Helping Communities Heal
Survivors of natural disasters and man-made conflict may have experienced loss of homes, community, loved ones and their livelihood. This creates stress and uncertainty for the survivor. Headwaters’ volunteers include mental health professionals with experience in disaster response and trauma who support those experiencing symptoms of distress. We are experienced working with individuals who have a history of mental health conditions or who develop mental health difficulties post disaster. Headwaters volunteers use a variety of techniques including play therapy to help children express themselves and learn skills.
We educate caregivers, parents and teachers on how to work with children using storytelling. In doing so the adults are able to support the children and recognize the difficulties they may be experiencing. As a result coping strategies and overall resiliency are built. This concept has been effective in multiple settings. Headwaters also educates first responders, disaster relief responders, community leaders and others on psychological first aid techniques and other topics such as grief and loss, cultural diversity, resiliency and compassion fatigue to increase the tools they have to support their own community.
Recovery and Rebuilding
We help people normalize their response to traumatic events, and create opportunities for communities to support their own recovery.
Using stories, we reach community members of all ages, giving them the tools to aid in the recovery process.
Our books along with the caregivers’ guide focus not only on disaster response, but on the development of techniques that are supportive to grow and learn from unexpected events.
Learn more about Psychosocial supports
Ernst & Young Article on dolls- Our good fortune with media coverage of our Asha doll initiative continued
Through her non-profit disaster relief organization, Headwaters, Rebecca Thomley of Orion provides aid and comfort to families and...
Headwaters Relief Organization has long focused on the wellbeing of children following natural disasters, whether they’re within U.S....
A half a world away from Minnesota, young girls in Nepal struggle to stay in school. But now, boxes of help are coming from the Twin...
When Strong Winds Blow
“When Strong Winds Blow” was created by Headwaters Relief Organization volunteers with consultation from a Filipino volunteer to help children understand their experiences after a natural disaster. The book was completed after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and is designed to assist children in coping with their experiences and in building resiliency.
“When Haiti Shakes” was the first book created by Headwaters Relief Organization. This book was designed to help children understand what an earthquake is and teach them what to do if another one occurs. Many children didn’t know what to do when the earthquake happened in 2010. They had no knowledge that the buildings could be dangerous so instead of moving away from the buildings to a safe area, many ran back in the buildings. This resulted in the loss of many lives. The second printing of this book was completed in consultation with the Ministry of Education and translated in three languages, English, Creole and French. The Ministry has placed “When Haiti Shakes”, including the teacher’s guide in Haitian schools and libraries
“When the Great Sickness Came”. The book is designed to explore the emotions and family losses many children experienced related to the Ebola outbreak. A teachers/caregivers guide offers techniques to help children with understanding the virus and coping with loss. It also provides suggestions for children to maintain their physical and emotional health.
It is currently being distributed to children in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia through partnerships with other non-profits including Salesian Mission, Healey International Relief Foundation and Brother’s Brother Foundation. This book was also done in consultation with individuals native to these countries.
“Stronger Together ” is Headwater’ ninth children’s book. The book, “Stronger Together”, accompanies the Asha Doll with a story about girls supporting each other to reach their goals, including their educational goals. Headwaters Relief Organization developed the Asha doll campaign combined with the story, “Stronger Together”, to create a message for girls about embracing our individual differences. A doll that looks like the girls in India and Nepal is important. Currently, if girls in these countries have dolls, they are usually blonde and blue-eyed dolls. A doll that looks like them is a positive role model, encourages cultural and racial acceptance and builds self-esteem.
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