HALO Project: Celebrating 10 Years of Hope & Healing
HALO Project founder and executive director, Cindy Lee, summarizes the non-profit’s journey like this: “finding solutions and showing up.” She says that same spirit of willingness and determination that started HALO in 2013 still drives it today as they celebrate 10 years of providing healing to children and families through connection.
“In 2012, my colleagues and I were encountering all these kids who had experienced trauma,” Cindy said. “We had all the right tools, but nothing seemed to be working and that was especially evident in foster and adoptive children.” So Cindy began seeking a solution. “I started a national search to find best practices for these children, and discovered Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI), specifically designed for that population.”
Through a series of friendships, Cindy connected with the partners and found support for the job. After running a small but highly successful pilot program, she submitted a business proposal and received support to begin offering TBRI to clients in need. From there, HALO grew into a hub for the innovative approach, training other providers to offer it to their clients across the country and around the world.
“When I was trained in TBRI in 2012, there were three providers who offered it. Now, there are hundreds,” Cindy said. This number includes the team of licensed therapists who share HALO’s mission of bringing deep healing to children, families, and individuals all over the world, starting with Oklahoma’s hurting children.
The Sargeants are one of countless families who have found healing through HALO’s services. Also a founding board member, Lauren Sargeant shared how TBRI changed her family’s trajectory for good.
“We adopted Sophia at birth, but when she was about five, we started feeling like we were failing as parents,” Lauren said. “We were trying to raise her like we had been raised, but it’s a very different world, and she was this little spicy, world-changer of a person and we didn’t know how to handle it.”
Lauren describes that time as overwhelming – a feeling many parents experience and understand. In search of a solution, they joined a wait list for HALO’s 10-week intensive counseling program for foster and adoptive families.
“It was almost like drinking from a fire hydrant, how much we were learning!” Lauren said. “They taught us why our child might be having certain responses, how to respond and connect with her, and the biggest thing, that we aren’t alone.”
By the end of the program, the difference was what Lauren calls transformational. “HALO changed us and our perspective,” she said. “You learn to connect with your child. And once you’re connected, you can start being playful and incorporating all of these helpful strategies that still help us years later.”
While HALO offers this program at no cost for adoptive and foster families, they have also developed a program called Making Sense of Your Worth. Focused on helping people find their identity and walk in authenticity, HALO has trained 1,100 facilitators to use the program and it is reaching audiences from teens, prisoners, victims of sex-trafficking, and everyday individuals looking to realize their self-worth.
As HALO celebrates 10 years of life-changing services, Cindy encourages people that pursuing positive change is for everyone. “In today’s world, we need all hands on deck. If you care about our world, our kids, our communities, it’s time to participate in some fashion. Maybe that’s calling us to see how you can get involved. Or, maybe it means experiencing one of our programs for yourself.”
Learn more about HALO Project at haloprojectokc.com.