From L to R: School of Nursing faculty Montray Smith, Red Cross Community Preparedness & Resilience Manager Robert Baldwin, Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Adrio, and School of Nursing Dean Marcia Hern.
From L to R: School of Nursing faculty Montray Smith, Red Cross Community Preparedness & Resilience Manager Robert Baldwin, Red Cross Louisville Area Chapter Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Adrio, and School of Nursing Dean Marcia Hern.

UofL Community Health nursing students spent the Fall 2015 semester making presentations to local third and fourth grade students about the American Red Cross (ARC)’ National Disaster Preparedness Program called the Pillowcase Project. The nursing students used props to tell children about disaster preparedness and instructed them to use pillowcases to build their own personal emergency supplies kits.

Disasters happen without warning, but preparedness can help children cope. According the the American Red Cross website, in the emergency shelters opened in days and weeks following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, volunteer Red Cross shelter workers began to notice a pattern. Many children entered the shelters carrying pillowcases containing their cherished and basic possessions: a stuffed animal, a special blanket, a favorite book, and, in many cases, not much more. In that chaotic and traumatic situation, an idea was born that has since become known as The Pillowcase Project.

The American Red Cross  presented a Certificate of Appreciation Award on Dec. 18 to nursing faculty Montray Smith and her Community Health nursing students for their involvement this semester with the Pillowcase Project. Louisville Area Chapter Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Adrio and Community Preparedness & Resilience Manager Robert Baldwin presented the recognition to the school.

UofL nursing students plan to teach more young people about preparedness in the Spring 2016 semester.