RN Sarah Prysock Takes on Healing Refugee Children
RN Sara Prysock learned from friends Belle Sweeney and Sheldon Rosenberg returning from volunteering and Syrian refugee camps that there is no place for kids to be kids.
Belle founded The Schoolbox Project with the ingenious concept of transforming shipping containers into mobile schoolhouses to provide trauma-informed education as well as healing through art and play for distressed children. Sarah became their biggest fan and volunteer on-call advice nurse.
In Greek refugee camps, children from nearly 10 different countries live alongside one another with one thing in common: trauma. These children often suffer from anxiety, loneliness and fear. Children can’t play and learn when they’re terrified. And, it is essential to secure their safety before doing anything else.
The Schoolbox Project sets up space for children using whatever infrastructure is available: school buses, abandoned buildings, tents, bamboo structures or even sidewalk classrooms. in Syria, Bangladesh and Greece and has recently worked domestically in the United States to assist children displaced by wildfires in California and Hurricane Harvey in Texas
“The curriculum for children helps them develop skills to understand how trauma and stress feel in their bodies, what that may look like in life, not just in the camps but beyond so we emphasize empowerment and post-traumatic growth…qualities of social and emotional growth, resiliency and trust. This is something we hope to see an impact on for a lifetime,” said Nurse Prysock.
“This is so great because its got such a ripple effect. I promise, if you could do a longitudinal study, of any of these kids…you would see much higher rates of depression, anxiety, substance use down the road.” said Nurse Talk host Shayne Mason.
The Schoolbox Project is working to heal the trauma, and so the healing can be passed from generation to generation instead.