The Wide Sweep of a Hurricane: Natural Disaster Responses
When the world turns upside down, when that which was dependable becomes undependable, and that which was certain turns uncertain... we instinctively look for help in making sense of it all.
—Leonard Pitts, in the Clarion Ledger, September 7, 2005, quoted in a sermon by Jacqueline Luck
Again and again we remind each other of this dual mission here, two impulses, two prayers, held in tension, the first, going deeper into ourselves and into the life of the spirit, the second, going out into the world to make a difference.
—Rev. Gary Smith
Since the turn of the 21st century, huge environmental disasters have violently taken lives and destroyed many communities. No matter how far we live from the Gulf Coast, Haiti, or Indonesia's shores, the winds and rumblings of hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes reach us, too.
Help children process the devastation of a natural disaster. Help them feel safe. Use the resources the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) gathered to help families respond to the December 14, 2012, shooting in Newtown, CT.
Many children benefit from opportunities to take action. Like adults, children can discover their own spirit while tending to the hurts of our world and each other. Engage children to find out what survivors of a natural disaster need, and do a project to help. Focus children on our seventh Unitarian Universalist (UU) Principle, the interconnected web of all life, and identify an environmental group tackling global warming issues that offers ways for children to get involved.
- Beyond the Mountain is a multigenerational curriculum of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) that introduces Haiti's history, culture, and people and highlights UUSC's ongoing response to the January 2010 earthquake.
- Children can create a fundraising event. Help them raise money for the UUA-UUSC Joint Japan Relief Fund or Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund. Or, give to a fund for Unitarian Universalist rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy started by the Central East Regional Group of congregations in the Joseph Priestly, Metro New York, Ohio-Meadville, and St. Lawrence districts of the UUA.
- Through local chapters, the American Red Cross trains and engages volunteers in disaster preparedness and prevention work as well as direct relief.
- At home, use a guide from the American Academy of Pediatrics to include children in creating a family disaster plan.
- On the Ready Kids pages of the Federal Emergency Management Administration website, children learn about weather events and other unexpected situations, and use online games with Flat Stanley and Flat Stella to plan for emergencies.