The anniversary of last year’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School is coming up.The events of December 14, 2012 were so horrific that the nation vowed it would never happen again. Until it did – at the Boston Marathon when a ten year old boy died moments after watching his father cross the finish line. His five year old sister was among several other children who were seriously maimed.
Though these murderous acts are more random and infrequent than they appear in the media, they can and do shake us to our core. So should the more frequently occurring acts of childhood victimization that cause suffering for thousands of children every day.
Working to stop or draw attention to the suffering endured by all these innocents seems like an appropriate tribute to the lives lost at Sandy Hook.
There are lots of ways to do this. Non-profit organizations like Men of Hope, founded in Canada in 2010, increase awareness of childhood victimization though public education. They raise resources for survivors through the charity events they sponsor. You can follow them on Twitter @MenofHope1
Jane Donovan, a volunteer at Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County, Texas, tries to increase children’s awareness of appropriate and inappropriate adult behavior. She started a puppet company The Kids Count Players in 2004. Since then, the puppets have performed for over 40,000 children in Kindergarten through second grade. The skits teach children how to stay safe and get help when they need it. You can watch one of their performances at www.cacollincounty.org/event_details/education-kep.html
Shelley Calissendorff tries to break the intergenerational transmission of abuse and neglect by offering parents new ideas about how to care for infants and toddlers. Her engaging “Baby Bits” appear regularly at www.SmileAtYourBaby.org. They can be downloaded and shared at childcare programs, doctors’ offices, and other places frequently visited by young families.
Building one’s capacity to respond to the needs of children with early trauma histories is a another way to make change happen. The Safe Start Center is a national program committed to helping early childhood professionals provide trauma-informed services to young children. It sponsors training programs throughout the United States. Contact them at www.safestartcenter.com.
Those interested in learning more about the needs of school-aged children and youths can visit www.traumasensitveschools.org to find out what states are doing to make educators more trauma informed.
Let’s remember the lives lost at Sandy Hook by ending the senseless pain so many youngsters endure. Let’s stop the violence now.