Help children in those moments following a crisis

By on April 16, 2009

On the front page of this week’s edition of the Elburn Herald, reporter Lynn Meredith came across a Maple Park Police Department project that we feel is so worthwhile that we want to emphasize it in this space as well.

The department is participating in the With Wings and a Halo-R.E.A.C.H a Child program, in which police officers, ambulances and other crisis responders are supplied with children’s books to give to children during moments of crisis.

The idea is to give children something positive to focus on, other than the trauma they are facing. If children can be distracted, their minds occupied with something good, they may be able to cope with the immediate situation.

According to the organization’s website,, the idea for the project was born when author Paul Scott Gilbertson and his wife visited Ground Zero in May 2007. The website said the couple was impacted by the tragedy of Ground Zero and the inherent sadness of the crisis that led to the idea of creating a program to help children in those first moments after they face their own traumas.

Maple Park Community Relations Officer Buz Hodges said that each squad car will contain 12 to 15 books for children ages 3 to 15.

“Books will be the new tool the Maple Park Police Department will use to communicate with children in crisis situations,” Hodges said to Meredith. “The department’s and the organization’s mission is to ‘put a smile on the face of a child in the time of crisis.'”

The organization is based in Wisconsin and is attempting to expand throughout the Midwest. Currently, the organization is partnered with more than 60 communities in Illinois, and we hope to see that number increase, specifically in our readership area.

The group is actively seeking new volunteers to help spread awareness and get more communities involved. We urge you to visit and get involved. If you are an emergency first responder and your organization does not participate, we urge you to do so.

We would like to see all of our area police and fire departments follow Maple Park’s lead and help children in those crucial moments directly following a crisis or trauma.

On page 11A of the April 9 edition of the Elburn Herald, the day for the Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival was incorrect. The event is Sunday, April 19.

The Elburn Herald wants its news reports to be fair and accurate. If you know of an error, please contact:

Ryan Wells, Editor
123 N. Main St., Elburn, IL 60119
phone (630) 365-6446