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Iowa Floods 2008 - Kids' Reactions

posted on June 26, 2008 at 3:24 PM

The emotional effects of disasters like tornados, and morecurrently floods, can remain long after the events. The very act of reconstruction can help manyrecover.

But moving on is a tougher chore for children. . The events and their continuous news coveragecan stay with kids longer and more profoundly. That’s why escape through play or literatureis such an important opportunity for the young.

A case in point can be found in the travels of one of ourown; IPTV’s Dan Wardell who, despite the floods, is continuing his 60 citylibrary tour, promoting reading.

Dan Wardell,IPTV's Kids Clubhouse Host: "This is a story of Grant the Ant."

The appearance of IowaPublic Television's Kids Clubhouse Host, Dan Wardellis such a popular event, the management of the Cedar Rapids Library didn't havethe heart to cancel it -- even though the appearance was to be in theauditorium of the downtown library. About two weeks ago, thelibrary was flooded, along with most of downtown and thousands of homes. In thespirit of "the show must go on," Carol Hoke moved the event to ashopping mall's center court -- where there is also a small branch library onthe upper level.

While she said thelocation for "Dan's Reading Road Show" isn't ideal … she knew it wasimportant to keep the engagement for the children.

Carol Hoke, Children'sServices Manager, Cedar Rapids Library: "Well I think it's important toestablish some kind of normalcy for children. And for many children coming tothe library is normal, participating in the reading program."

Many of the parentsagree … as they work hard to explain to their children why some of their normalroutines won't be normal for some time to come.

Jenny Cooper, Cedar Rapids: "Theywant to know what they can do and when they can go back to the library. It's very sad, they're very disturbed by it--it’s very hard to explain to them the mountains of garbage and the completelydifferent appearance of things … and the smell and the people filling thestreets in their suits and masks. It's very scary."

Jenny Cooper said sheand her family were fortunate to not have received major flooding of theirhome. Another Cedar Rapidsresident, DeAnn Reeves feels the sameway … but she and her son have friends who were not as lucky.

Benjamin Reeves, Cedar Rapids: "We'regiving my friend a few things. Their parents got flooded so they're having towork on their house a little bit. Well it's very sad. I don't like flood watervery much."

DeAnn Reeves, CedarRapids: "He's asked a few times if we need to buy a boat and wondered ifwe needed to take the boat to help people but then if we should have it just incase the water got higher, so that's on his mind."

Another child at thelibrary event also was concerned about the vulnerability of his house,even though his grandmother said they were on high ground and safe.

Sam Evan-Schwartz, Cedar Rapids: "Ifilled some grocery bags up with sand and put them at the door."

Chris Evan-Schwartz(Sam's grandmother): "He was playing "flood" with his toys andreally talking about it a lot."

Sam Evan-Schwartz, Cedar Rapids: "I wasplaying flood. It was fun. I head to the airport. Flood at Cedar Rapids and had to move to anothercity."

Chris Evan-Schwartz,Sam's grandmother, Cedar Rapids:"Lots of talk and playing about floods. My daughter works at the Boys andGirls Club where a couple kids were. The flood came running through and thenthe other kids would run away. And they were kind of playing through theirfears and experiences they had."

But any "playing offlood" on this day was postponed for an hour or so … as Dan Wardell took these children on an imaginary pathfar from the waters that were lapping at their City's doorstep.

Dan Wardell, KidsClubhouse Host, Iowa Public Television: "I don't think I change anythingfrom town to town when it comes to story time, but maybe when I come to a townlike Cedar Rapids that was really hit by the floods, I turn it up even an extranotch so I even, I have even more energy than I did from the last town and withthis crowd today, with all the excitement it was very easy to feed off theelectricity and pump it back right all the kids and families."

Judging from theattendance, the break from the flood to watch a silly "live" show atthe mall was just what many here needed. A head-count by an IPTV staff personnoted 525 people attended one of the two shows sponsored by the Cedar Rapidslibrary. That is 25 more people thanattended Dan Wardell's Cedar Rapids presentationlast year.


Tags: bombs Cedar Rapids disasters downtown families floods HEAT Iowa Iowa-storms-08 kids parenting stress tornadoes tragedy


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