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Ozarks Group Aims to Help Kids Deal with Trauma

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Traumatic events like weather disasters and school shootings seem all-the-more prevalent lately, and an Ozarks group already known for helping children cope with grief is now better prepared to help them deal with trauma.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Traumatic events like weather disasters and school shootings seem all-the-more prevalent lately, and an Ozarks group already known for helping children cope with grief is now better prepared to help them deal with trauma.

"The goal is to hopefully avoid post-traumatic stress for them," Executive Director of Lost & Found Grief Center Karen Scott.

Scott said traumatic events like the Joplin tornado and Sandy Hook school shooting prompted the nonprofit to form a response team -- with help from grants by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the O'Reilly Family Foundation.

Since Lost and Found specializes in helping children work through grief, and those events are especially tough for them to deal with, Scott says her team is now trained and ready in case of tragedy..

"Trauma is stored in the sensory part of the brain in images and sensations. So we don't always have words to talk about it," Scott said.

Scott says sensory group activities are well-suited for working through trauma in children, according to research-based standards set by the National Institute For Trauma and Loss in Children.

"It's art, drawing, focusing on their bodies, where do you feel this? Show me in a picture where it hurts on your body. Draw me a picture of the bad thing that happened," Scott said.

About 20 Lost and Found volunteers and counselors from outlying areas are ready to respond with this approach. Since Springfield already has a strong network of grief counselors, it's the outlying areas that will benefit most.

"We try to move them from being a victim, to a survivor and then get them to where they can thrive," Scott said.

To learn more about the Lost & Found Grief Center, visit lostandfoundozarks.com.
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