Counseling Kids After Katrina
Last summer’s hurricanes were physically devastating to the Gulf Coast, but they had a psychological impact too. The fear of more storms has many people bracing for this season. That’s why this year’s “Vacation Bible School” offers something extra – classes to help kids face the future. Reed Galin reports.
(Locator: Pass Christian, Mississippi)
“All of a sudden the dining room, pieces of the roof started falling through in there.”
Living through the trauma of Hurricane Katrina has left many children with scars that surface when they share their stories.
Jenifer Truong/12-year-old: “I was afraid of, if I would see everyone again.”
Blaze Lopez/10-year-old: “It was a really bad hurricane.”
Here at Camp Noah, kids do more than have a good time. They also deal with storm stress.
Melanie Davis/Camp Noah: “They are predicting over 100,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder from the children who’ve been affected.”
Sarah Shelly/First United Methodist Church, Gulfport, Ms.: “Children are regressing into things like sucking their thumb, bedwetting, nightmares.”
Two United Methodist churches on the Gulf Coast are hosting these unique day camps.
Ella Dedeaux/Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Pass Christian, Ms.: “There’s a lot of mental-health outlets for adults. But there was none available for children.”
Counselors acknowledge the children’s fears, and help them face an unpredictable future.
Kiana Welch/13-year-old: “I’m kind of afraid that another storm will come and we’ll have to go through everything all over again.”
These camps are held wherever big storms hit, from Florida to the upper Midwest. Counselors say without help, some kids may carry the trauma of storms the rest of their lives.
A total of 65 “Camp Noah” sessions are planned this summer, mostly along the Gulf Coast. Organizers are also hoping to schedule them during fall and spring breaks, because of the number of children affected by Hurricane Katrina and other storms.
For more details, go to the Camp Noah website at www.campnoah.org.