R is for Restoration
I have a confession to make: the title of my autobiography, Broken Child Mended Man, doesn’t tell the whole story. In essence, the mended man didn’t come until much later in life. The concepts of self-discovery and self-love were unknown to me as I sought to achieve material wealth and acceptance toward feeling some sense of self-worth as a young adult. Internally misguided, it wasn’t until much later that I discovered the healing and restoration process. While that journey is a different walk of life for everyone, I’m grateful to have discovered self-actualization in time to save myself from a life of self-inflicted misery.
As a freshman in high school, I jolted out of survival mode just in time to realize that there had to be some degree of self-determination on my part if I were to succeed. Thanks to that awakening and a community that never gave up on me, I managed to become one of the fortunate ones – a success story as a product of the foster care system. However, I never viewed myself as a victim throughout my young adult years as I was trying to figure it all out, and when interviewed, most children don’t want that label. Given all of the benefits of the trauma-informed approach, one of the things that have always been out of alignment with my thought process is viewing a child through a victim lens. That school of thought inadvertently limits the child’s potential and makes the situation more difficult for them to overcome. That tragic moment in their lives doesn’t have to become their entire story. While ACES certainly warrant compassion, a child’s resilience should be the foundation of restoration.
To begin the healing process, assessing the victim’s detailed account through a spectrum will better serve their immediate and long-term needs. The green line toward the right edge of the diagram is where I’d align myself, and that starting point would require different restoration techniques than someone experiencing emotional neglect. Different modes and types of therapy are available and may serve some children better than others, depending on their situation. MNDYRR’s community-based platform will eventually offer a multitude of options to address the mental Some may require multiple Again, their situation doesn’t have to be the entire story. The trajectory of their lives can be greatly changed, and successful outcomes can be achieved through our social structure.
When thinking about the challenges today’s children face, it is imperative to go beyond resilience and aim for psychological restoration. Mental or behavioral health recovery is vital to a child’s success later in life as they will certainly face everyday uncertainties. As a ward of the state who aged out, my much-needed therapy options were limited due to a lack of resources. To this day, I still battle depression yet consider myself among the fortunate ones. With high-functioning depression, I can still manage to be a creative and productive member of our society and support my family. However, I also recognize how crippling such mental ailments can be to other adolescents transitioning into adulthood and want to work toward alleviating that suffering. That’s the altruistic motive behind the MNDYRR initiative. What can MNDYRR do about this growing challenge? Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and partnerships with evidence-based companies, MNDYRR aims to take the guesswork out of assigning therapy to children and adolescents while assisting therapists/counselors/psychologists with documentation to light the pathway toward each patient’s recovery.
As founder and CEO, I envision MNDYRR will be the first multi-use app that aims to address the complexity of youth dynamics in America through a village-inspired, generational commitment to their success. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but one worth addressing as MNDYRR aims to meet every child where they are at during their growth stages to ensure their success. With your help, we can restore children who experienced ACES to cope with life’s hardships, overcome adversity, and live life to the fullest.
Adam Starks, Ph.D., is the Founder & CEO of MNDYRR Technologies, Inc., a professional speaker, and author. For more information, please visit https://mndyrr.com and https://adamstarks.com.