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Red Cross Prepares Students for Disasters--The Pillowcase Project

PRINCETON, NJ, October 17,  2014 - The American Red Cross North Jersey Region is currently offering The Pillowcase Project as part of a national pilot program in schools, after-school programs 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 escape plan and emergency contact cards. 

“The Pillowcase Project 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 Michelle Esposito, regional director of volunteers, American Red Cross North Jersey Region. “The hands-on activities also help build confidence, preparing children to take action during an emergency.”  

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. 

The Red Cross will be holding The Pillowcase Project at locations throughout the region, including the following being held on November 8, 2014:

American Red Cross in Princeton
707 Alexander Road, Suite 101
Princeton, New Jersey
Saturday, November 8, 2014 – 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, November 8, 2014 – 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The program is free, but registration is required. To register, please contact Joelle Piercy at joelle.piercy@redcross.org or 609-951-2123.

American Red Cross in Somerville
14 West Cliff Street
Somerville, New Jersey
Saturday, November 8, 2014 – 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, November 8, 2014 – 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The program is free, but registration is required. To register, please contact Suzanne Anderson at Suzanne.Anderson@redcross.org or 908-725-2217.

American Red Cross in Ridgewood
74 Godwin Avenue
Ridgewood, New Jersey
Saturday, November 8, 2014 – 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Saturday, November 8, 2014 – 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The program is free, but registration is required. To register, please contact Melanie Hazim at Melanie.hazim@redcross.org or 201-652-3210.

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 Esposito. “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 children even before a disaster occurs.” 

For more information about disaster preparedness, including The Pillowcase Project, visit redcross.org/prepare

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.

About the American Red Cross North Jersey Region 
The American Red Cross North Jersey Region provides programs and services throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren, with a combined population of 5.7 million. The region trains and mobilizes more than 3,330 volunteers who support the delivery of services in the community. Last year, the Red Cross North Jersey Region responded to 494 local home fires, helping 1,130 displaced families; collected 25,420 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 1,877 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 60,441 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. Follow the North Jersey Region on Twitter @RedCrossNorthNJ.

Contacts:  
American Red Cross North Jersey Region
Diane Concannon, 609-206-4043 (cell)
Erica Viviani, 973-309-3479 (cell)