterior motives.

Here are the facts about the plight of children.

  • Abuse/Neglect – 1 in 7 children victims at the cost of $220 million a DAY (CDC)
  • Runaways – Between 1.6 million and 2.8 million runaways. (National
    Runaway Safeline)
  • Gangs – Over 20,000 gangs with over one million members (National Drug
    Intelligence Center)
  • Sex Trafficking – 4.8 million trapped in forced sex slavery (Center
    Missing/Exploited Children)
  • Youth Drug Abuse – 2.08 million youth from 12 to 17 years (National
    Center Drug Abuse)
  • Gun Violence – 45,000 died in 2020, and this continues to increase
    (Giffords Law Center)
  • Self-harm, age 10 to 24 – 157,000, emergency, self-inflicted injuries
    -(Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Suicide – Leading cause of death – 45,979 in U.S. (National Institute
    of Mental Health)

The American Rescue Plan Act passed in 2021, including $170 billion for school funding to hire mental health workers, including psychologists.

Vulnerable children are manipulated by evil people who groom, sell, exploit, bully, and even kill them for money. However, we can empower children and, in the process, heal ourselves. In a free society, citizens must work together to create change.

Here are two solutions that can strengthen and protect families, especially children.

  • We need a spiritual awakening that can give children a foundation with values to help them understand their inner power. There are 350,000 churches, and many other religions in the U.S. Children are born with instincts to protect them, intuition to evaluate good and bad situations, insights to see what isn’t said, and a self-protective conscience to keep them safe. Every child has the power to survive difficult times. Religious leaders must speak up to help families look within to discover self-love and connect with people who care. Children need love and support to know they are not alone and to grow strong from within. Be Aware: Some church leaders manipulate followers. Know the difference between a church that empowers its congregation and a church that controls its congregation.
  • Americans must focus on neighborhood support. Smaller communities have less crime, juvenile delinquency, and violence because people know and care about each other. During COVID, we saw how social isolation negatively affected school children. Together we can reduce the negative effect on families due to socially isolated neighbors. Every city leader needs to consider hiring and training “Neighborhood Safety Experts” who look like and speak the language of the community to bring neighbors together. Restoring neighborhood support gives people hope as they build trust with caring neighbors. Neighborhood support
    offers families the community support to survive and thrive as involved adults plan a get-together, clean up the neighborhood, Block Party, plan activities for youth or plant a garden. Activities and involvement create a check and balance on negative teen behavior.

It will be “we the people” who decide what our cities will look like in the future. With the support of the local government and police, we can come together to create the human protection for American youth that every child deserves. It will be up to Americans to engage with each other to help create safe, healthy homes and neighborhoods. We can heal ourselves as we come together to heal and empower youth. Americans will grow stronger, and families will thrive!


Stephanie L. Mann
Stephanie L. Mann
Stephanie Mann co-authored, Alternative to Fear: Guidelines to Safer Neighborhoods,” which helped launch the national “Neighborhood Watch” Program. Within 2 1/2 years, involved residents in her community (17,500 residents) decreased crime 48%, WITHOUT a local police department. Mann worked as a community leader, neighborhood organizer, county coordinator, state consultant and authored, “Safe Homes, Safe Neighborhoods: Stopping Crime Where You Live” (Nolo Press 1993) In 2010, while working in Richmond CA, with “Mother’s Against Senseless Killings,” Mann saw people too scared to be involved or report crimes. She wrote, “The Adopt-A-Block Guidebook,” with an easy-to-follow guide for existing groups and “My first steps to a safe neighborhood” for citizens. These booklets give individuals and groups the tools to reach out and bring people together to help each other. Stephanie started a homeless men’s support group while working with “The Mary Ann Wright Foundation” in Oakland CA. She recognized the need to support children at an early age and wrote, “Street Safe Kids: 10 Step Guide for Teens and Adults” (which has been used in after-school programs) to help youth grow strong from within to develop self-esteem and stay centered. Book available on The Safe Kids Now National website states, “Every child needs a healthy family and neighborhood to stay safe.” In partnership with the CARR Foundation, a binder, “Safe Neighborhoods: Access to a Healthy Community,” was created for city leaders to make neighborhoods safer for families and neighborhoods. Stephanie’s books strengthen families and can decrease the social isolation that fuels bullies, domestic violence, abuse, drugs, gangs, and other destructive behaviors.”

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