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Milwaukee mom praising organization for breaking cycle of violence in her family, community

Posted at 6:39 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 19:39:24-04

MILWAUKEE — The day Tamika Johnson heard about the STRONG Milwaukeecenter was the day she says her family members' lives changed forever.

"I am happier, my kids, their behavior is improving, they are so happy," said Tamika.

"We talk about how to control our actions, we talk about how to talk about our feelings," said her son, Malik Johnson.

The single mom of four says she's faced a lot of challenges in her life, including losing her husband to cancer and having her home shot at with her children inside.

"That was something my kids first experienced in their whole entire life, of being shot at," said Tamika.

Tamika Johnson
Tamika Johnson

After the shooting, Tamika immediately packed and left her house, which led to them becoming homeless. And that's when she says she started to notice a change in her kids' behavior.

"They were slamming doors, they would get upset quickly, throw chairs. My 13-year-old started to become disrespectful."

The Milwaukee mom says she immediately enrolled her four children in the STRONG Milwaukee program in order to break the cycle of violence that they had been exposed to.

Taking a closer look, we found that being abused or neglected as a child and experiencing violence increased the likelihood of that child being arrested as a juvenile by 59%, being arrested as an adult by 28%, and being arrested for a violent crime by 30%.

"All they know when they get older is violence. They become what they see and what they are taught," said Tamika.

And since getting her kids involved with the center, which provides services to address behavioral issues, emotional outbursts, and more, Tamika says the difference in their behavior has been night and day.

Malik Johnson
Malik Johnson

"It helped me by not getting mad over small things all the time; it helps me getting over getting mad at my siblings," said Malik.

"They are here, they are one big family here to support you," said Tamika.

The STRONG Milwaukee center says it's still accepting referrals from parents or professionals to help kids between the ages of 5 and 14 years old.

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