We had such a great time providing services to families displaced by Hurricane Florence in College Park, MD. A group of three of us from CDS were able to set up a play space within a Red Cross shelter, and interact with fifteen different kids, ranging in age from two to fifteen-years-old. The kids had been in the shelter for a few days before we arrived and were definitely excited to have new play materials and activities. One of our little guys, a six-year-old, was going especially stir crazy and having some acting out behaviors and outbursts in our play space. However, after I pointed out to him that he had stepped in some Play-Doh, he sat down and diligently tried to scrape out every little piece of it from the bottom of his shoe using all sorts of different tools and methods. I let him work for a few minutes, and then sat down next to him and started talking with him while he worked. He quickly began telling me about his school back home in North Carolina, and about how worried he was that his school was “full of water”, and that his teacher might be “stuck underneath all the water.” It was a perfect opportunity to let him expresses his concerns and provide reassurance. This kiddo had been carrying around a lot of big worries, but through the resources provided by CDS, was able to have someone spend one-on-one time with him and make a difference in his disaster experience. His story is just one example of the special and meaningful moments we were able to have with this awesome group of kids during our short-term deployment.
-Kellie Matters, CCLS