A joint grant awarded to Kinship Center’s Children’s Mental Health Clinic in Monterey County from Salinas Northeast Rotary Club and Rotary District 5230 has purchased therapeutic equipment that helps children overcome trauma to the brain that happened at vulnerable developmental stages.

“We’re pleased we could contribute to the wonderful work that Kinship Center therapists are doing with traumatized children,” said Rotary Club Past President Monika Fewtrell, who has visited the clinic and who helped prepare the grant proposal. An earlier joint Rotary grant provided equipment and materials for foster and adopted children to build life story scrapbooks to record their personal histories and remember all the people who have touched their lives.

The specialized equipment provided this month will help children in therapeutic treatment learn to regulate their emotions and behaviors through a multisensory approach that uses movement, smell, touch, taste, and eye contact, says Relindis Diaz, Kinship Center Community Based Mental Health Supervisor, shown here with other clinicians who unpacked the many boxes of new equipment. “Many of the children in therapy at our clinic are unable to integrate their senses and experiences as a result of early trauma,” says Diaz. “Things like weighted animals help ‘ground’ children when their bodies and emotions are stressed.”

Kinship Center therapists in four children’s clinics throughout California make frequent use of music and drumming, art, theater, sand trays and play, cooking, gardening, animals and nature to help approximately 600 children each week overcome the scars of past abuse, neglect or abandonment and begin to heal and develop normally. Adoptive parents are an important part of a child’s therapy, so that children can build trust and connection with their new family.

“We are so grateful to these Rotary organizations for giving so generously on behalf of the children we serve in this community,” says Diaz.

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