Tulsa Gymnasts Caught In Tornado Learn Techniques To Stay Calm

Thursday, May 12th 2016, 6:07 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

A group of Tulsa athletes who lost their gymnasium in a tornado is hoping to turn their circumstances into a lesson for others.

Aim High Academy partnered with Keller Williams to help teach children how to avoid being anxious.    

Singing is something the group likes to do - it's what helped some of them stay calm the night after the tornado hit a year ago.

"Whenever we were singing, it made me feel a lot better, but it wasn't like, I didn't know what was gonna happen after that,” 11-year-old Donavynn Wray said.

Wray was there last March, when 50 kids took shelter in the basement and later were rescued by Tulsa firefighters.

Now, the athletes are learning other ways to stay calm and are sharing techniques with other children.

Each of the 75 children at Solid Foundation Preparatory Academy now has a “comfort kit backpack” to keep handy when weather gets wild.

Inside the backpack, there's things in here that would obviously provide comfort, like a blanket, but there's also things inside like Play-Doh, which serve another purpose.

"The kids have something that they can be doing with their hands,” Aim High’s Jennifer Patterson said. “There's something about doing an activity with your hands that helps to soothe your soul."

As for Wray's backpack, she already has a plan for exactly where she'll keep it at home.

“I'm gonna keep it right at my door,” she said.

The gymnasts with Aim High are using two facilities right now. They’ve raised $1 million of the more than $5 million they need to move into a new building.

If you’d like to help, you can donate here.