“Radical healing is what we are working for.”

When I heard my colleague, Mary Pineda-Jones, say this in a recent meeting, I paused. As a psychiatrist, “radical healing” is not a phrase I use lightly, but if you’ve ever witnessed radical healing in a loved one, you know just as well as I do how real it is.

And that’s why I’m writing to you today.

Sara* was an overwhelmed mom of three when she joined our parent support group this fall. She was exhausted from juggling her child’s special needs, the teacher’s frustration, and her family’s insistence on authoritarian parenting. When she started attending the group, she said the only tool she had to deal with her daughter was to yell at her.

We’ve found time and time again that in such support groups, parents like Sara learn about their children and build crucial heart skills to help them and their children through difficult times.

After a few weeks in the group, Sara said, “Sometimes you close yourself off and you say, it’s only me and my child who are suffering from this problem, but I’ve found there are many parents who suffer the same thing, and together we can help each other to improve.”

In 2022, we offered 10 ongoing groups to over 425 people. But in 2023, we need your help to keep growing our groups program to support even more families. The dedicated grant funding for many of our parent support groups ends on December 31 and so we need your help to continue helping Sara and many other parents and caregivers who have children with special needs.

While therapy allows people to reconnect with their emotions in healthy ways and medication helps boost restorative biological responses, our families tell us that groups help them reconnect with one another and even connect with their culture after disruptive immigrant experiences. People not only learn essential skills to help their children but feel solidarity and belonging, something that is deeply affirming and healing.

It is radical healing! Yes! I agree with my colleague Mary who herself is an immigrant and has experienced the challenges of parenting in a new culture. After all, radical healing is our goal. At El Futuro, we are working to move beyond the typical paradigm of mental health and this means working with intergenerational relationships, family systems, broader culture dynamics, and communities.

You are part of our community and with your support, we can provide more of this type of radical healing. So I am asking you to please consider supporting El Futuro’s work with your generous gift before December 31.

With thanks and all the brightest holiday wishes,

Luke Smith, MD, Executive Director and Psychiatrist