Gratitude tree in cloverdale

GROWING IN GRATITUDE — The Cloverdale Regional Library is hosting a gratitude tree through the month of November. The tree enables children to express what they’re thankful for. Drop by and add a leaf to the tree.

Photo provided

Effort enables children to cope with aftermath of fire

What are you grateful for?

The Cloverdale Regional Library invites children and their families to share and express gratitude throughout the month of November on the library’s gratitude tree.

The idea for the tree came out of a mid-summer planning session of four children’s librarians from around the county. The idea was to provide a low commitment effort for the library to engage with children throughout the month, making them think about the things, people and experiences they are thankful for.

“This is so important, especially in the wake of the disaster that occurred,” said Cloverdale Library Branch Manager Stephanie Hope-Cochran.

Even though the recent fires did not directly affect most Cloverdale residents, many children have schoolmates or family members who were.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, wildfires cause emotional distress in addition to the obvious physical damage. Children and families who have experienced wildfires may experience increased fear, worry, distress or anxiety. Many children will experience increased concerns about the safety of loved ones, friends, classmates, teacher and neighbors. They may experience separation anxiety, disturbances in sleep or appetite and other changes in their behavior.

One of the many ways to help children, according to the NCTSN, is to keep things hopeful.

“Even in the most difficult situations, it is important to identify some positive aspect and to stay hopeful for the future,” a parent handout reads. “A positive and optimistic outlook helps children see the good things in the world around them. This outlook can be one way to help them get through even the most challenging times.”

The premise of the gratitude tree is simple and therapeutic: children can write down what they are grateful for on a colorful leaf and add it to the paper tree.

At the Cloverdale Library, the gratitude tree welcomes patrons. Already filling with leaves, the tree hosts a variety of gracious thoughts, big and small:

“I am thankful for housing, a house and being alive.”

“Sonoma County.”

“Love for one another.”

The gratitude tree will remain at the Cloverdale Library throughout the month of November to enable children a chance to participate.

The library will be closed on Saturday, Nov. 11 for Veterans Day and Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23 and 24 for Thanksgiving.

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