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February 2024


Image Description: Various shades of Black skinned hands and arms raise into the sky. Some wear bracelets, while others wear bright long sleeve shirts or have bare arms. The text reads in white "Black History is Year Round"


Happy Black History Month & Valentine's Day!

This month we're discussing Black history and stories, and safe dating tips.


 

ONGOING:


Spread the Love for Survivor Cards Fundraiser


Image Description: A pink background with red paper hearts hanging from a line with clothespins features the text below, along with the Survivor Cards logo, an open hand drawn envelope with a teal heart sticker seal and a piece of paper popping out that reads "Survivor Cards"

This Valentine's season, let's extend the warmth of love to those who truly deserve it. Join us in spreading hope, healing and solidarity through our "Show the Love for Survivor Cards" fundraiser. 💕


Your donation will support our initiatives, including:


* Survivor Cards - Handwritten cards for survivors of trauma, with mental health goodies and crisis resources!

* Hot Girls Walking - Anderson - our walking group for women of all ages, backgrounds and abilities!

* Diversity Book Fairies of Cincinnati - Getting diverse and traditionally banned books into the hands of children and families around the Cincinnati area!


But our mission doesn't stop there! Your generous contributions will also support free programming that educates youth on mental health, trauma and advocacy.


This Valentine's Day, let's come together to make a real difference. Show your love by donating today and help us create a world where survivors feel the strength of a community that cares.


Every dollar counts, and every donation is a step towards building a brighter future for those who have overcome adversity.


💌 How You Can Help:

- Make a heartfelt donation to fund Survivor Cards

- Spread the word about our mission to your friends and family

- Share your own stories of love and support on social media using #survivorcards


Let's make this Valentine's Day a celebration of compassion, resilience, and the enduring power of love.


Together, we can create a ripple effect of positivity that reaches the hearts of survivors around the world.


Donate now and Show the Love for Survivor Cards! 💕


Reminder: Each donation of over $15 will sponsor a friendship bracelet for a survivor with a survivor ribbon!


 

Card Drive for The Center of Family Safety & Healing


Image Description: An off-white textured background has a monarch butterfly flying on it. There is black text reading the above. There is the Survivor Cards open envelope logo with teal heart seal and The Center for Family Safety and Healing logo which is a blue tree with blue and green leaves.

The Center for Family Safety and Healing in Columbus, OH is dedicated to the wellbeing of children and families. Together, with their partners and communities, they support victims of family violence and advocate for social change to prevent abuse.

Join us in our goal to collect 50 cards for the survivors they serve!

Deadline is March 15th.

Email Alyson Wick at survivorcards@gmail.com with questions

 

Book Drive for Clermont County Juvenile Detention Center

Image Description: 7 colorfully binded books sit on a shelf. There is text surrounding the books in a curved arch that reads "Book Drive for Clermont County Juvenile Detention Center"

We are currently working with community members and local, independently owned book stores, including The Bookery, Downbound Books and Cincy Book Bus to collect new and gently used reads for the youth at Clermont County Juvenile Detention Center.

Teacher, Sarah Johnson says that her kids are BIG time readers and they are in high need of new books.

Some titles that are in demand are:

The Twilight series

The Percy Jackson series

books about athletes

and graphic novels

Books MUST be paperback in order to be accepted for this particular book drive!

Please contact us at diversitybookfairiescincy@gmail.com to get involved!

Books will be delivered sometime in early March.


 

RECENT:


Book Drive for Cheviot School

Image Description: Children of diverse backgrounds smile and pose with their new books at Cheviot School's library. They are excited and some stand on chairs or throw up peace signs.

You all helped make this joyful moment of new book happiness happen and we want to express our greatest thanks!

Last month, one of our amazing volunteers with our Diversity Book Fairies of Cincinnati initiative, Alexandra (a local book club member and a nanny) helped us deliver over 100 brand new books to Cheviot School here in Cincinnati, which teaches students PK-6th grade!

As some of you might know, Cheviot School just opened a school library recently. Librarian Colleen shares that she already had 2 books checked out just moments after preparing them in the system this morning.

At Cheviot School, 34% of students perform at or above their level for reading. We want to increase that percentage with their school library's help!

The school's minority student enrollment is high, at 71% and these kiddos deserve the same resources, diverse reads and opportunities as students in other districts around Cincinnati.

"Thanks again and please, please, please keep Cheviot in mind when you have more diverse books looking for a new home!" says Miss Colleen!

Thanks to everyone who helped us fulfill our first, large-scale book drive!

It was a huge success because of you and we have another opportunity coming up to get involved!

 

Local Girl Scouts Learn About Trauma-Informed Care

Image Description: A pink and white tie-dyed background has scans of handwritten Survivor Cards on top of it. They have messages like "You are worth loving even on your hardest days" and drawings of hearts, flowers and mythical creatures. An illustration of 3 Girl Scouts is at the top right corner of the image. They are different races, and wear Girl Scout uniforms.

We had a wonderful time with Girl Scout Troop 43690 (ages 12-17) this month learning about trauma and creating Survivor Cards for survivors.

We talked about mental health, coping skills, trauma responses and PTSD, followed by an hour of creativity, writing, drawing and creating cards for those receiving services at The Center for Family Safety and Healing, as well as birthday cards for survivors.

Troop leader, Brooklyn C. says "This was a really great meeting. Alyson was well- prepared, the content was easy for the girls to talk to and listen to, with a nice combo of listening, conversation/ Q & A, and hands-on activity. Thank you! This was a really lovely addition to both our women’s health and our advocacy and action discussions."

Do you have a Girl Scout troop, youth group, club or other group who would like to get involved in writing Survivor Cards?

 

BLACK HISTORY & BLACK STORIES:


Image Description: The story of Black History Month began in Chicago in the summer of 1915. Carter Woodson, an alumni of the University of Chicago was traveling to Washington, D.C. to participate in a national celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois.

The story of Black History Month began in Chicago during the summer of 1915. Carter Woodson, an alumni of the University of Chicago travelled from Washington, D.C. to participate in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the emancipation.


Thousands of Black Americans travelled from across the country to see exhibits highlighting the progress their people had made since the end of slavery. Woodson, who had been awarded a doctorate 3 years earlier, joined the other presenters with a black history display. It was at this time, after 3 weeks of celebration, he decided to form an organization to make it a permanent part of history.

Want to learn more about his efforts and other Black Americans who worked hard to make Black History Month what it is today?


 

Are you looking for Black stories to read this month and all year round?

We've got some suggestions from Diversity Book Fairies of Cincinnati!

Babies:

Dream Big, Little One (Little Leaders) by Vashti Harrison

Hair Love ABCS by Matthew A. Cherry

Skin Again bell hooks

Count to Love! by Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney

My Hair by Danielle Murrell Cox

Young Children:

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry

Don't Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller

M is for Melanin by Tiffany Rose

Middle Grade:

When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten

The Many Fortunes of Maya by Nicole D. Collier

The Braid Girls by Sherri Winston

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

Before Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

YA Reads:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson

Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle

Cool. Awkward. Black. by Karen Strong

Are any of these books on your TBR list?

Do you have any recommendations that you don't see here?

Remember:

Diversify your Bookshelves.

Read Black Stories All Year Round.

Amplify Black Voices.

Celebrate Black History.


Source: ASALH Association for the Study of African American Life and History

 

ON LOVE BOMBING & GASLIGHTING


Image Description: A bright pink background has a softer pink orb in the middle. There is curved white font across the image that reads "On Love Bombing & Gas Lighting" There are white twinkles scattered around the image.

Have you ever heard of the terms "love bombing" and "gaslighting?"

You may have heard these words brought up on a podcast or in a movie, but do you really know what they mean?

The term "love bombing" sounds very much like what it is: Overly grand gestures or dramatic, heartful confessions at the beginning of a relationship and/or after the partner making the gestures has deeply caused hurt, such as cheating, threatening or belittling someone.

And "gaslighting" goes a little more meta: The term “gaslighting” comes from a 1938 play titled Gas Light, which was later adapted into two films. In each version though, the male protagonist convinces his wife she’s imagining things that are actually happening—including the dimming of the house’s gas lights—with the result of making her believe she’s gone insane.

Basically, gaslighting is a form of manipulation that hinges on planting seeds of self-doubt. Paige Sweet, Ph.D, an assistant professor of sociologist at the University of Michigan who studies relationship in the workplace shares "It’s making someone seem or feel unstable, irrational and not credible, making them feel like what they’re seeing or experiencing isn’t real, that they’re making it up, that no one else will believe them."

So how do you know if your partner or even just someone you went out on a date with and are talking to is love bombing or gaslighting you? What are the signs?

Some common signs of love bombing include, but are not limited to:

Gives numerous and/or extravagant gifts, particularly early in a relationship

Excessive and/or exaggerated flattery

Early, frequent, and/or extreme declarations of love and affection (for example, saying “I love you,” “You’re my soul mate,” or “You’re everything I’m looking for” on a first date)

Attempts to be in constant contact—for example, bombarding the other person with nonstop texts or phone calls

Seeks quick commitment; in a romantic relationship, for example, brings up things like marriage or moving in together right away

Displays emotional neediness and reactivity; may become upset if the other person has other plans or doesn’t answer a communication right away

Ignores attempts by the other person to set boundaries

And signs of gaslighting might include:

The “Twilight Zone” effect. Victims of gaslighting often report feeling like a situation is surreal—like it’s happening on a different plane from the rest of their life.

Language describing you or your behavior as crazy, irrational or overemotional

Being told you’re exaggerating

Feeling confused and powerless after leaving an interaction

Isolation. Many gaslighters make efforts to isolate victims from friends, family and other support networks.

Tone policing. A gaslighter may criticize your tone of voice if you challenge them on something. This is a tactic used to flip the script and make you feel that you’re the one to blame, rather than your abuser.

A cycle of warm-cold behavior. To throw a victim off balance, a gaslighter may alternate between verbal abuse and praise, often even in the same conversation.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline lists five common techniques a gaslighter may use against a victim:

Withholding. The abusive partner pretends not to understand or refuses to listen.

Countering. The abusive partner questions the victim’s memory of events, even when the victim remembers them accurately.

Blocking/Diverting. The abusive partner changes the subject and/or questions the victim’s thoughts.

Trivializing. The abusive partner makes the victim’s needs or feelings seem unimportant.

Forgetting/Denial. The abusive partner pretends to have forgotten what actually occurred or denies things like promises made to the victim.

If any of these sound like things your partner does, consider telling a friend or trusted loved one, look into support from a mental health therapist or counselor and don't be afraid to utilize the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates!

Emotional abuse IS abuse and it tends to escalate if undealt with over time. Abusers typically will start small with remarks or see what you're willing to put up with, and then shift to more and more extreme tactics.

A great tool to help keep track of reality if you're experiencing lovebombing or gaslighting, or another kind of abuse causing you distress, anxiety or confusion is a Safety Plan.

We want to remind you that you ARE loved and WORTH loving in healthy and safe ways, always.


 

As always, thank you for reading and being here! Here's to a wonderful month ahead!

If you'd like to receive these monthly communications straight to your email, simply visit our website, scroll to the bottom and enter your e-mail address! If you'd like to get in touch, please email us at survivorcards@gmail.com

-Alyson Wick, Founder of Survivor Cards, Hot Girls Walking and Diversity Book Fairies of Cincinnati

(Individual, Self or Organization)

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