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 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.
- Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services monitor situation at border
Staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) are monitoring the situation at the southern border of the United States as numbers of migrants increase, in particular the conditions for families with children and unaccompanied minors.
- Nigerian Sunday school teachers learn the Healing Hearts curriculum for trauma healing
The peace program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) held a Trauma Healing Workshop on Feb. 21-24. Forty-two Sunday school teachers from 15 districts attended.
- Children’s Disaster Services recommends BBT resource on children and the pandemic
Children and families continue to face isolation, and challenges abound with the pandemic continuing. Mental health for all ages has been impacted on some level. As we approach the one‐year anniversary of “flattening the curve” to slow the virus down, some may be feeling like this will never end. So, how can we face this year with hope and a plan to keep our families moving in the right direction?
- Children’s Disaster Services exceeds goal for donations of Individual Kits of Comfort
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has exceeded its goal of 2,500 Individual Kits of Comfort to provide to children affected by disasters this year. CDS has developed the Individual Kit of Comfort as an alternative for in-person care to children affected by disasters during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Individual Kit of Comfort was created to promote