(March 27, 2007) — This year, Disaster Child Care has been offering a series of Level I Training Workshops for child care volunteers, and has named a new training coordinator. Disaster Child Care is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board.
Robert (Bob) Roach of Phenix, Va., will work on a volunteer basis with Disaster Child Care coordinator Helen Stonesifer to coordinate the Level I Training Workshops. He will work with sponsoring organizations to establish dates and locations for trainings, and to assign trainers. Congregations and organizations interested in sponsoring a training may contact him at 434-542-5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org. “Our goal continues to be to schedule training events in the Gulf Coast states, as well as in other states where there are very few trained volunteers or none at all,” Stonesifer said.
The first Level I Training Workshop for the year was held in Atlanta, Ga., on Feb. 16-17, and trained 19 people who came from Oregon, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, and Georgia to participate. A training in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 23-24 at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, was also a success with 18 in attendance.
In March three more trainings were offered, at Dallas Center (Iowa) Church of the Brethren on March 9-10 with 19 participants; at Agape Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., on March 16-17 with 11 registered; and at the Martin Luther King Center in Natchitoches, La., on March 23-24.
Space is still available in the training on April 20-21 at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo. To register contact Judy Gump at 970-352-9091 or Maxine Meunier at 303-973-4727.
Several experienced child care volunteers are receiving American Red Cross (ARC) Critical Response Team Training this week. Eight Disaster Child Care volunteers are attending the training in Las Vegas, Nev., on March 25-30, including a special Disaster Child Care orientation led by Jean Myers and Stonesifer on March 26. The training will help volunteers understand the roles and responsibilities of a Critical Response Team member and how Disaster Child Care volunteers fit into the overall structure of the ARC Critical Response Team.
In addition, Disaster Child Care has been invited to provide services for two special upcoming events, one in Lancaster County, Pa., following the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting, and another in Pittsburgh, Pa., for military veterans and their families.
Disaster Child Care will care for children during a “Resiliency Event” at the Farm and Home Center in Lancaster, Pa., on May 30, sponsored by Emergency Medical Services and Critical Incident Stress Management of Lancaster County. The event will provide support to emergency responders (such as police officers, firefighters, sheriffs, emergency medical technicians) who responded to the Nickel Mines shooting, and to their families. Mental health professionals think some of the children of the responders may have been affected by their parent’s response or reaction to the shootings, Stonesifer explained. “They feel it is crucial to have trained and certified child care volunteers at this meeting to help the children deal with their feelings of fear and other emotions they may have experienced,” she said. Disaster Child Care is recruiting a specialized team of volunteers for this request.
A “Returning Veterans Workshop” at the Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum in Pittsburgh on April 10-11 is designed to address issues facing returning military veterans and their families. Disaster Child Care volunteers will be available on April 11 to provide support to the veterans’ children.
In an update on the Disaster Child Care project at FEMA’s “Louisiana Welcome Home Center” in New Orleans, Stonesifer reported that as of March 10, 23 child care volunteers had made 391 child care contacts. The project opened Jan. 3 to care for children while parents or guardians are being served by other agencies housed at the center.
In other work, Disaster Child Care has represented the Church of the Brethren in conversations with the American Red Cross and Save the Children, in the process of establishing a “Statement of Understanding” to ensure the wellbeing of children in emergency evacuation shelters. “One of the ways to achieve this is to set up safe play spaces–designed for children ages 4 to 10 to play and participate in recreational activities with other children for several hours each day,” Stonesifer said. “Working together, these agencies plan to provide a ‘Safe Space Kit’ and to secure and train volunteers to work in the areas,” she said. As the project is developed, Disaster Child Care will provide additional information.
For more about Disaster Child Care go to www.brethren.org/genbd/ersm/dcc.htm.