The Pillowcase Project Presented To North Ridgeville Students

Fifth Graders Learn About Preparing and Coping With Potential Emergencies

Students at Wilcox Elementary school in North Ridgeville are now better prepared for potential disasters, thanks to American Red Cross volunteer Alice Martinez and The Pillowcase Project.

Alice teaches students in grades 3, 4 and 5 about hazards they may encounter in Northeast Ohio, and how to prepare for and cope with emergencies.  As part of the class, students are given sturdy pillowcases, provided by Disney, which they decorate and take home.  The students are instructed to fill those pillowcases with supplies they may need to take with them should they be forced to leave their homes in a hurry.

The Pillowcase Project was inspired by college students in New Orleans in 2005.  As hurricane Katrina approached, many students were seen leaving their dorms with pillowcases slung over their shoulders.  They were carrying whatever they could fit into those pillowcases.

The instructions are tailored for the region where they are taught.  With winter weather approaching, the children at Wilcox elementary were reminded of the potential dangers posed by extreme winter weather conditions, as well as tornadoes, flooding and home fires.

On Monday, October 19, a news crew from WKYC Channel 3 recorded The Pillowcase Project Presentation in the fifth grade classroom of Mrs. Pam Ventimiglia.  Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins interviewed some of the student about what they learned, and a videographer recorded them decorating their pillowcases.  You can see Monica’s report here.

Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

The program is part of the Red Cross Home Fire Preparedness Campaign.  It began in Cleveland as Operation Save-A-Life in 1992, following a spate of deadly home fires.  The goal of the national campaign is to reduce the number of deaths caused by home fires by 25% over a five-year period.

The Red Cross has also designed youth app, called Monster Guard: Prepare for Emergencies, based on The Pillowcase Project and was also sponsored by Disney as part of this program.

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