I recently visited our early childhood classrooms in Garden City. While visiting one in particular, I found myself comforting a young child who was quietly crying while the other children played. She had tears running down her cheeks and soft hiccups trying desperately to keep herself pulled together for a four-year-old. I caught her attention when I sat on the floor across from her and asked if she wanted me to hold her. She looked at her teacher for permission, which was granted, and crawled over to sit in my lap. I rocked her and told her everything was going to be ok. Her teacher whispered to me that it had been a difficult two weeks. The girl’s grandfather passed away due to COVID-19, and every morning when her mother dropped her off, the girl worried her mom would not return. I sat silently with this little girl full of big emotions for about five minutes, just long enough for her to calm down and feel reassured that everything would be ok and that she was safe.
Our children are experiencing more trauma in their lives than ever before. We have begun the process of returning to in-person services and anticipate seeing more children who have experienced loss in their young lives who are trying to make sense of it. We know our staff have faced similar hardships. We will get through this by supporting and caring for each other and our families. We will continue to thrive and create safer communities.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Join us in raising awareness about the importance of being involved in a young child’s life. The smallest positive interactions with a child can often have the greatest impact.