Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Children's Disaster Services trains ‘CJ's Bus’ volunteers.

The Children’s Disaster Services program of the Church of the Brethren is training volunteers for a new project called CJ’s Bus. "We are excited that our quality of training is being excepted as a standard by CJ's Bus and hope to expand our relationship in the coming year," said Roy Winter, director of Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Disaster News Network (DNN) reported on Oct. 2 that Children’s Disaster Services was involved with CJ’s Bus, a new mobile unit to provide services to children following disasters. The bus has not yet been put into service, DNN said.

The large bus is painted bright yellow and black with the smiling face of a young boy on the side giving a two thumbs up sign, according to DNN. Kathryn Martin has spent a year working to make the bus a reality. It is named for her two-year-old son who was killed in a tornado on Nov. 6, 2005, in Evansville, Ind. DNN said the bus may be the first disaster response mobile day care unit in the nation.

"Having gone through the Evansville tornado and having lost one of my four children, I know how important it is to help children maintain their innocence in these disasters while providing parents a few hours to attend to their own recovery needs," Martin told DNN. "I could think of no greater legacy to my son...."

The bus will be staffed by four to six certified volunteers trained by the Church of the Brethren's Children's Disaster Services. Those organizing the bus project "requested our training, recognizing the longstanding quality of our work," said Judy Bezon, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services.

A training for seven volunteers for CJ’s Bus has been held by Children’s Disaster Services, with three of the volunteers now certified by Children’s Disaster Services, and three more going through the certification process. The volunteers undergo national background checks as part of the certification.

Another effort honoring CJ is a Congressional bill called "CJ's Home Protection Act of 2007." The bill "would require weather radios to be installed in all mobile homes manufactured or sold in the US," DNN reported. "Martin already has helped push a similar bill through the Indiana Legislature. Martin's son, as well as her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law were killed when a F3 tornado struck the Eastbrook mobile home park in Evansville. A total of 25 people were killed in the area, including 20 in the mobile home park. More than 200 others were injured."

(Portions of this report on CJ’s Bus have been reproduced with permission from Disaster News Network at (c) 2007 Village Life Company.)

Source: 10/10/2007 Newsline

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