"A Voice for the Voiceless"

By Marie Thelusma-Chase,
(Executive Director, Shiloh CDC)

Figure 1. Marie T-Chase with son Andrew Chase

I grew up in a household where my Haitian immigrant parents were not equipped with the necessary tools to protect us from child abuse and neglect. By the age of 7, we immigrated to the US and lived in Brooklyn, New York.

By the age of 9, I was the babysitter in charge of caring for my infant brother. At age 11, I was responsible for picking him up from school (several miles from home), preparing dinner, and other household chores. Although these responsibilities allowed me to be who I am today, it was unacceptable to play with toys and I was often beaten for not following the rules. So, my siblings and I really did not have a childhood. What's more, all the signs of sexual abuse by the hands of other relatives were present but ignored.

Over the years, I've met women who were also ignored as their perpetrator(s) were never held accountable or prosecuted. More recently, I've talked to colleagues who have witnessed abuse and felt helpless to help either the parent or the child.

I know that my parents loved me and had they had the tools from church, we would have had a better childhood. At forty-something, I still hear my dad expressing regrets because he didn't know how to raise up healthy children.


Figure 2. The Chase Family

In 2017, I Marie Thelusma-Chase, the Executive Director of Shiloh CDC, is making a pledge to give every client/member the tools via literature, family groups and just conversations with staff to prevent child abuse and neglect.  We want to do our job as a community agency by, with our partners, doing the heavy lifting by creating a 'social network' for local families. We are the voice for the voiceless.

We are also partnering with Department of Children and Families for the strengthening family conference on Tuesday, 5/16/2017.  This conference is open to the public with resource tables for community partners.

Here is how you can get involved:

  • Sign the pledge for “Agency” or “Caring Adult”
  • Register to attend the Strengthening Family Framework workshop for providers on 5/16/2017

About the founder of Shiloh CDC

Shiloh Community Development Corporation’s Board Chair, Reverend Darrell L. Armstrong, is the forerunner in developing solutions for strengthening families in the local area and abroad.  Rev Armstrong is a former member of the NJ Governor’s Cabinet for Children (2002-2005), and former Director of the Division of (Child Abuse) Prevention and Community Partnerships for the NJ Department of Children and Families (DCF) (2006-2009).  Rev Armstrong, the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, is also the founder of the Institute for Clergy training (IFCT).

IFCT is dedicated to helping clergy of all faiths better understand and implement in their houses of worship, stronger family engagement programs that strengthen overall family functioning and well-being.  Under Rev Armstrong’s leadership, Shiloh CDC, in partnership with DCF, will host the Trenton Strengthening Family Conference on May 16, 2017.

Agency Pledge:

When a partner signs our pledge located at Shiloh CDC website they are committed to a few simple yet powerful steps:

  1. Display the protective factor posters in high traffic areas in their agency 
  2. Engage employees in a free one-day training to equip them with tools to support caretakers
  3. Participate in a cross-agency think tank that shares resources and ideas.  (Note: We are seeking ideas for the upcoming conference.  You can register for upcoming conference call with agenda, or contact Marie Thelusma-Chase at mchase@shilohcdc.org)
  4. Share tools with parents and children as part of existing workshops 

Show families that you care through services that are helping parents to hope, plan, and take charge of their lives.

Caring Adult Pledge:

An individual can also sign a pledge.

  1. Don't ignore the signs - many people are afraid to report it, that's a myth.  What actually happens is parents are given the tools and resources to help themselves and their children. 
  2. Come to one of the events hosted by a pledge partner and invite the caregiver as your guest
  3. Give the parent who you don't know a "pass the love" card for a free bag of grocery from our partner - A Better Way.

Shiloh CDC Family Activities 2017

Children activities will be held on site.  All events will be posted on Shilohcdc.org and Crctrenton.org




Women where are your pearls?

Empowerment workshop on building one’s confidence as well as practicals for parents.


Women where are your pearls? (part 2)
Our role in shaping and molding our children. 



Taking back your NO.

A boundaries workshop for parents


“Building up a wall to protect ourselves and children” (Part 1)

Concrete support in Times of Need and parental resilience (protective factors)

June – TBD

Family Outing – a walking tour of the historic sites in Trenton with lunch

July – TBD

Pearl Brunch

July – TBD

Build up a wall to protect ourselves and children (part 2) (Freedom School parents)

Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development and Social and Emotional Competence of Children


Budgeting for parents



Learn more about the protective factors for child abuse and prevention: http://www.cssp.org/reform/strengthening-families/basic-one-pagers/Strengthening-Families-Protective-Factors.pdf