Joe Torre: A Traumatic Childhood and an All-Star Baseball Career
The ex-Yankees manager speaks out about his abuse as a child
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A big part of the program’s success is its peer leadership program, in which kids who’ve gone through Margaret’s Place counseling and worked through their own troubles become mentors to the younger kids. The peer leaders do everything from helping prepare presentations to identifying other children who may be in need of help. “Sometimes, it’s the kids who struggle through their own issues who can really speak to what’s happened in their lives and help bring that to life for other kids,” says Thompson. One creative peer leader project, for instance, was at White Plains High School. “On one of our fall campaigns, we had kids get dozens of purple balloons and we wrote domestic violence statistics on the balloons and carried them around the whole school,” says Thompson.
The couple would love to see the Margaret’s Place program expand to more schools, and say they have a waiting list of potential schools and districts. But, since the Foundation raises all of its own funding, and the cost to run one Margaret’s Place is roughly $125,000 a year, it may take a while for it to expand. “We haven’t had one school district that hasn’t said, ‘We need you in more schools,’” says Thompson.
But Torre doesn’t limit his work on the issue of domestic violence to just the Foundation. He was recently part of a 13-member committee for the US attorney general on safeguarding children. After hearing testimony from all over the country, the committee “made 56 recommendations to the attorney general that he feels the president and his department are going to follow through on,” says Torre. “It’s very satisfying that you’ve put your hand on the kids’ shoulders and let them know you care about them, and something as simple as that lets them know that they’re not alone and it’s not their fault.”