Spotlight on Resources for Helping Students from Puerto Rico and U.S.V.I. Cope

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


January 26, 2018 

Spotlight on Resources for Helping Students from Puerto Rico and U.S.V.I. Cope

Please share these resources with schools and youth organizations.


CDC, EPIC, and SAMHSA logos

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, many Puerto Ricans and U.S. Virgin Islanders are relocating to the continental U.S., including many children. Moving and starting a new school can be hard for any child.  These new students face the additional challenges of coping with their experiences during the hurricane, and possible loss or separation from family and friends. They need to adjust to a new culture, school, and home. Community and youth organizations and schools can help these new students cope with these challenges and can help other students understand their situations and welcome their new peers. CDC’s EPIC is sharing materials developed by CDC and our EPIC partners to help community leaders and teachers provide the best environment for children coming from U.S.V.I. and Puerto Rico.

Resources for Schools

These materials can help teachers and youth organization leaders plan activities to prevent and reduce the emotional challenges new students may face and help them cope with the trauma following hurricanes.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) & National Center for PTSD: Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S) (English)

  • PFA-S is an evidence based intervention model for parents, teachers, and students after an emergency. The guide includes tips for working with students from diverse backgrounds.

NCTSN and National Center for PTSD: PFA-S wallet card (English)

  • The PFA-S wallet card is designed for teachers or group leaders and provides a concise description of the eight core objectives of the program.

NCTSN: Teacher Guidelines for Helping Students after a Hurricane (English)

  • Children frequently have a variety of common reactions to hurricanes and other frightening events. These generally diminish with time, but knowing that these reactions are likely–and normal–can help teachers be prepared.

NCTSN: Top 10 Considerations for Mental Health Professionals Working in Schools After a Disaster (English)

  • This tip sheet gives mental health professionals 10 key points that they should know in their work in schools following a hurricane.

National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges: Trauma-Informed Classrooms (English)

  • This technical assistance bulletin provides an overview of the impact of trauma on students and offers strategies for creating trauma-informed classrooms.

CDC: Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event, Resources for Leaders (English) (Spanish)

  • Leaders, school administrators, and teachers can use the resources and information on this page to communicate with and support children who experienced disasters. 

Resources for Helping Children Cope

Children respond differently to stress and trauma and may struggle to express how they are feeling. These resources explain how children disasters and relocation may affect children and how adults can help.

SAMHSA: Tips for Talking with and Helping Children and Youth After a Disaster or Community Event (English) (Spanish)

  • This fact sheet helps parents and teachers recognize common reactions of children after experiencing a disaster or traumatic event.

CDC: Helping Families Deal with the Stress of Relocation after a Disaster (English)

  • This handout covers the stress associated with relocation after a disaster and offers steps toward recovery.

CDC: Children in a Disaster (English) (Spanish)

  • CDC’s landing page for children in disasters provides information about child preparedness and vulnerabilities, with tools and resources.

CDC: Helping Children Cope (English) (Spanish)

  • This webpage provides tips for helping children cope with a disaster and describes common reactions among different age groups.

CDC: Helping Children with Disabilities Cope with Disaster and Traumatic Events (English)

  • This webpage provides recommendations on how adults can help children with disabilities cope better with a disaster.

CDC: Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event, Resources for Families (English) (Spanish)

  • This webpage provides tips and resources for families and people of all ages.

CDC: Children’s Mental Health, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (English) (Spanish)

  • This webpage describes how to recognize and help children who are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.

Handouts for Children and Students

Understanding events, feelings, and reactions, and having positive distractions, will help children cope with hurricane devastation and adjust to their new schools and communities.

CDC: Activity Sheet for Children: How the Hurricane Made me Feel (English) (Spanish)

  • This two-sided printout includes coloring, word scramble, and connect-the-dots activities for young children to help them learn about emotions and coping with a hurricane.

Shenandoah Valley Project Impact: Too Much Weather Activity Book (English) (Spanish)

  • This activity workbook for children helps them learn about weather disasters.

Illinois Violence Prevention Authority: Inside Him coloring book (English)

  • This activity and coloring book for children tells a story to help young children recognize difficult emotions and learn how to talk to adults about their feelings.

NCTSN: Trinka and Sam: The Rainy Windy Day (English) (Spanish) (Haitian Creole)

  • This ebook is a story developed to help young children and their families begin to talk about feelings and worries they may have after they have experienced a hurricane.

NCTSN: Connecting with Others: For Students (English)

  • This resource provides tips on whom students can reach out to and how to connect for support. 

NCTSN: When Terrible Things Happen: For Students (English)

  • This resource explains common reactions to a crisis and how to cope.

Bullying Prevention

Students starting at a new school may struggle to fit in to the established cliques and culture. These resources can help prevent bullying.

DOE, DOJ, HHS: Bullying Prevention Continuing Education Course (English)

  • This free, online training provides guidance on how to take a public health approach to bullying prevention through the use of long-term, community-wide prevention strategies. Continuing education is available (CNE, CEU, CECH, CPH). 

DOE, DOJ, HHS: Community Action Toolkit (English) (Spanish)

  • The Community Action Toolkit includes materials to create a community event, based on the research, ideas, and bullying prevention and response strategies learned presented on the Bullying Prevention Training Course. This toolkit helps users plan, execute, and assess community events to prevent and stop bullying.