Today was unbelievable. I again struggle to put into words what we experienced today. Children are so resilient and always seem to surprise me in many different ways.
I want to share with you all one story that puts into perspective what we are here to provide. This young boy was sitting at the table with us playing and building play-doh. His mother was just around the barrier and was telling a fellow volunteer their story. Their story was unbelievable and something that no individual should ever have to endure. They lost everything. As she is communicating with us, the little boy pauses and says, “Mom, can you please go away, we are trying to play.”
It appears at this time he was not ready or willing to hear their story spoken out loud again. What he needed most at this time was play. The opportunity to express himself, in a developmentally appropriate and therapeutic manner…which was not verbal or outspoken conversation…but simply play! Through his play, this child was able to process and express more then I ever anticipated in this short time together. I’m thankful for the power of open-ended, child-directed play to support these children in coping through and processing this very stressful and challenging situation.
I feel so honored that this community has allowed us to provide support to these children and families in any way we can. It is such a privilege to be able to be that listening ear and playful peer. My deepest sympathies go out to everyone who has been affected by this tragic fire.