Project HELP

Project HELP - Addressing PTSD with Children

Every two years, WMU prayerfully chooses a Project HELP emphasis. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is the Project HELP emphasis for 2016-2017. WMU encourages members at all ages to minister in some way to those suffering with PTSD.

The preceding paragraph is included in each Children in Action Leader, GA Leader, and RA Leader magazine. But, what does it mean? What in the world are you supposed to do as a leader? How do you help children understand PTSD?

Here's an overall tip to keep in mind: The children in your missions education group need your love, support, and understanding. People in their families, neighborhoods, or schools may be struggling with PTSD. It could be that some of the children in your missions education group are struggling with PTSD themselves. While missions leaders, church staff members, and parents can play a key role in helping someone with PTSD, it's best to know your limits. Trained therapists are the best people to call upon to help when it is believed that someone is struggling with PTSD.

So, what's a missions leader to do? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

When a Child Hurts

 

Think about the children you teach each week. In your CA, GA, or RA group, is there a child who is withdrawn? How about one who blurts answers out of turn or constantly seeks your attention? What about a child who seems angry most of the time?

Instead being frustrated with the child’s actions, consider that something might have happened in that child’s life to cause him or her to act that way.

Children, like adults, cannot check their emotional baggage at the door. Unfortunately, they bring those experiences with them when they come to missions classrooms. And, those experiences sometimes cause children to act in ways that may take away from learning activities that are happening with other children.

Every week, you have the opportunity to reach out to the children in your care and remind them that regardless of what has happened outside of the walls of your missions classroom, they are valuable to not only you as their leader, but they are also valuable to God. Their lives have great purpose!

When a Preschooler Experiences Trauma

A plastic bin sat on the floor to use as a doll bed. The baby doll sat in the bin with a baby blanket next to it. A preschooler took the doll and wrapped it in the blanket. She then placed the doll facedown on the floor and turned the plastic bin over on the doll, totally enclosing the doll underneath the bin. This was one week after devastating tornadoes had ravaged the landscape and homes, and taken lives in the surrounding area. I served on a Disaster Relief Child Care team in which we cared for children whose homes had been damaged.

As I watched this preschooler play with the doll, I wondered if this was what happened to her. Did her family get under furniture for protection? Did they place something on top of themselves to keep safe? What was the best way for me to respond to this preschooler?

As you teach Mission Friends®, you also may have a time when there is a natural disaster. The preschoolers you teach may have been impacted by disasters such as flooding, a hurricane, fire, or a tornado. When preschoolers experience trauma from natural disasters, how can you help them feel safe and secure when they are at church?

Hope for the Hurting

Project HELP PTSD

During the 2014–2015 church year, we launched a four-year emphasis under the umbrella of Project HELPSM related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is not only a personal issue for many families but also becoming a significant issue for the church. From the effects of war on our soldiers to persecution of our missionaries to school shootings and natural disasters, post-traumatic reactions are often serious but seldom discussed by those involved for fear of being labeled or misunderstood.

Together We Make a Difference

January is recognized as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Every day, countless numbers of girls are trapped into a life of slavery either by force, by fraud, or with a promise of a better life that never comes. WMU has focused attention on this issue for several years through Project HELP and WorldCrafts in hopes of creating avenues of awareness and prevention. Many local and state WMU organizations have risen to the challenge and are doing incredible things to rid our society of this tragedy. You are to be commended for all your efforts.

Pages

Back to Top