Skip to content

CLiF’s writing workshops help Vermont kids process Irene flood memories

January 27, 2012

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock reads to students from her book Nora's Ark.

When Tropical Storm Irene struck last August, no one had any idea of the destruction it would cause. CLiF is based in Waterbury Center, just a few miles north of Waterbury Village, where the Winooski River flooded a huge portion of the downtown. We saw firsthand the trail of destruction Irene left in her wake, including flooded houses, mountains of ruined furniture and belongings, and destroyed mobile homes and cars.

We also saw neighbors pulling together to help neighbors and strangers coming in from all over to lend a hand. It wasn’t long before we started asking around the office, “What can we do to help?”

On October 6th, barely a month after the flood, CLiF arranged for Vermont children’s b00k author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock to visit Thatcher Brook Elementary School in Waterbury. She read to nearly 300 students from her book Nora’s Ark, which is about the infamous 1927 flood and includes some of her family’s stories.

Natalie also gave an inspiring talk to the children about collecting family stories, encouraging them to chronicle their own flood stories. Every child affected by the flood received an autographed copy of Nora’s Ark to take home that day. Many of them also worked with teachers in the weeks after the presentation to write their own flood stories.

On January 24th, Vermont poet Verandah Porche led a writing workshop at Deerfield Valley Elementary School in Wilmington to encourage the children to express their flood experience through poems and stories.

In the coming months, CLiF will provide three more inspiring writing workshops in flooded towns. We are lucky to have the generous support of the Vermont Community Foundation, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and a private donor to make these workshops possible.

We are also taking the idea of collecting stories to the next level – by publishing them! In partnership with local professionals, we have compiled a book of flood stories by Waterbury children and adults. It is called When the River Rose: Stories of a Vermont Town’s Flood, Recovery, and Rebirth. The proceeds of this book will support ReBuild Waterbury, a program that assists individuals and families from Waterbury who are in need of assistance to rebuild their homes from the disaster-caused effects of Tropical Storm Irene.

Look for more announcements about the book at the end of February!

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: