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  • Speech Therapist Organizes Activities For Young Taal Victims: 'Kids Need Play To Heal'

    Children's need for play and leisure should be met even in the face of tragedy.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Speech Therapist Organizes Activities For Young Taal Victims: 'Kids Need Play To Heal'
PHOTO BY The Crafter Teacher/Facebook
  • Filipinos are known for their bayanihan spirit and citizens are witnessing it firsthand in the wake of the Taal Volcano eruption. From unaffected towns in Batangas welcoming evacuees, to local government units, organizations, and private individuals mobilizing assistance and relief goods, everyone is doing their best to help the Taal victims.

    But while help is coming in droves, a speech pathologist and teacher shares an important reminder: we should also pay extra attention to the children who have been traumatized by this disaster.

    It’s for this reason that Lourdes Bernadette “Bernice” Lopez, CSP-PASP, a pediatric speech and language pathologist based in Batangas, chose to organize child-friendly activities during their visit at the Rafael Lojo Memorial School Banay in Lipa, Batangas, which serves as an evacuation center for more than 1,000 evacuees.

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    “Most of the basic needs — shelter, food, clothing, etc — of children in evacuation centers are currently being met due to the influx of donations sent from all over. However, we feel that their need for play and leisure should be met, too. Our team believes that psychosocial support for these children is equally important after the traumatic event that struck them and their families.” Bernice tells SmartParenting.com.ph in an interview via Messenger.

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    At the evacuation center, Bernice and her co-teachers from Jumpstart Therapy Center facilitated kids’ yoga and provided arts and crafts activities — a giant rainbow and coloring sheet — that the children can all do together. They were also able to provide drawing and coloring kits to around 80 children.

    “We chose to do activities like arts and crafts, storytelling, movement and yoga as these would help facilitate healing process through creative expression, social interaction, and collaboration,” Bernice explains.

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    Playtime with the kids may seem frivolous during this crisis but Bernice reiterates that this simple act goes a long way in helping kids deal with the tragedy. "Giving them opportunities for play provides them with relief from the stress and anxiety following the tragedy," she says. "It may seem that we are just taking there minds off it for a short while, but really, we are already addressing the long-term effects of the trauma."

    Bernice hopes to do visit more evacuation centers in the coming days but she would need help with the activities for the kids. Currently, they are accepting arts and crafts kits, art materials, books, educational materials, and toys which they hope to distribute in various evacuation centers. They are also accepting other donations in the form of hygiene kits, beddings and pillows, face towels, diapers, sanitary pads, and water.

    Donations may be dropped off at Jumpstart Therapy Center, 0785 Katigbak Farm Estates, Banaybanay, Lipa City, Batangas. Contact Bernice at +63 998-965-1163. For Metro Manila residents, you may drop off your donations at Bubba Doodles' headquarters. Contact Karen Ayala at +63 917-583-7208 or message @bubbadoodles on Facebook and Instagram for the exact delivery details.

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    Want to help? Click here for a list of organizations where you can send in your donations.

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