As the mom of 8 children and the foster-mom to over 20 children, I have seen first-hand the power of play. When many of my children came to live with us, they didn’t know how to play. We placed toys in front of them but they sat and stared. We took them to the playground but the swings made them feel unsteady and afraid. We had one very special therapist come into our lives that worked diligently with our children. She relied solely on play. Each time she sat with our children she introduced play concepts which unlocked their ability to communicate, problem solve, express emotion, take turns and share. Eventually, through the power of play, I watched my children begin the journey to healing.
In the Brookside community, many of our children are exposed to trauma each day. Parents may not feel it is safe to play outside, leaving children feeling isolated. This isolation makes it difficult for children to learn relationship skills, problem solving skills and the creativity they will need to be successful as adults.
When my husband and I first learned about Brookside Play we couldn’t contain our excitement. We are both extremely thankful to have our sons participating in this program. We are also thrilled to have our teenagers volunteering. As for me, I’m pinching myself every day because a job like this is really a dream come true.
- Kristin Berry, Brookside Community Play Children's Director