Trauma not only affects Soldiers in war-zones but also Refugees.
A man originally from Elk County spoke with Douglas Braff last month about his organization that helps children in international conflicts.
Douglas Braff talked with him again about how he’s helping children from Ukraine cope.
Nathan Schmidt from St. Mary’s tells me such traumatic experiences at a young age can change a kid’s whole life. But he wants to change their lives for the better.
Schmidt says his Mountain Seed Foundation has about 15 to 20 families being housed and taken care of in Ukraine, has provided some assistance for 50 Ukrainian Orphans in Poland, and has a partnership with a Lithuanian group taking care of families from Mariupol.
He also says they’re working with the Ukrainian school in Vienna, Austria, to help 300 kids there.
But Schmidt tells me the foundation just started one of its initiatives helping children express themselves through art.
“The Art Therapy that we’re doing with the number of the children that have experienced that have post-traumatic stress clearly. And we’re gonna start, like, a sports therapy.”
With Art therapy, they’re helping children who are as young as four
“That are just learning to verbalize some of their emotions, but it’s important because they have experienced something that will probably be the foundation of their memory. The first memories some of these children will have, will be of their evacuation from their country.”
“Art allows you to discuss some of these topics that are hard to discuss.”
And then the biggest thing he says they’re doing is, gearing up for what the foundation was created to do providing professional therapy in a Mountainous environment and teaching kids Mountaineering skills.
“We’re gonna get them professional therapy. We’re gonna teach them the confidence-building skills that come from mountaineering, like learning how to climb.”
Kids 10 and older will climb and include the mothers of some.
“You know, at the end of the day, you climb a mountain. I mean, you just, you just feel like a great sense of pride and satisfaction.”
“But we have to help heal some of these psychological these invisible wounds.”
Schmidt says to never forget where you came from.
“With respect to central Pennsylvania, it’s been remarkable. Incredible welcome from my own town at St. Mary’s and the Catholic schools there, but from the whole community, it’s been remarkable.”
“But, I’m a very proud Pennsylvanian.”
He says this is only the beginning for the foundation and these kids.
“This is not a spur of the moment idea. We were formed before the war took place. And we’ll be here for years and years after helping these children reach their full capability and give them the opportunity to continue to grow and grow healthily.”
“We’re at the beginning of this journey, but it’s gonna be a long journey.”
If you want to help the Mountain Seed Foundation’s efforts, you can go to mountainseedfoundation.org