Please note: this post contains discussion of difficult topics. For immediate assistance during a crisis, call 911. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained Crisis Counselor with Crisis Text Line for free support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I just sat here for 10 minutes staring at this empty text box, because what can I even say? Yet again the unthinkable happened. Yet again precious lives are violently stolen in a place that should be a safe haven. Yet again we are faced with grief beyond comprehension. Yet again. Yet again. Yet again. Yet again.
When school shootings are dominating headlines, it is difficult for all of us to process, but can be especially so for young people who have to themselves continue going to school. They may need extra comfort and support in processing their thoughts and feelings right now. This post contains resources to help those of us who work with youth in navigating these complicated situations, but also if your Club hasn’t already begun the process to becoming Trauma-Informed, now is the time.
This ClubX Blog post gives guidance appropriate for older youth and teens:
For younger youth:
- Talking to Children When Scary Things Happen
- Once I was Very Very Scared– picture book for young children
- Sesame Street in Communities– videos and activities to help explain violence to very young children
- Be There– BGCA program on helping grieving youth (Native youth adaptation also available)
Aquí hay algunos recursos en Español (Here are some resources in Spanish):
- Hablando con los Niños Cuando Sucede La Violencia (Talking to Children When Scary Things Happen)
- Para Los Adolescentes: Cómo Afrontar Los Efectos de la Biolencia Masiva (For Teens: Coping After Mass Violence)
- Ayuda Para Jóvenes Después de un Trauma Comunitario: Consejos Para Los Educadores (Helping Youth After a Community Trauma: Tips for Educators)
Finally, this trauma also affects those of us who work with youth. Here are resources for adults:
- Pause-Reset-Nourish (PRN) to Promote Wellbeing (En Español)
- This ClubX Blog post on Managing Stress using the Crisis Text Line was written for our Coronavirus series in 2020, but the Crisis Text Line is open for any kind of support needed, in any stressful situation. I repost it here because the process is the same regardless of your need.
We are all grieving right now. Take the time to sit with that grief, let yourself feel it, because it is the right response to a tragedy like this. Then, move into action. The work we do in Boys & Girls Clubs and other youth-serving spaces is already making a difference. Double-down on building supportive relationships with young people and particularly with the teens in your community. If you aren’t already, register to vote, and consider contacting your U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, and State government officials to advocate for policies that can address these crises.