|Photo by Donna Belknap|
|A CDS volunteer at work. Children’s Disaster Services trains and certifies volunteers to care for children after disaster strikes. The CDS workshop offers training in how play and caring help children deal with the trauma of a disaster.|
Children’s Disaster Services is offering a New England training workshop on May 3-4 in Litchfield, Conn., at Friendship Baptist Church. This is one of a series of CDS workshops in Connecticut. The workshops in Connecticut after this will give state residents priority, but for this workshop registration numbers are unlimited.
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) works cooperatively with FEMA and the American Red Cross to provide care for children and families following disasters, through the work of trained and certified volunteers. CDS is a Church of the Brethren ministry that has been meeting the needs of children since 1980.
CDS sets up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by natural or human-caused disasters.
This workshop will offer training in care for children who have experienced disasters, but information learned at this workshop can be beneficial to anyone working with children. The workshop trains participants to understand and respond to children who have experienced a disaster, recognize fears and other emotions children experience during and following a disaster, and learn how child-led play and art mediums can start the healing process. Hosted by a local congregation, the workshops also offers participants a taste of living conditions in disaster-affected areas as they sleep overnight in church facilities.
Once participants complete a workshop and undergo a rigorous screening process, they may apply for certification to serve as a CDS volunteer. CDS training is open to anyone over 18 years old. Cost is $45 for early registration, or $55 less than three weeks in advance. The fee covers meals, curriculum, and one overnight stay.