By Betsy L. Angert
Human beings are a fascinating bunch. We gather information through observation, and the reading of facts, figures, and formulas. We draw inferences and deduce. Granted conversations too play a role in what we conclude; however, mostly humans rely on the readable. What we cannot see is thought less significant. Take Hurricane Sandy for example.
Meteorologists saw the signs. Citizens, who merely glanced at the papers understood what was visible in print; Sharp Warnings as Hurricane Churns Inc People began to do as people do when warned of an impending storm. They prepare for the worse. Individuals and families evacuated the area. Transit Authorities shutdown the system. Cities and counties hunkered down.
Now, after the tempest took its toll, young ones do as the adults had done. An eight-grader’s account looks at what appears on the surface. As do most, she too attends to material concerns. Rarely, do we know what else to do. Society and school curriculums that reflect a standardized surface reality do not give us the critical thinking tools needed to assist persons who have experienced an emotional trauma. Today, we have one. We have Psychological First Aid. This relief is not as a “kit” filled with bandages, cotton balls and antiseptic; nor is a box full of funds or quick-fix tricks. No, this Aid is much like cake you bake or the casserole you might make for family or friends in distress. Either is a gift of love. Each opens the door for conversations that reveal feelings. So what is this Aid?
It is The Save Our Schools Hurricane Sandy Student and Teacher Support Fund. Oh sure, you say, another charity, another request for cash. How can dollars provide psychological support? Currency and coins cannot. In truth, food and water do not feed a soul. Bricks and mortar also are inadequate; even blood does not heal our emotional hurts. So again you ask, why contribute to this Fund? What makes it different? It’s the ingredients.
This cake or casserole to be presented will be made with the finest blend “The Core Actions.” The essence of the mixture. Ah, take a whiff, or dip your fork in and taste what the eyes cannot see. Contact and Engagement
- Safety and Comfort
- Information Gathering: Current Needs and Concerns
- Practical Assistance
- Connection with Social Supports
- Information on Coping
- Linkage with Collaborative Services
How is that possible? Let us look at the cook. Save Our Schools, a grassroots, people-powered, non-profit organization has organized and effort that focuses on the emotional needs of students, Teachers, and School Support Staffs. SOS will work to support several New York and New Jersey schools, in dire need. Provisions, while material, will offer opportunities to open doors that evoke fruitful and emotional discussions. Gifts that invite children to play bequeath the freedom necessary for caring conversations.
Only through these dialogues do we “see” into the soul to more than merely addressing the visible wounds. A box of crayons, paper, and a Trained Counselor, these are the ingredients that, when stirred together bake a beautiful cake. The frosting is <strong>Contact and Engagement</strong>. We advocate that Teachers are provided the space to become the first element in a Psychological First Aid Box. With a moratorium on the administration and use of high stakes standardized testing for teacher and student evaluation emotional relief can begin. Chitchat and chatter, is the small talk that makes possible the sense of Safety and Comfort, which is another essential factor. The food that evokes thoughtful dialogues. The Save Our Schools Students and Teachers Fund will offer these.
Fictional books and academic texts too will be among the gifts we give. The Practical Assistance piece of the cake. The Practical also speaks to the Stabilization necessary. By being there, within schools and communities, as union locals, area Parent Teacher Associations and other education allied advocacy organizations will do more than throw money at an unsightly broken wall. From within, we will Gather Information, as well as address Current Needs and Concerns. We will establish a Connection to Social supports while providing psychological and emotional Information, Support that grows coping muscles. We will also build Collaborative relationships. We would like to build one with you.
Resources and References…
- Tone turns ominous at The Weather Channel, By David Bauder. Associated Press. Yahoo Finance. October 29, 2012
- Sharp Warnings as Hurricane Churns In. By James Barron. The New York Times. October 28, 2012
- Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath through the eyes and words of an eighth grader. By Sam Gerlach, Jen Bradley. News Works. November 12, 2012
- Psychological First Aid, Field Operations Manual. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network .
- The Core Actions. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network .
- The Save Our Schools Students and The Hurricane Sandy Student and Teacher Support Fund. Save Our Schools.
copyright © 2012 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org