The Texas State Alliance of YMCAs Collaborates with Community Partners to Empower Children to Prepare for Emergencies
The YMCA of El Paso, in partnership with Red Cross of El Paso and Southern New Mexico Chapter, is coordinating local efforts to implement The Pillowcase Project at the YMCA of El Paso’s summer camp. The Pillowcase Project is a national Red Cross program designed to teach youth and their families how to prepare for emergencies. The Pillowcase Project is sponsored by Disney and was inspired by the sight of local university students evacuating with their possessions in pillowcases after Hurricane Katrina.
“We are thrilled to offer The Pillowcase Project at our Y summer day camp. This project teaches emergency preparedness and safety in a way that is fun and interactive for our campers. It also supports our focus area of youth development. We believe that The Pillowcase Project will help our children feel confident and prepared to take action during an emergency. We are proud to partner with the Red Cross and the AmeriCorps Parents As Teachers program to support this initiative,” said Bill Coon, President/CEO of the YMA of El Paso.
During the program, children will personalize their pillowcases and are encouraged to take the pillowcases home to create an emergency kit. The Red Cross will lead the activity with support from the AmeriCorps Parents As Teachers to provide emergency preparedness education to participants. The Pillowcase Project curriculum has three core principles: Learn, Practice, and Share. Students will learn about hazards, how to prepare for emergencies, how to use coping skills to stay calm, and are encouraged to share their knowledge with friends and family. The program emphasizes the importance of developing an emergency communication plan, fire evacuation plan and emergency contact cards. The program teaches students how to create their own emergency supply kits by packing essential items in a pillowcase for easy transport during an emergency.
These activities are being conducted in partnership with Disney, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, YMCA of the USA and the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs. YMCAs in Texas were selected to implement The Pillowcase Project with the goal to evaluate effectiveness and determine best practices for Ys who may want to offer it across the nation.