Boys learn to relax and control their breathing
Thank you for your ongoing support of the American Friends of the Spafford Children’s Center. Your interest and donations have enabled us to help the Spafford Children’s Center expand its offerings this year, and we want to take this opportunity to tell you more about how your generosity has aided Palestinian children.
Traumatic experiences are part of the lives of many Palestinian children, and the SCC in East Jerusalem has a new program to help. From years of experience, it was evident that for some children the reaction to trauma is more intense. To help these children, the SCC Director, over several months, worked with the PhD psychologist, the activities specialist who has university training in trauma treatment, and the social worker to design a program to reduce trauma reactions and allow children to focus on increasing self-regulation skills and social support. The Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Project began late last year at SCC.
Whether referred by the child’s parents or school, the first step is assessing the child’s background and family situation, trauma history, school experiences, and current exposure to community violence or other stressors. The psychologist and social worker have found that many of the 50 Palestinian children assessed, to date, display complex trauma, meaning that have experienced multiple traumatic events and other stressful daily encounters including discrimination in their neighborhoods, where societal tensions are constant. Parents are an important part of the assessment process and are engaged in awareness workshops to learn about the effects of trauma and how to strengthen the protective circle around their children.
The trauma specialist meets twice a week after school with children in small groups. The children know this is a safe time and space to share their experiences. In some instances, the children learn to cope by re-enacting the trauma through play or in collaboration with others. The specialist uses movement and relaxation techniques to help the children learn to self-regulate when they experience frightening memories or overwhelming emotions. Additionally, the project provides opportunities for children to express emotions through art and writing stories.
The feedback from parents is very positive. Mothers say their children seem happier, less reactive to noises, more willing to talk with their parents, and less withdrawn from the family. Additionally, the children look forward to going to the SCC sessions and speak positively about the time with the specialist. The mothers also say they have benefited from regular sessions with the social worker and are learning to understand the reactions of their children. Due to confidentiality concerns, these pictures are not of children participating in the Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Project; rather, they are past images of children at SCC.
Know that your giving sustains this vital healing work. To make a donation today, please visit GlobalGiving at:https://goto.gg/31839.
Trauma Specialist helps a girl express feelings
Trauma Specialist helps a boy focus his thoughts