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.
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.
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.
- Children’s Disaster Services deploys second team to Hawaii after wildfires
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has deployed another team to Hawaii in partnership with the Red Cross. The volunteers traveled to Maui on Sept. 4-5.
- Children’s Disaster Services deploys volunteers to Hawaii after wildfires
The Church of the Brethren’s Children’s Disaster services (CDS) has deployed volunteers to Hawaii in partnership with the Red Cross. The volunteers traveled on Aug. 14-15. They have set up a Children’s Disaster Services Center in a Family Assistance Center in Lahaina, on the island of Maui. The volunteers are scheduled to serve through Sept. 4.
- Children’s Disaster Services deploys team to Guam after Typhoon Mawar
Children’s Disaster services (CDS) has deployed a team of six volunteers to Guam in partnership with the Red Cross. The first volunteer traveled on June 12, and the full team will be in place by June 16.
- Brethren Disaster Ministries holds leadership seminar
The Brethren Disaster Ministries leadership seminar held May 14-17 at Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., brought together staff, district disaster coordinators (DDCs), and disaster project leaders (DPLs) to review and renew the rebuilding program.