The past few months have been incredibly challenging for our community, and the country as a whole. Close to 100,000 Americans have died from the novel coronavirus, millions of people have lost their jobs, and the measures that are necessary to “flatten the curve” have been difficult for all of us. For parents, the sudden closures of schools in mid-March presented a new dilemma: how to best help their kids with virtual school, often while still working from home themselves.
In the coming days and weeks, instruction will end for students across Westmoreland County. With many camps canceled, parents may be looking for ways to keep their kids occupied and still actively engaged in learning over the summer. One option: teaching your kids about important topics such as empathy, healthy relationships, bullying, consent, and more through Blackburn Center online programming.
Last summer, we debuted our series on building empathy. Partnering with local libraries and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, we offered a multiple day program on “How to Get Along with Others.” As many parents know, empathy (the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from their point of view) isn’t a trait that kids automatically have. Instead, we can model empathy for kids — and teach it to them.
While our empathy programs cannot be held in-person at libraries or the museum this summer, our education team has been working diligently to make sure that these resources are still available for parents, educators, and students. Geared towards younger children (3rd grade or below), the program includes interactive videos featuring books like “Words Are Not for Hurting” and “Hands Are Not for Hitting,” as well as an introduction to yoga with the book “A Sick Day for Amos McGee.” You can access these videos at any time through our website or via our YouTube channel.
We also offer a range of resources on our “For Parents” and “School Programs” pages. There, you can download worksheets and review the materials that we use for our education programs in schools. Each of these is geared towards a specific age group, such as:
Everyone Has the Right to Be Safe
Bullying Isn’t Cool
20 Things to Do Instead of Hurting Someone Back
What Is Harassment?
Check out our website to view our educational programs as well as worksheets that you can use at home with your kids.
We know that this is an overwhelming time for everyone. By putting these resources online, we hope that parents, caregivers, educators and others will be able to help their kids learn about important topics, with the peace of mind that comes with getting information from a trusted source. For more than 40 years, we have served residents throughout Westmoreland County, offering services for victims of all types of violence and abuse as well as education and training programs and other resources for the community. We are the agency in Westmoreland County tasked with responding to these issues — and we work hard to not only provide services to victims and survivors, but to advocate for cultural change so that we can reduce violence in our community. By teaching your kids about empathy, bullying, hazing, and more, you can play a role in this effort.
We hope that you can take advantage of these videos, worksheets, and other materials this summer and beyond. If you have questions about these resources or would like to schedule an education or training program (when we are able to do so), contact us at any time.