Joplin Residents Journal to Heal After the Tornado

Joplin Residents Journal to Heal After the Tornado
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People are continuing to heal from the 2011 tornado, even as we approach the 5 year anniversary. Joplin Proud started “Joplin Journal,” a project to continue that healing process, while taking note of what the city has been through. Today, a few residents as they got to work on their notebooks.

As blank pages come to life with art, Joplin residents sort through their thoughts and feelings 5 years after the devastating tornado, documenting the cities journey for future generations.

“I think it’s important not to stay in the doom and gloom of that time, although that’s very valid if that’s where we’re at but mostly just to take stock of how far we’ve come,” says Ann Leach, a volunteer with Joplin Proud.

They are supplying journals to 161 residents, 1 for each life lost. Today, a few participants got together to start their notebooks. They hope their creations will be a testament to Joplin’s strength.

“It’s just a vast thing and you have to think it out, what do you want it to say and you want it to help somebody, that’s the whole thing,” says a participant Lindy Mehner.

The project is about much more than just documenting history, writing out your thoughts and expressing your feelings artistically can be very therapeutic.

“Writing some things down can be incredibly helpful because it’s another way of looking at it so to speak and it’s also a bit more final, so it helps you come to more conclusions,” says Del Camp with Freeman Health Systems.

While these journals will be made public, Camp says keeping a private notebook of thoughts can be beneficial. After just a few hours of journaling together, the women are feeling the positive effects.

“Coming here being with other people has been, sitting and listening to what other people say, what they’ve been through and being grateful that they’re alive and here with me,” says Mehner.

A simple task that will benefit many.

“This time triggers so many memories and our experience. It’s just another way to say I made it, I’m okay, and I’m just getting better,” says Leach.

The journals will be placed in several different locations around Joplin.

There are still several available for use, and they’re free of charge. If you or someone you know would be interested in participating, contact Ann Leach at 417-438-6808.