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Child and Adolescent Counseling Blog for Lisa Klipfel, MFT
What Can We Do To Help The Families Of Newtown?

When I talk with families about the tragic shooting in Newtown, many feel so much pain for the families that they want to do something...anything. I have seen many homages set up to the memory of the young kids and teachers who are no longer on this earth. Yet the question remains, what can we do to help the families of Newtown.

While a foundation is sure to surface shortly, in the meantime, you can channel your desire to help to your local community. Newtown has an outpouring of assistance across the nation. What is needed is for your heart and generosity to be felt locally, to those children in need here in your own community. I've compiled a list of things you can do to help others on a local level.

1. Give blood. In the holiday season, people are so busy that blood bank levels often drop to critical levels. You may be able to help a child, a mother who endure a car accident here in your own backyard. Reach the donation center for CHOC here.
2. Donate to a local group home. Group homes are designed for foster kids who cannot return to their families. These local children need our support. They need to know they are not forgotten. They house the next generation of children who have had their hearts broken. Here is a list of some agencies that run group homes in Orange County: Rite of Passage, Olive Crest, South Coast Children's Society
3. Become Involved. Orangewood Foundation assists children who have been removed from the home due to abuse, or where children have been abandoned. Many of them struggle with their identity following their own life traumas. The foundation fills request from kids all year. Orangewood Foundation runs a mentoring program where you can assist a youth who has come from a troubled home and needs some extra guidance.
4. Contribute to NAMI. The National Association of Mentally Ill (NAMI) offers help to the mentally ill and to their families at a local level. The families need our support and our understanding. You can contribute your time by educating yourself about mental illness, volunteering your time to supporting/education others, or contribute resources you might have.
5. Be Prepared. Know how to help your family, your neighbors in an emergency. Get to know your neighbors. They may be your lifeline in case of an emergency, or more so, you may be theirs. Consider taking a disaster preparedness class, first aid or CPR class. You just never know if you will be a first responder.

Although this is a very short list, if I made it as long I wanted you would be quite lost and overwhelmed. The important thing is to take action to help someone who is suffering a loss, a family who is struggling with someone with mental illness, or to assist your own family in being ready for any disaster that is unexpected (as a fire, or earthquake is much more probable).

I thank you for opening your hearts today and choosing to make our world a better place. It is only with this compassion can we make changes in this world.

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