Like so many of you, I grew up watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Fred Rogers was a calming presence for an entire generation of children, but he also had someone to help navigate difficult times when he was a child. His mother once told him, when disaster strikes, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
We mourn those killed and the community traumatized by the tornadoes in Oklahoma. And we also think of the teachers, the helpers, the adults to whom children look when scary moments like tornadoes or violence happens around them. These amazing adults are heroes to children in child care settings and schools throughout the community. They did the very thing we need them to do – provide a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for children.
The children and families in Oklahoma and other affected areas will need support to deal with this trauma and the rebuilding of their neighborhoods. All of us, from many disciplines, must, and already have, come together to provide the best supportive care for the children directly affected, and those children who may have witnessed the disaster in the media. At Child Care Aware ® of America, we are committed to working with Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and other national and local partners to support rebuilding and offer disaster resources, talking points and guidance for adults working and living with children.
We see the best during our most difficult moments – and this was true in Oklahoma. We praise those teachers and caregivers who protected their children, and we stand ready to offer support, wherever it is needed.
Here are a few resources to get you started. Follow us as we work together for children across our nation.
Lynette is the Executive Director of Child Care Aware ® of America