“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008″
(June 16, 2008) — A certified team of care givers from Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) on June 16 relieved the exhausted volunteers who have staffed CJ’s Bus since the recent storms, tornadoes, and flooding began in Indiana. CJ’s Bus volunteers had been working to care for children of families affected by the disasters since June 6 in Indianapolis, and then in Martinsville after flooding there.
Kathryn Martin, founder of CJ’s Bus, knew of Children’s Disaster Services’ expertise and volunteer base because CDS provides training for CJ’s Bus volunteers. The board members of CJ’s Bus also are required to become CDS certified.
When Martin realized that CJ’s Bus would have to close down due to the lack of volunteers, she called CDS offices in Maryland. Could a team from CDS staff the bus so it could stay open for children whose parents were using harsh chemicals to clean up after the flooding?
“It is not a safe environment for the children,” Martin emphasized.
Judy Bezon, associate director for Children’s Disaster Services, agreed. “Since we already had a team in the area working with the Red Cross and additional volunteers ‘on alert’ for the entire midwest, it is no problem to deploy a team,” she said.
The team of Children’s Disaster Services volunteers was working at CJ’s Bus within 24 hours of the request. The team will stay for up to two weeks, then be replaced with a fresh team of new volunteers. With a volunteer base of 500 certified volunteers, CDS can assure that child care be provided to children of disaster victims for as long as it is needed.
Children’s Disaster Services is a Church of the Brethren ministry and the oldest and largest nationwide organization specializing in children’s disaster related needs. Since 1980 CDS has maintained a nationwide volunteer base. To be certified with CDS, volunteers require 27 hours of training and a rigorous certification process.
Go to http://www.childrensdisasterservices.org/ to learn more about Children’s Disaster Services or for more about becoming trained as a volunteer.
–Judy Bezon is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services for the Church of the Brethren General Board.
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