Sheryl, the owner and main facilitator
of S.P.E.A.K. Co-Parenting Facilitation, has a lifetime
of experience advocating for children. A child of divorce
herself, she was introduced to the injustices inflicted
on children of divorce very early in her life.
As a young adult, she and ten others were chosen from
over 100 applicants to become Peer Counselors and entered
a specialized training to be liaisons between troubled
children and the social workers in their schools. She
improved her listening skills and learned to help people
pinpoint what is really bothering them when they aren’t
clear. Most helpful in her position as Co-Parenting
Facilitator is that she mastered the art of verbal diplomacy;
discussing impassioned issues without arousing hostility.
She majored in Middle Childhood Education with an emphasis
on child and adolescent psychology. She also trained
with CASA, a volunteer guardian ad litem organization.
Her observations of Family Court proceedings brought
to light that children of divorce need a voice and that
parents’ anger needs to be kept at bay. Intrigued
by the possibility of sparing children the courtroom
drama of their parents’ divorce, she researched
Family Law Mediation, including an overview of civil
and religious divorce law, court and beis din proceedings
and different negotiation strategies. In all her efforts,
she was very bothered by one piece that seemed to be
missing. Through peaceful mediation or explosive litigation,
once a divorce is final, the parents and children are
left with little more than a thick legal decision.
At that time, her social and professional circles included
many parents, who were already divorced, who came to
her for advice on dealing with their children’s
other parent. She realized that this was the gap in
the system that she wanted to bridge. These people needed
a way to communicate the “post divorce necessities”,
without direct contact and without involving their children.
And, that is how S.P.E.A.K. Co-Parenting Facilitation
came to be.
Since its inception in 2005, S.P.E.A.K. has shielded
many children from countless arguments between their
parents, allowing them the luxury of childhood.