Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What about the Children?

This week there have been lots of stories covering various aspects of Super Storm Sandy--a Year Later. Yesterday, I caught a story on NPR about a support group for Sandy survivors. They talked much about the challenges of dealing with the emotional fall-out that comes from a significant life event like experiencing devastating disaster. And they talked about helping their children process those same emotions.

Children experience the same scary traumas from disaster that adults do. Only they don't have the life experience to put it in perspective. Or the words to even describe what they're feeling. After both Tropical Storm Allison in Houston and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita along the Gulf Coast, I was privileged to be a part of bringing Camp Noah to children who had experienced these storms. Camp Noah is unique in it's ministry of providing a place for children to find ways to talk about and understand what they have been through. To my knowledge, they are the only ones in the disaster community offering this type of program. (I would love to be proven wrong!)

As I think about the important ways faith communities can serve after disaster, I always come back to encouraging them to find ways to support children. Not only by providing a place for them to be as their parents navigate the red tape of recovery, but by finding intentional ways to engage in the ministry of helping children heal. I encourage you to check out Camp Noah and learn about the great work that they do. And then start the conversation within your community about finding ways to support the youngest of disaster survivors.