Teddy Bears* and Reading books are 2 items we consider essential. Used in the kid’s packs, they help children deal with the emotional impact of the violent trauma they often witness or have themselves experienced. Teddy Bears specifically provide a source of comfort for both the children and, by proxy, their parent: as many have not been able to give their child their own toy before. As well, the reading book has proven extremely beneficial, providing an activity that the children and their parent are encouraged to do together.
These items give children a sense of ownership and security, with many carrying their backpacks or soft toys around with them. The proof of their impact is in the feedback. One manager reported a boy trying to wear his backpack in the shower, refusing to take it off – fearful that it would disappear. Their therapeutic value remains true even for the older children/ teenagers. *Note: or alternative soft, cuddly toy.
“I was so worried coming into the safe house as I hadn’t had a lot of time to grab stuff for the kids. It was such a worry off my mind for the kids to be given those back packs each so they at least had a few things of their own.”
The children are often on edge and unsure what to expect and to give them a wee backpack they can call their own with special gifts in it goes a long way towards helping them feel like the safe house is a safe and ok place for them to be...