We were deeply affected by the recurring stories of child abuse and filicide that surfaced in the news so often. This is our story...
I am a mother to two wonderful toddlers and have dedicated my professional and academic career to children's education. Fueled by my passion to understand young children's needs, I wrote my doctoral dissertation on learning opportunities provided by preschools to children from low-income backgrounds. Shortly after receiving my doctorate, I remember sitting in the waiting room for a teaching interview and reading about a young boy named Noah, 8-years-old, who was continuously tortured and ultimately, killed by his father in March of 2019. Trying to withhold tears, I reached out to Amna within minutes and made the quick and easy decision that I need to commit to not only children's academic needs, but also, their socioemotional needs. I have understood my life purpose to do my part in creating a safe and loving environment for children through mentally healthy parents. That begins with You Matter Too.
As a mother of one and dance studio director/teacher for over 200 students, I was heartbroken after hearing about Bella, a little 4-year-old girl who was forced to watch her little sister and mother be killed by her father and then was herself suffocated by him in August of 2018. I have heard similar stories before which have brought me to tears every time and I felt a deep responsibility each and every time. I felt the need to apologize to the child and a deep desire and wish that I could have been there to help them or save them. Bella's story, in particular struck me in a way like no other and gave birth to You Matter Too. I was unable to disconnect myself from her; I cried and meditated daily for her and her family. I also felt a pull to DO SOMETHING - to transform my sadness and pain into service. Initially, I started thinking about all the ways I can help the child. But after some time, I realized that there is no better way to help children than to address the ROOT CAUSE, which is their caregivers... their parents. We must help them FIRST. I believe every parent wants to do a little better than their own parents and I also believe that it is easier to cause pain than to feel it. I have a lot of empathy for parents, especially after I became one myself; becoming a parent can be so difficult that it forces a lot of the deep pain buried within us to come out. And the easiest way to deal with it is often by externalizing that pain - such as by causing pain to others. I want to help parents by providing them with tools that may not be available otherwise. Having taken therapy after just one year of having my daughter myself, I know intimately how necessary it is for parents to manage their mental health & self-care. This mission is very close to my heart and has become my life's purpose.