WHAT WAS THE SITUATION, ISSUE, OR EVENT THAT INITIATED THIS OPPORTUNITY?
Our work is rarely predictable. When Hurricane Katrina hit, it became clear that we would be active in a variety of ways and at a variety of sites. It turned out that one direction was to help school systems who opened their doors to students being evacuated from the Gulf. We've been to Memphis, Dallas, Atlanta thus far and are scheduled to work with more educators and their colleagues in other cities soon.
What we've witnessed is that educators, who struggle daily to meet the needs of their students, welcomed hurricane evacuees in record numbers. Their efforts served traumatized students and their families and ensured that, at the very least, there would be a home for learning. However, the situation provided yet another set of issues added to the already existing challenges that educational professionals face daily. True to the nature of those in the field, they tried very hard to put aside their own stressors and increased burdens. Though their unselfishness is admirable, we worked with them to acknowledge their increasing stress levels and helped them to understand and manage compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and potential burnout.
WHAT DID WE DO?
Our theme was, and continues to be, "flexibility." After initially helping systems create a plan for assimilation, we consulted with them about working with traumatized families and children, looking at the toll on the staff and associates, and putting a long term process in place for addressing the inevitable emerging stress related issues. Initially, this effort took place on-site. Recently, we've presented at conferences where people have the benefit of sharing experiences with their colleagues as well as hearing needed information from presenters.
HOW DID WE ADD AND MEASURE VALUE TO THE CLIENT?
Because we focus on consulting to teachers, counselors, administrators, and associated educational professionals - we are able to keep abreast of the current state of affairs, which is ever changing, but in so many ways the same. We're struck by the strength, generosity, and resilience of those that are directly impacted by the hurricane and those who maintain a commitment to help where they can.
WHO WOULD BE GREAT PROSPECTS, CLIENTS OR TARGET INDUSTRIES?
Educators, educational institutions, hospitals, social service agencies, religious organizations, shelters, community organizations, first responders, municipalities, or anyone else who steps up to the plate to help people in distress.
WHO ARE THE ORI EXPERTS?
Jeff Weir, MA, Guy Sapirstein, Ph.D., Kevin Becker, Ph.D., and a host of colleagues who share their expertise when requested.