February, 2009Bitsy* came to Talitha Koum in January 2003, and screamed loudly for three weeks having witnessed her mother stabbing her father.
And then last winter, her beloved Grandma, with whom she lived, left Bitsy forever through death. Recently, family who assumed Bitsy’s care returned her to Talitha Koum for her Pre-K year, and she is doing well.
Bitsy has come so far. Her therapist listens to her count and as she tries to sound out words from the printed page. She struggles to make sense out of the complexities of her young life.
Suddenly, she stops. Looking into her therapist’s face she says,
“I don’t want to fight, but my auntie says I have to fight this girl and she is older than me and bigger than me, and I don’t want to fight, but I have to. I am glad we don’t have to fight here.”
Sadly, Bitsy will have to fight for the rest of her life — for peace, for respect, for acknowledgement, and possibly for existence.
Some young lives are on rocky roads from the outset. There are children who have been dealt more violence and grief in their first years than some of us experience in our lifetime. And there, by the grace of God, the staff at Talitha Koum go, hand-in-hand with them in their suffering to nurture all the shiny good that was born into them.
*not the child’s real name
one by one
The story of the talitha koum institute
Produced by Shadowlands Media, Inc.
Most children in the Kate Ross neighborhood in South Waco, Texas are subjected to more than extreme poverty. They also often face violence, unstable living situations, and fear of abandonment. The lives of these children have been broken by life so early that only intensive nurture over time will bring healing.
The desperate tasks of surviving poverty leave many families in physical and emotional chaos. It is around this chaos that the mind of an infant creates its reality; literally the brain constructs around chaos. It is the role of the Talitha Koum Institute – a unique therapeutic nursery – to shape each child’s day with consistency of loving care, sensitivity to their individuality, and opportunities for self-expression.
Some toddlers receive weekly visits from a play therapist in a specially equipped play therapy room. This delicate form of therapy uses symbolic play and expressive art approaches to help children connect with their feelings and experiences.
Besides love and affirmation, the nurture center provides a proven cognitive development curriculum. Research shows that this approach is highly effective. The High/Scope® curriculum has been longitudinally studied with the same group of subjects from age infant to 40. The results are astonishing, and support the kind of intervention the dedicated staff is doing in the children’s lives.
This is not work for the faint-hearted. The intense work with these children occurs 10 hours each weekday throughout the year. By caring for these little ones and nurturing them back to mental and emotional health, the Talitha Koum Institute’s unwavering long-term commitment offers hope for a better life with each succeeding generation. ONE BY ONE (w.t.) is a sixty minute (56:46) High Definition documentary to be produced and distributed by Shadowlands Media, Inc. that explores the harrowing realities of young children living in extreme poverty in the violent Kate Ross neighborhood and one organization’s efforts to stem, even reverse its effects.
Born out of the desire of four ordinary women to make a difference in their community, the Talitha Koum Institute is far from ordinary. With an unwavering commitment to prevention, rather than reformation (of young adults,) the work at this innovative mental health nurture center is not for the faint-hearted. It is intense and the hours are long. The outcome? A child who can self-regulate, make choices and believe in himself.
ONE BY ONE will bring to light their strategy for fighting poverty – focus on the children during their formative years (ages 0 – 6.) The program follows the infants and toddlers, as well as their parents through the Talitha Koum Institute’s comprehensive curriculum. The program looks into the future with the first wave of children currently enjoying Kindergarten and their “School Buddy” mentors who have committed to stick by them until they finish high school.
Shot entirely in High Definition, ONE BY ONE is intended for a PBS audience. Leading the production team are a powerhouse team of producers who have been creating award-winning content in the HD format with more than 20 years experience between them.
Shadowlands Media, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, was established in 2005 by media professionals to create content and produce programs of charitable and educational nature for the general public, which would have a positive influence on our culture. We have purposed from the outset to present that which is timeless in the particular vernacular of our own age. We are setting the highest possible standards for our productions. Through story telling our documentaries are meant to "fly beneath the radar” and hit people in their imaginations while stirring their hearts and minds to take action.
Some of the elements we look for when selecting stories to tell include innovation and discovery, diversity and independent thought, entertainment and the arts, and quality of life to name a few. These traits may be found in a variety of areas such as health, education, science and technology, social justice, religion, environmental issues, children and family, democracy, and the arts and culture. Shadowlands Media places special emphasis and priorities on the topics which traditionally may have been under-funded and under-reported to the general public.
Shadowlands Media, Inc. works with the most creative talent available worldwide. With a combined total of nearly 60 years storytelling experience, consistently our team of seasoned television professionals has won television's highest honors in production – from Emmys to Tellys; from Addys to Auroras; from the Communicator's Crystal Award of Excellence to the White House Communication Agency's Commander's Coin of Excellence.
Programs produced have been broadcast on affiliates for ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, as well as nationally on PBS. We've done work for HDNet, the Discovery Channel, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, CNBC, ESPN, MTV, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Internationally, we've worked for CTV Canada and Moscow TV6. Corporate clients include Texas Instruments, LG Electronics, Sony, Mitsubishi, Epson and Sony Ericsson.
To find out more about underwriting ONE BY ONE, please contact:
Shadowlands Media, Inc.