Fifth Graders Bring Robotics to Red Cross Disaster Relief

springfield tech tornado
"It is so exciting to see this group of young people approach the very real challenges created by disaster with such maturity, well thought out concepts and enthusiasm for helping to make things better."

Members of the Agawam First Lego League (FLL) visited the American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter on October 24 to learn about Red Cross disaster preparedness and relief. The group of 20 (mostly fifth graders) is participating in the First Lego League 2013 Nature's Fury Challenge and their mission is to research obstacles and then create an innovative solution to help keep people and property safe before, during, or after a natural disaster.

"The students were instructed to choose a natural disaster and an area that could be affected by it, and come up with something that they can create to help the situation in the future," shared group mentor Sherry Belazo. "Our team chose Tornadoes, specifically in Western MA."

During their visit to the Red Cross, the students learned about the Chapter's response to the 2011 western MA tornado and general disaster information including what life is like in a disaster shelter and how to prepare family and pets for future disasters.

"It is so exciting to see this group of young people approach the very real challenges created by disaster with such maturity, well thought out concepts and enthusiasm for helping to make things better," said Mary Nathan, Red Cross Regional Response Manager. "Their leaders and mentors should be commended for lighting and nourishing that spark"

The group left the chapter with a clear direction for their project and will return to the Red Cross upon its completion to present their idea.