Red Cross visit Karuah Public School to help kids embrace preparedness

Karen Maloney with Red Cross volunteers Linda Edwards and Lorie Parker, and the Year 3 and 4 kids at Karuah Public School.

KIDS at Karuah Public School (KPS) are more psychologically prepared for disasters, thanks to the visit from the Red Cross and its Pillowcase Program on Monday, 18 September.

The Red Cross’ official goal of ‘Pillowcase’ is “to help children prepare for, cope with and respond to an emergency”.

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By defining ‘disaster resilience’ as the ability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, adapt to and recover from the impact of emergencies, the Red Cross’ program gives kids the practical skills that contribute to disaster resilience, which can be learned and practised.

“Children who participate in disaster resilience-building activities have been shown to be better equipped to deal with an emergency,” Karen Maloney from Red Cross Emergency Services told NOTA.

“The kids were great, really inventive, and they enjoyed decorating their pillowcases so much we had to leave the markers.”

Ms Maloney was joined by two local volunteers from the Red Cross, who worked with a total of 46 children across Years 3 and 4 at Karuah Public School.

“Kids were engaged with the whole activity, the sorting part really helped them to consider what to take in an evacuation,” Kelly Johnson, Year 4 Teacher at KPS remarked.

“It wasn’t done in a scary, ‘end-of-the-world’ way, which allowed the kids to really think, with helpful visuals, and totally understand what they would pack, and they were still talking about it a week later.”

The Karuah kids were also presented with some beautiful teddy bears, made and decorated for the kids by Red Cross volunteers.

‘Pillowcase’ is a global preparedness education program, developed from the very real events during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 in the United States, where students of a local university used pillowcases to carry their cherished and basic possessions while evacuating campus.

The Program is useful for all kinds of emergencies, highlighting the importance of being prepared, and even has direct correlations with third and fourth grade curricula under Civics and Citizenship and Health and Physical Education.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Volunteer-made teddy-bears given to the students as part of the Pillowcase Project.

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