Program Helps Children Deal with Tragedy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/15/05

Program Helps Children Deal with Tragedy

She lost her son in the September 11 terrorist attack on America and now Ann Douglas is piloting a program for school children traumatized by the attack.

She's also written a children's book, and after she lost her own son, she really wanted to reach out to young school children who saw the attacks happen right before their eyes.

For a lot of us, the attacks of 9/11 seem so long ago. But for others the memories are fresh. They're still dealing with what will have life-long effects.

"This is our question, how is our world better than it was on 2001 when that tragedy happened?" asked Douglas at today's program at Armstrong Atlantic State University.

Having lost her own son during 9/11, Douglas is helping to create a new program that will help the youngest of students deal with tragedies of all sorts.

"The three things that we're going to teach the children will be a quiet time, then we're going to teach them a way to communicate that will eliminate bullying and teasing, then we're going to ask his gift, something he's good at, and encourage him to use it to help others," she explained.

As educators at AASU learn how to teach these techniques, Douglas says even the smallest children can learn these skills.

"It starts in infancy," said AASU's Dr. Maryellen Cosgrove. "It starts with talking with children, reading to children and just cuddling and loving children and if we can just do that they'll be a lot better prepared when they get to formal school."

With so many children in our own area affected by the war in Iraq, schools in our area may one day adopt these skills. With the course of our nation taking a sudden turn on 9/11, educators say an entire generation will spend the rest of their lives learning how to move forward.

"I'd like to honor my son and all those who are with him, all of those we've lost in Iraq and all of the broken dreams and broken hearts are being honored today," said Douglas.

This pilot program is already in the works in New York. It's a two year program with one year left to go. Once it's complete, lessons will be adopted in schools across the nation.

If you would like more information on this educational program, visit www.bettaplace.com.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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