A Shenandoah Valley Project Impact publication created to help children understand disaster preparedness and navigate the stress of severe weather has been reformatted into a mini-guide that will soon be in the hands of children impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Thanks to a collaboration of several organizations and volunteers, 25,000 copies of “Too Much Weather” Kids Disaster Activity Guide will be shipped to hurricane-affected areas this month. The eight-page book is designed to be completed with a parent, teacher, or adult helper, and contains activities to assist children in dealing with the trauma they have experienced.
“Too Much Weather” was originally published after Hurricane Katrina through grant funding received by Shenandoah Valley Project Impact (SVPI), which is a program of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission. James Madison University professor Dr. Anne Stewart worked with SVPI to create the materials that were included in the original guide, which also has information for kids about preparing for disasters, and what to do during severe weather.
The idea for creating a “mini-guide” edition sprung up when several people familiar with the guide decided it was critical to get it in the hands of the most recent young hurricane victims. Several organizations teamed up to quickly make it happen. Graphic design and formatting to make the guide accessible for the visually impaired were donated by Wightman and Associates, a training development firm in Florida. Dr. Alessandra Jerolleman, a Community Resilience and Hazard Mitigation expert from New Orleans contributed the Spanish translation, and Kathryn Lebby and the Association of Play Therapy Foundation donated the printing of 20,000 English and 5,000 Spanish copies.
Word has quickly spread about the availability of the guide, and SVPI is starting to receive requests for copies from groups like the Virgin Islands Children’s Museum, located in St. Thomas. The museum is working with volunteers stateside to create 500 – 600 “trauma bags” that will be shipped by private plane to the children in the Virgin Islands. The group is also asking for donations of the following items to be included in the bags:
- Crayons, pens, pencils
- Stress balls
- Playdoh or silly putty
- Power bars/snack bars
SVPI and Community Emergency Response Team members will be collecting the above items for shipment to the staging area along with copies of “Too Much Weather.” Community members interested in donating can drop items at the CSPDC offices at 112 MacTanly Place in Staunton from 8:30am – 5:30pm on September 14 and 15, from 10:00am – 1pm on Saturday, September 16, and 8:30am – 5pm on September 18.
For more information about “Too Much Weather” Kids Disaster Activity Guide, contact Rebecca Joyce, (540) 885-5174, firstname.lastname@example.org.