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You're the man of the house now Jack
That's what 10 year old Jack's Dad wrote in the note he left for his family after he died by suicide last year. Jack carries more responsibility than any 10 year old we’ve ever met before.
Jack took on this new role - well, he had no choice really. His Mam was so overwhelmed following the death of her partner that the care of her two children, and her home, fell to the way-side. She cries a lot, and sometimes just stays in bed all day.
Jack does the cooking, washing, cleaning and shopping. He makes sure that he and his little sister Milly are fed. There’s no one Jack can ask for help. He hates opening his eyes in the morning and realising that another day of fear and sadness and loneliness stretches out ahead of him.
It was Jack's teacher who noticed things were not quite right with Jack, and that he needed some extra help. Some days he would lash out in class, other times he would be tired and withdrawn. So she got in touch with Barnardos.
We’ve only worked with Jack and his family for a short time, but already the difference it’s made has been huge. With the help of people like you Jack and Milly will be looked after. They’ll have a safe space to explore their feelings and learn to deal with everything life has thrown at them.
I don’t think Jack's mother fully realised the burden Jack was under. It was during one of our therapeutic parent and child sessions that he told her how, when he hears her crying and sees how sad she is, he’s terrified that she’ll die too. She knows and understands this now, and is working with us to get the help she needs so that she can be there fully for Jack.
It's thanks to all of our supporters, that we’re able to reach out and help children like Jack. Children should only have one job – to be a child.
All over Ireland, volunteers are taking to the streets for National Collection Day and to supermarkets to collect much needed funds for Barnardos.
Please give what you can today to show Jack, and children like him, that they no longer have to shoulder the burden alone. With your help, you can give them a brighter future. Whatever you can spare, will go such a long way - thank you.
By supporting Barnardos National Collection Day kindly supported by Dell on Friday 13th September