Children still trying to cope with Floods of 2008 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Children still trying to cope with Floods of 2008

by John Wilmer

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - A new study by Five Giant Steps, finds that for many children the floods of 2008 are not over. The study found that this epic natural disaster caused a domino effect in children's lives.

The study shows the floods increased stress levels in children, but what is not known is how damaging this will be to their development.

Schools are stepping up trying to help students as well as their families cope with the floods. North Cedar Elementary in Cedar Falls has made this a top priority for the year.

"I thought it wouldn't come up to my grandpa and grandma's house and my aunt's house, but it did so I was kind of worried about that but they're safe now," North Cedar student Melanie Tournier said.

Many students from North Cedar were less fortunate and lost everything in the floods.

"A lot of our families are still displaced and still not in their homes. Some are living outside of the district, but they want to continue coming to North Cedar," school counselor Jane Harding said.

It's not just the students who must deal with the stresses that came with the floods. Teacher Christy Manfull is still in the process of getting her life back in order, after the flood nearly destroyed her home in New Hartford.

"It's been emotional and financially to just trying to figure out where your money is going.  You have to start over on everything," Manful said.

With the floods months behind the children of Cedar Falls, there is a new fear that is starting stir.  Many students are now wondering, what if this happens again?  

"Some of these kids would tell me that if it came on TV and they showed images of the floods, they couldn't watch. That was very difficult. Parents are stressed and how that is normal in these situations. They worry this might happen again," Harding said.

Despite the amount of damage that was caused in the northern part of Cedar Falls, North Cedar Elementary was spared. School officials say it was important to get students back to a somewhat normal routine when the school year began.

To help kids overcome flood stress, the study recommends providing a safe environment, and assuring them that everything will be okay.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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