Past Activities

Japan Earthquake Response

In 2012, Japan was devastated by an incredible earthquake.  The TRI jumped into action inviting university students, staff and the students of surrounding K-12 schools to participate in a “Letters of Encouragement” project.  The project involved writing letters to individuals most impacted by the disaster.  Many of us wanted to help in substantive ways even though we knew that the people most effected had a good system in place for recovery.

We collected over 600 letters from northern Oregon and southern Washington, and were able to translate them into Japanese prior to hand delivering them to the Sendai province with the help of Dr. Rie Yabuki-DiCorcia, a professor of psychology at TCU (Tokyo City University).

On the first year anniversary of these events, the TRI received a heartwarming thank you note from Hitoshi Muranoi, Chair of the department of English at Tohoku Gakuin University. The letters that our community sent have truly been encouraging to both children and adults most impacted by this devastating disaster.

Gulf Oil Spill Response 

A team of 20 Oregonians visited the Gulf Coast in August 2011 to offer community service and technical expertise to those impacted by the April oil spill that is devastating the region. As part of the 10-day visit, the team produced a multi-media documentary to serve both as an educational and relational tool.

The Oregonians Supporting Their Gulf Coast Neighbors team, organized by the Northwest Earth Institute, included teachers, religious leaders, artists, students, mental health personnel, and representatives from nonprofit organizations, businesses and the media.

Mmong those participating in the Aug. 7-16 trip was Anna Berardi, director of George Fox University’s Trauma Response Institute, affiliated with the school’s graduate counseling degree program. Berardi served as a disaster mental health specialist, exploring the resiliency and vulnerabilities of those affected.

“It looks like an entire way of life – what sustains them economically – is partially, if not totally, collapsing, yet no new way of economically recreating livelihoods appears imminent,” Berardi said of Gulf Coast victims. “By bringing a psycho-social-cultural lens to understanding immediate and long-term responses to such a tragic event, it is my hope to bring deeper insight into how we need to respond to the individuals, families and communities impacted – and what they teach us about our own vulnerabilities and how we need to be better prepared.”