Save the Children is Setting Up Safe Play Areas for Children in Shelters Post-Hurricane Sandy
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Save the Children is in New Jersey and New York, setting up safe play areas in shelters where hundreds of children can be kids again. The ‘superstorm' devastated the East Coast, displacing thousands from their homes for weeks to come.
Save the Children's Ian Rogers plays with 13-month-old Kevin at a child-friendly space in a shelter in New Jersey. (Photo: Business Wire)
“Hurricane Sandy impacted millions of lives, forcing many families in high-risk areas to flee from their homes and seek safety in shelters. Here at Save the Children, we know from experience that children are always the most vulnerable in any emergency situation,” said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children's president and CEO. “Through our preparedness, response and recovery programs, we continue to put the children and their caregivers most in need first.”
Many of the displaced families are socio-economically vulnerable and may have to remain in shelters for weeks to come. To help establish a sense of normalcy in shelters, Save the Children is providing kid-friendly activities to create a safe and supportive place for children to play with their peers and caring adults in the midst of the turmoil that surrounds them.
Kids Sheltering at Nassau Community College, Atlantic City Convention Center, Among Other Locations, Get Safe Play Areas
Called child-friendly spaces, the safe play areas allow children to play, socialize, and begin to recover from emotional distress during emergencies. Save the Children, working with FEMA, the Red Cross, the city of New York and other partners, is implementing child-friendly spaces at a number of shelters in New York and New Jersey, including the mega shelters in Nassau Community College in Garden City, N.Y., and at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, N.J. Geared toward younger children, each kit includes age-appropriate fun activity items, such as a play mat, jump ropes, books, toys, arts and craft supplies and board games.
In addition to child-friendly spaces, Save the Children is providing basic necessities for young children, such as nutritious food items, baby blankets, clothing and hygiene supplies. The agency is also working with families, communities and partner organizations to provide long-term assistance to help families return to normalcy, go back to a liveable home, send their children to school, and have access to child care. Save the Children also plans to initiate its proven school- and community-based psychosocial support programs for children and adult caregivers.
Save the Children's Headquarters Damaged in the Storm
Save the Children's Westport, Conn. headquarters has sustained extensive water damages from Hurricane Sandy. The Saugatuck River, which runs behind the building, breached its banks and flooded the first floor of the agency's office with more than a foot and a half of water. While crews have begun to clean up and restore the building to working conditions, a number of Connecticut-based employees still remain without power. Those fortunate to have electricity are working remotely from home on the agency's response to Hurricane Sandy; many employees are working temporarily out of another building near its headquarters, while still others have been deployed to storm-affected areas.
To support Save the Children's response to immediate and ongoing needs following the storm, donate to the Hurricane Sandy Children in Emergencies Fund by visiting: www.savethechildren.org/sandy. Or text HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10 from your mobile phone. When you receive a text message, reply YES.
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