Young Sandy Survivors Get Weekly Support [AUDIO]
In the areas hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy nearly eight months ago, young children continue to receive crisis counseling on a weekly basis. Some were rescued by boat from their flooded homes; others waited out the storms with their families and watched the devastation unfold outside.
Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Velez and Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake toured the Visitation Relief Center in Brick Township on Wednesday. At least a dozen children, ages 5 to 12, have received counseling there through the New Jersey Hope and Healing project.
"Disasters like Sandy can damage more than just property; people can lose their spirit," said Commissioner Velez. "That's why restoring survivors' emotional and psychological balance is a fundamental factor in rebuilding New Jersey."
Participating children talk with other affected kids and join in activities aimed at helping them with their coping skills.
"They've been through a lot," said counselor Abigail Priece, noting that some kids have been sensitive to the recent storms New Jersey has been experiencing.
This week, the children designed cards and messages of hope for children in Oklahoma who survived the tornadoes.
"I'm very sorry that your home state Oklahoma had a horrible tornado," one letter said. "I know how you feel. I'm serious."
"It is heartwarming to see the resiliency of children affected by Superstorm Sandy as they reach out to Oklahomans," said Commissioner Blake. "I believe both groups of children - in New Jersey and Oklahoma - will benefit from this thoughtful and generous gesture."