Since 1980 Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), a program of Brethren Disaster Ministries, has been meeting the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, volunteers provide a calm, safe and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and any natural or human-caused disaster.
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Volunteers from across the country
- participate in specialized experiential training
- undergo a rigorous screening process
- learn to work with children after a disaster
- are capable of mobilizing rapidly and responding both locally and nationally.
Volunteers arrive to a disaster location with a “Kit of Comfort” containing carefully selected toys that promote imaginative play. Volunteers give children individualized attention and encourage them to express themselves, thereby starting the healing process. Although many volunteers are motivated by faith, CDS’ training is open to anyone over 18 years old.
CDS provides respite, education and individualized consultation for parents about their child’s unique emotional needs after a disaster. Through consultation or workshops specifically tailored to each situation, CDS also works with parents, community agencies, schools or others to help them understand and meet the special needs of children during or after a disaster.
Children’s Disaster Services
601 Main Street, P.O. Box 188
New Windsor, MD 21776-0188
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Bridges is the Brethren Disaster Ministries newsletter published three times a year. It features articles from our Children’s Disaster Services program, as well as our Rebuild program, and international efforts. Learn more about the Bridges Newsletter.
- Carolyn Neher to lead Children’s Disaster Services
Carolyn Neher begins June 5 as associate director of Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), a program of Brethren Disaster Ministries.
- CDS volunteers deploy to Multi-Agency Resource Centers in Arkansas
Five Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers deployed this week to the Little Rock, Ark., vicinity after a series of three tornados hit the area on March 31. One EF3 tornado, with winds of 165 miles per hour, touched down west of Little Rock and stayed on the ground for 34 miles, causing extensive damage.
- CDS deploys to Missouri
Three Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers served April 12-13 at a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) in Marble Hill, Mo., caring for children affected by a strong tornado that hit Bollinger County (southeastern Missouri) in the early hours of April 5.
- Children’s Disaster Services offers training sessions
Children’s Disaster Services has three upcoming training events. Participants completing the 25-hour workshops will have the opportunity to become certified Children’s Disaster Services volunteers. CDS would love to see an increase in the number of Church of the Brethren-related volunteers.