**In translating a post by one of my Japanese colleagues, I learned about the concept of “Kodomo Shokudou” or “Children’s Cafeterias.” I thought some of you might also be interested, particularly as we enter the season of giving.
“Good evening. It's clinical psychologist Shoichi Akimoto from the Trauma Treatment Center and Resources. This afternoon, I attended a forum on “Kodomo Shokudou,” pictured below:
(Translation note: Kodomo Shokudou, or “Children's Cafeterias,” began in 2012 as a grassroots effort to provide warm, nutritious meals and dining companionship to disadvantaged children. This article in the Japan Times gives a brief history.
“I learned quite a few things during the forum, but was particularly struck by the fact that, while these Cafeterias are created for children, they are also becoming places where parents and neighbors gather and interact.
There are Children's Cafeterias that host a Christmas party on behalf of busy parents--children may attend and the parents can then join in after they've finished work. This helps the families form relationships with their neighbors. I think it would be great if this concept became more widespread.
Also, because the children have set times where neighborhood association members come to feed them or help them with their studies, the children learn that there are adults who want to spend time with them and who honor and treasure those time commitments.
As I listened, I was nodding in agreement. This is about attachment, isn't it? Attachment trauma can always be repaired. Research into brain plasticity is continuing, and I think proof of this is coming in the near future.
But this (whether we call it a “challenge” or a “risky venture”) can be a challenge for the adult caregivers themselves. Various unconscious emotions can surface as they interact with the children. Whether or not these adults are acknowledging and learning from this could result in greatly divergent outcomes.
At our Center, we also offer counseling for caregivers. As you address your own challenges, your activities will become so much more enjoyable!
We've opened a trauma-focused counseling center in Saitama City, Japan, called TTCR: Trauma Treatment Center and Resources: https://saitama-traumahealingenglish.jimdofree.com. We also offer lectures on trauma for groups and businesses—please enquire!”