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Posted on June 12, 2019
Today is the anniversary of the attack at Pulse night club here in Orlando. While it still feels very fresh to many of us, it has already been three years since that horrific event. This weekend, the people of our city made good on our ongoing promise to stay Orlando Strong with events and fundraisers to help all individuals in our community feel welcome and supported. It has been an ongoing healing process for the entire Orlando area.
For this week’s blog post, we would like to take a moment to highlight the great work of one of our patients, Keith Newhouse. After the Pulse tragedy, Keith saw that children were especially vulnerable to the emotional impacts, and there were few resources for parents to help them talk about the event in a healthy way. So, with the help of twenty-one local artists, Keith created a children’s book called My Tio’s Pulse.
In the book, a young boy named Angel learns how to take his pulse at school. When he eagerly shares this with his uncle, Luis, he is shocked when his uncle starts to cry. However, most adults in his life are reluctant to talk about what is upsetting him. Finally, his uncle makes an appearance at his school to speak about the Pulse tragedy and the children learn some valuable coping strategies.
The book not only broaches the subject of the shooting in an approachable and earnest way, but it also gives incredibly cogent advice for how to talk about difficult things with children. The guidance in the book is simple and straight-forward, and applies to any difficult life event or grieving process. For example, allowing children to express their emotions freely and avoiding some of our knee-jerk reactions like saying, “don’t cry.” Instead, Tio tells our narrator and his classroom that it is okay to cry for as long as they need. The main goal of the book is to facilitate discussion and help children understand what may be a confusing and scary event in their community’s history.
The art in this book makes it unique, in that each page is painted or drawn in a unique style. Still, there is a feeling of seamlessness throughout the book. In a way, that speaks to the larger theme of accepting and embracing the tremendous variety of individuals in Orlando, who come together to create a wonderful whole. All proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the Orlando United Assistance Center. Stay strong, Orlando! And check out My Tio’s Pulse.
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