Empowering families and children to improve resiliency and mental health

 “Everyone was affected by the tornado, including students and staff. Everyone came together to make this project a success.” – Destiney Baxter, Early Care Advisor at Child Care Aware of Northwest Arkansas

In the wake of the devastating EF-3 tornado that struck Springdale, Arkansas, on March 30, 2022, a profound and impactful recovery journey began for Child Care Aware of Northwest Arkansas (CCA of NWA). About 400 residents were affected by the powerful storm, including high-risk, low-income families who were most vulnerable. Behavioral challenges among children and early childcare providers emerged as a major concern.

In the aftermath of the disaster, CCA of NWA’s set out to empower families and children through training for child care providers and support that improved classroom behavior, children’s resiliency and mental health. They offered social-emotional training to early childhood professionals, educators, parents and the community, enhancing families’ and children’s social and emotional well-being.

The CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund recognized the importance of this work and granted $120,000 to CCA of NWA to help children and caregivers. CDP hoped that demonstrating the impact of these efforts would attract additional funding and sustain this vital work.

CCA of NWA delivered training through 8-hour monthly sessions via Zoom or in-person meetings and hosted a one-day conference. Topics included brain development, social-emotional well-being, mental health for children and adults, and resiliency. More than 300-500 early childhood professionals received training through this initiative, enriching their abilities to nurture and support the community’s youngest members to help them recover from the impacts of the tornado.

Child Care Aware of Northwest Arkansas’ efforts extend beyond immediate disaster recovery. A solid foundation of social and emotional well-being for children and adults alike can shape the future of a generation. Healing and resilience are underway, guided by a deep commitment to the well-being of this community and improving its future.

CDP is proud to partner with CCA of NWA to help children and families recover and improve social and emotional well-being following the tornado.

Story by Juanicia Crump

(Photo by RDNE Stock project)