Grant to help children deal with feelings

12/30/2015  

By Sue Cody

 

Pocket Full of Feelings 2Providence Health and Services recently gave $40,000 in grants to Connect the Dots, in support of four programs related to Way to Wellville Clatsop County. Connect the Dots is a nonprofit dedicated to uniting visions and missions of community partners to advocate for children and families.

 

One of the four $10,000 grants will be used to promote Trauma Informed Care, a program that takes into account adverse childhood experiences to create healthier outcomes for people

 

The grant will be used to support education for teachers, caregivers, parents and children. Half of the grant will be used for education kits, Pocket Full of Feelings. The other half will be used to show a film, “Paper Tigers,” about Trauma Informed Care at schools in Walla Walla, Washington.

 

Pocket Full of Feelings is an education kit designed to teach children from prekindergarteners to teenagers how to deal with their feelings and change their behavior.

 

“I believe behavior is driven by feelings,” said Teresa Crouter, prevention specialist coordinator at Northwest Parenting. She recited the Pocket Full of Feelings slogan, “Feelings are real and something we feel. What matters the most is the way we deal.”

 

“The kit guides parents and teachers to ask kids to use words and tell them what they are feeling,” said Jill Quackenbush, Clatsop County Juvenile Department prevention supervisor. “It defines feelings and how to deal with feelings appropriately.”

 

Pocket Full of Feelings 1“Pocket Full of Feelings helps you understand a feeling and what to do to get out of it,” said Quackenbush’s 9-year-old son, River. “It helps you understand new words and a way to get into a happy feeling.”

 

“It would be awesome to get these educational kits to schools and parents,” Crouter said. “This grant really has me excited. We can change things for kids – especially if reinforced at home. We would all be talking the same language. Kids forget there are options.”

 

Pocket Full of Feelings kit

The kits contain:

• A guide for teacher or parent

• A storybook about feelings

• 15 cards, each representing a feeling

• A Poffer card, featuring the wise owl who gives suggestions of how to deal with feelings

• 1 A draw-string bag to hold the feeling cards

• 1 Poffer pocket, where kids can give a feeling to the wise owl, Poffer, and learn how to deal with that feeling

 

“My mom wanted me to look at Pocket Full of Feelings as a preview of something she did at work,” River said in an interview.

 

“I learned new words and definitions – like envy. If you are feeling kind of mad or jealous of someone, you can deal with something in a new way.

 

River explained his interpretation of the feeling of being disappointed. “I have been disappointed when I didn’t get what I wanted or a friend took something. Or if I wanted to do something and a parent wanted to do something else.”

 

Before the interview, River said he was scared, excited and proud.

 

To deal with being scared, “Poffer says go to a safe place. Give someone a hug. Tell someone how you feel,” River said.

 

“The kit would be very helpful, especially in classes. It’s an activity for the family to do together,” he said.

 

“If you are shy, Poffer would help you.”

 

Pocket Full of Feelings 3Background

 

Adverse childhood experiences affect children and their ability to learn. Through ACEs studies and Trauma Informed Care, “we know that social-emotional intelligence is often not developed and kids are not going to be classroom ready,” said Quackenbush.

 

“We can do more for long-term preparation for school success. Pocket Full of Feelings can help build emotional literacy skills to regulate emotions and promote what we want to see in the classroom,” she said.

 

Northwest Parenting has been aware of Pocket Full of Feelings, but didn’t have the funds to buy the kits. “We faced a barrier before this grant,” Crouter said. “How do we get this out there?”

 

“Way to Wellville made this happen,” Quackenbush said. She is a Way to Wellville Advisory Council member, serving on the Emotional Health team, that seeks methods to encourage early childhood resilience.

 

“Sydney Van Dusen did the work,” Quackenbush said of the Way the Way to Wellville coordinator. “She saw the need and worked with partners and the Emotional Health team.

 

Providence Health and Service’s North Coast Service Area came through with the funds after Way to Wellville assisted in writing the grant.

 

With the grant, NW Parenting is working on a pilot program to use the kits in an early childhood center, perhaps at Head Start or Warrenton Prep, the preschool program at Warrenton Grade School, Crouter said.

 

“I’d like to see this roll out as soon as possible,” she said.

 

“I really appreciate the fact that Sydney could look at pilot project and go test this,” Quackenbush said.