SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — “Let’s Talk About It” is a trauma support group for kids!

Marleisa Montgomery is the Executive Director of the Genieve Shelter in Suffolk. The Shelter assists survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. The nonprofit provides emergency housing, information, and education. They also provide survivor support groups and counseling.

The Genieve Shelter and Blakey Weaver Counseling Center will now host a youth trauma support program from July 27 to August 29. The group will help kids 6-17 express their concerns with gun violence.

In April, a boy was shot in the arm at the Hoffler Apartments. Neighbors tell 10 On Your Side’s Kiahnna Patterson someone drove by the playground and started shooting at least 30 rounds, while kids were playing. A week later, police reported a deadly shooting in that same neighborhood.

Montgomery said kids in the area are traumatized.

“Children are suffering in silence and we need to do something.”

She created the support group after a child was shot several times by an abuser.

“We know how they are affected by domestic violence,” explained Montgomery. “They are hurting children and we don’t want them to grow up and become bullies, aggressive and taking this anger out [on others] because they were not helped when they were witnessing and exposed to all of this type-of-violence.”

She is working with counselor Dr. Kawanna Ward to meet with kids for free. However, the nonprofit may not be able to keep it going after the summer.

“We are lacking funding! We know we are going to need funding because clinicians have to be paid,” she said. “If we could get the community to support this program and invest in the lives of the children in our communities it would be wonderful because we want to continue this program!


If you’d like to donate to the Genieve shelter, the support group will meet at the Salvation Army in Suffolk.

You do have to register, and scan the QR code below.