Wednesday, January 26, 2011


More fluffy white stuff today. We have at least 3 feet of snow everywhere and it's not going away. As usual, every storm has brought tons of cancellations and late openings. Sadly, two of them were for weekly group nights for women and kids living at the shelter and those coming from "outside." Even craft group for kids who reside at the shelter was cancelled tonight.

And let's face it: all cancellations are not the same. Kids residing at the shelter aren't always that happy about snow days, especially when it's #6 or 7. There's not that much to do inside once they've played outside. Most of them miss their friends and teachers, the greater freedom of school, and getting away from the routine of shelter life for a few hours.

Women and kids who attend groups but live "outside" may have different reasons for wishing the weather was better. Some of them are struggling to survive a bad situation. Some are close to leaving the batterer. Some aren't sure why they come to group or want to quit, but they come anyway.

For this reason, cancellation of these groups is rare. Phone calls to other group members or shelter staff can help, if the woman and kids are able to talk on the phone. But phone calls are not group meetings. They don't come with multiple perspectives, situations, and family members, each making it harder to understand their lives and their own role in its seemingly unsurmountable problems.

Me, I miss seeing the kids, having dinner with them and the women, being temporarily part of a system I don't always "get" or accept. Without these women and kids I don't know how I'd improve my understanding of domestic and dating violence. With their help, I can do a better job of trying to help others "get it."

This relentless snow needs to stop so battered women and their children can again attend their groups. They need the support and strategies they provide. They need the group's kind of magic. If groups are cancelled, someone might not receive an answer when they're finally able to listen. They might miss their chance to find themselves.

And all because of snow.


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