TAMPA, FL, (September 2, 2014)—Florida’s West Coast Region of the American Red Cross is currently The Pillowcase Project, as part of a national pilot program in schools, after-school programs, summer camps and other youth programs and events to teach 3rd – 5th graders and their families how to prepare for disasters.
The Pillowcase Project curriculum is structured by three core principles: Learn, Practice and Share. Students will learn about hazards, how to prepare for emergencies, enhance coping skills, practice what they have learned and share their knowledge with friends and family. The program emphasizes the importance of developing an emergency communications plan, fire evacuation plan and emergency contact cards.
The program also teaches students how to create their own emergency supply kits by packing essential items in a pillowcase for easy transport during an emergency. Students will have the opportunity to decorate and personalize their pillowcases.
Florida’s West Coast Region is one of 60 Red Cross regions piloting the program this year, with the goal of expanding the program to 96 regions by the end of 2015.
“We are thrilled to bring The Pillowcase Project to Florida’s west coast schools and after-school programs. The program gives students the opportunity to learn about the science behind various hazards and the importance of preparedness in a fun and interactive way,” said Linda Carbone, CEO of Florida’s West Coast Region and the Tampa Bay Chapter. “The hands-on activities will also help to build confidence so that kids are prepared to take action during an emergency.”
The Tampa Bay Chapter has a goal of teaching 3,850 children by March 31, 2015, 5,000 children throughout Florida’s West Coast Region. To date, 1,460 children have been taught in the Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida region. Training has taken place at YMCA’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts and Tampa Bay area elementary schools.
Created in New Orleans, The Pillowcase Project was inspired by the story of local university students carrying their belongings in pillowcases during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Through the program, the Red Cross aims to incorporate preparedness education into elementary school and after-school curriculums nationwide. The program is sponsored by Disney.
“Being ready for a disaster isn’t hard, and it isn’t just about a ‘someday’ event,” said Russ Paulsen, executive director, Community Preparedness for the Red Cross nationwide. “The Pillowcase Project shows how you can take an everyday object, have it do double-duty in an emergency, and build confidence and coping skills that help kids even before a disaster.”
For more information about The Pillowcase Project, contact Jose Bueno at (813) 868-7673.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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