Rochester organization helps youth deal with crime-related trauma

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Some of Rochester’s youngest residents are being exposed to possibly lifelong trauma as a result of the city’s ongoing problem with violent crime.

One organization is devoted to helping children of all ages, including toddlers, cope with crime-related trauma.

“We have to find ways to stop it by any means necessary,” said Rise Up Rochester support group coordinator Retha Rogers. “I mean, not tomorrow, but today. This is an emergency and we need to try to stop that.”

Over the course of the weekend, there were crimes carried out in Rochester in front of a total of five young children. Rogers is of the opinion that children have a right to know the truth.

“With young kids, we have to talk to them,” Rogers said. “We can’t sugarcoat anything and let them know what’s going on so they will be aware of it. And we try to make sure we steer them in the right direction.”

According to Rogers, the strategy used with youngsters is different from that used with adults. They make an effort to get the youngsters to open up and communicate with one another. Therefore, the work that Rise Up Rochester does includes both outreach and counseling.

“Some won’t speak,” Rogers said. “They won’t say what’s wrong or anything like that. It’s kind of hard, I think for children to really show their emotions because they don’t know. It’s kind of like a nightmare to them. You know, especially if they lose a father or their mother to violence or they witness it. They’d probably be in a lot of shock.”

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