Insights from OFP Interns: Ashleigh Cherry, Walden University MSW Intern

What is it like working with home fire survivors?

I have come with no background in trauma recovery, so coming into Our Front Porch has been a great experience to see what ways support can be given to those in my community. This experience has been eye-opening and has shown that this is an area where many need support. Losing one’s home to a fire is more common than I had thought and many people never think it will happen to them. This is a problem that should have more public light than it does. Everyone has their own experience, but many barriers that come up are finding personal identification lost in the fire, receiving clothes or food, finding somewhere to stay, or financial support. Working with someone who has experience locating these resources can save time and relieve some of the anxiety people feel.

Trauma affects us all differently and I have learned that while working one on one with each individual. A lot of the time people just need someone to support them and aid in their progress, and talking it out helps move forward. It is often said that we need to meet people where they are at and this is very true and is something I have learned in general about this work. We can lay out steps and ways to get back on track but something simple to someone like helping hang up pictures or go through boxes of items saved from a fire is what someone really needs.

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