The Thomas Fire was more than six months ago, but many children who experienced evacuations or even lost a home are still dealing with trauma.
Ventura-based educator, Lisa Biggs is working to help those families.
“I started hearing stories of parents struggling with their children after losing their homes or children that just saw the fire coming were having flashbacks or PTSD from looking at the sunset thinking the fire was coming again,” said Biggs.
Biggs is a former teacher who created a workshop for Thomas Fire victims and their children. He says It’s designed to give kids the tools they need to cope with a traumatic experience through storytelling.
“Every child experiences stress so I think these children have really had to develop what we are referring to as a superhero mindset,” said Biggs. “It’s the ability to manage stress and focus on their emotional and physical well-being and their community in the face of some really difficult circumstances.
Nicole Craig lost her home in the fire and sent her two daughters to the workshop after she says they experienced post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It’s given them new tools more sophisticated models of communication and ways for them to express their anger, frustration, and anxiety about the situation,” said Craig.
During the workshop, kids and their families work together to learn coping mechanisms when dealing with trauma. The kids also work on writing a book called, “Free to Be”.
“What we decided to do is run workshops for the kids and help them overcome it and have them work on a storybook that can help any other kids work through a stressful situation,” said Biggs. “Living through a fire is a very traumatic experience that most children don’t go through.”
The 3-part workshop is hosted at Monica Ros Elementary School in Ojai. For more information on the book, “Free to Be”, please visit sunflowerbridge.org.