Children’s Disaster Services Workshops Offer Training Opportunities

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS), which is a Church of the Brethren program and a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries, has announced a number of workshops in early 2015.

Since 1980, CDS has met 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, CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by natural or human-caused disasters.

Participants in the 27-hour workshops learn to provide comfort and encouragement to children by offering healing care in traumatic situations, and how to create a safe and friendly environment that gives children the chance to engage in therapeutic play activities designed to relieve stress and calm fears. The workshops include a simulated shelter experience (an overnight stay) and will be provided to any group of 15 or more adults interested in working with children after a disaster. Participants completing the course will have the opportunity to become certified Children’s Disaster Services volunteers.

Because children can experience personal disasters (when a friend moves away, a pet dies, etc.) people who come in contact with a distressed child can benefit from this workshop. Many of the concepts taught in the workshop are appropriate to use at those times as well as after disasters.

Normally a registration fee of $45 (or $55 for late registration) covers the cost of the training materials. Donations to cover other expenses are appreciated. More information and registration are at .

Following are dates, locations, and local contacts for the workshops in early 2015:

Jan. 23-24, 2015, Central Christian Church, Bradenton, Fla.; contact Rev. Joy Haskin Rowe, 540-420-4896,

Feb. 21-22, 2015, LaVerne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; contact Kathy Benson, 909-837-7103,

March 5-6, 2015, Diocese of Orange Pastoral Center, Garden Grove, Calif.; contact Elizabeth Sandoval, 714-282-3098 or 714-609-6884,

April 17-18, 2015, First Congregational Church of Wallingford, Conn.; contact Eloise Hazelwood, 203-294-2065,

April 24-25, 2015, Latrobe (Pa.) United Methodist Church; contact Deb Ciocco, 724-331-0628,

May 21, 2015, Special Partnership Workshop at a pre-conference session of the Child Life Specialist National Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio. This workshop is only available to Child Life Specialists. For more information contact Kathy Fry-Miller, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, at 800-451-4407 or 260-704-1443, .

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