June 28, 2006
Contact: Jerry Carey
Book by Family of UMDNJ Psychologist
Helps Kids Cope
with Hurricane Katrina
It Will be Distributed Free to
10,000 Children in Mississippi
STRATFORD — A book written and illustrated by the family of Dr. Esther Deblinger, co-founder and co-director of the CARES Institute at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine, is being distributed free to 10,000 families in Mississippi to help children cope with the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina and their concerns about this year’s looming hurricane season.
Can Do and the Storm: A Story about New Beginnings, is a touching tale about animals at a pond who prepare for a hurricane, endure the hardships of evacuation and separation from family and friends, and then have to work together to rebuild and find new homes after the storm has passed. This inspiring story is filled with hope and positive messages to help children discuss their own experiences and fears related to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Child psychiatrist Dr. Morton D. Sosland wrote the book, with his wife, Dr. Deblinger. The couple’s two daughters, ages 12 and 10 years, created the illustrations for the book.
“It was really a family project that we’re thrilled is now helping children and families heal from last year’s storms,” Dr. Sosland said. “We hope that children will find comfort in seeing how the characters in the story overcome some of the same problems they may be facing."
Can Do and the Storm is being distributed by Project Recovery, a program that provides free crisis counseling services as part of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. The program is funded through a grant from FEMA and facilitated by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“We were very excited when we heard that Project Recovery was interested in giving out our book in Mississippi to help children cope better with their memories of Katrina and their fears about future storms,” Dr. Deblinger said. In August, she will travel to Mississippi to lead a learning collaborative for therapists working with children affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Can Do and the Storm: a Story about New Beginnings is the third in a series of positive and motivational books the family has written about the Can Do Duck and his animal and human friends. It can be downloaded for free from the web site www.thecandoduck.com.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Sosland and Dr. Deblinger, please contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at (856) 566-6171 or at (973) 972-3000.
UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.