Berman & Simmons is proud to honor Dominic Ferry as one of our firm’s inaugural Youth Leader Award recipients.
At 14 years old, Thornton Academy student Dominic Ferry is making efforts to protect the most vulnerable members of his community: children who are victims of domestic abuse.
Dominic has been working to help other families for many years. Since his eleventh birthday he has run blanket and resource drives instead of accepting personal presents. Over the years he has collected hundreds of blankets and diapers, which he’s donated to survivors of domestic abuse, with the help of Safe Voices, an organization dedicated to supporting and empowering those affected by domestic abuse. “[Safe Voices] really wants to fix this problem,” Dominic said, “you can tell how passionate they are.”
Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Abuse
Helping survivors has been a consistent pursuit in Dominic’s young life, but his concern that no one is doing enough motivated him to do more. “Nobody really tries to break the cycle,” he said. This is the sentiment driving Dominic’s most recent project, “Quiet Cries.”
Quiet Cries was established, with the help of his grandfather, to promote awareness of children experiencing domestic violence and stop abusive behaviors before they start. Recently, Dominic has been working with education experts to design a program for students focused on recognizing and avoiding abusive relationships. This program will be introduced to Thornton Academy as a week-long annual program to be taught to all eighth and ninth grade students. The educational program will be groundbreaking. As Dominic’s grandfather said: “It will be the first curriculum of its kind anywhere in the country.”
The name Quiet Cries was chosen as a reference to the silencing many children of abuse experience. They can be silenced from the fear of their abuser, or simply not knowing that what they’re experiencing is abuse. A large percentage of children abused are infants and toddlers who are physically unable to reach out for help. The program being introduced at Thornton is meant to help break children out of the generational cycles of silence and abuse they experience through education and empathy. It will be groundbreaking. As Dominic’s grandfather said: “It will be the first curriculum of its kind anywhere in the country.”
When he’s not standing up for survivors, Dominic is an active member within his community. At school he was voted “most respectful student athlete” and he takes time to form close bonds with his teachers, making sure to ask them about their days whenever he enters their classroom. Diligent and focused, he works hard to get good grades and do well at sports. “If I can go to school for football,” Dominic said in reference to his future, “and have my college paid off…that would be great.”
A Star Athlete with a Big Heart
So far his hard work seems to be paying off. His grandfather describes him as a “straight-A student” and “the star of the football team.”
Sometimes Dominic’s passions align, like last year when he coordinated a diaper drive during Thornton Academy’s homecoming dance. His blanket drives were already popular in his community, and he plans to help teach the domestic abuse curriculum. Most rewarding for him is that he’s already started hearing positive feedback from his peers about his work with Safe Voices and Quiet Cries: “I had kids talk to me about it and say ‘we appreciate what you’re doing,’ and they started thinking about what they could do,” said Dominic, “and the most common thing I’ve heard from students who’ve experienced abuse is that they don’t want to grow up and do the same thing.”
Inspiring the Community to Do Great Things
Dominic is surrounded by supportive and loving family members and a whole community of young people being inspired to do better.
“I tell him what a great kid he is and that he’s going to do some great things,” Dominic’s grandfather commended, “we’re going to be keeping an eye on him because there will be more down the road.”
Berman & Simmons is proud to award Dominic Ferry with $250, which is being donated to Quiet Cries, and $500 towards his education. He is the type of youth leader we are excited to see in the world.