CRP is honored to welcome back Beryl Cheal, our education consultant, this month who is here to check up on us and help us improve our youth programs. With her invaluable 60 years experience working with children, CRP is lucky to able to benefit from her expertise. Beryl visited CRP last fall through a grant from FAWCO and helped us develop our SuperGirls program. Our second class of SuperGirls just graduated and our third class has just begun, so this is the perfect time for Beryl to reassess our program.
“I think that training in any new topic is very important,” Beryl says, explaining that there are a lot of new staff members and volunteers at CRP since she first came last fall. “Unless we talk about it and we talk to people and ask the question we don’t really know what it might mean. So, if we’re talking about a trauma-sensitive organization, we need to define what that really means. They’re nice words to hear but words only mean something when you define what they mean,” says Beryl, explaining the importance of defining what trauma sensitive means.
Beryl’s main goal through this visit is to help make CRP more trauma sensitive through training our staff members. Every Monday for the month that Beryl is here, she is holding a full day-long training session where the educational team at CRP as well as some volunteers engage in different activities that are team building and eye opening. “The activities that Beryl is guiding us through during the training make us feel like children,” Salem, one of the volunteers attending the training, says, laughing. “She has us think as children would when it comes to feelings and raw emotion she has a way to really bring out that in people.” From activities like drawing to dancing and doing the hokey pokey, Beryl makes sure the training is fun and productive.
“What we say can really affect children in a way beyond what we could imagine. Beryl is helping us realize the impact our words can have and how we could improve our choice of words when talking to children,” says Dima, our teen program coordinator attending the training.
This trauma-sensitive training is vital to our educational programs and especially the children programs. War-caused trauma can be difficult to tackle, for both adults and children. Having feelings that children might not be able to cope with or understand is very difficult, Beryl stresses the fact that we as educators need to address these feelings and make sure that these children know no matter what they feel it is OK for them to feel this way.
“You can’t gain this kind of experience from doing research or going on the web. She has an amazing amount of experience that we have the precious opportunity to learn from. She’s worked with many different nationalities of refugees from all over the world and children who have been through trauma,” says Emad, another one of our staff members at the training.
Thanks to FAWCO for understanding the importance of guidance from someone like Beryl and making it possible for her to come out!