Life Improvement After Hurricane Sandy





Skype picKatie Warner, Digital Production Coordinator

Save the Children, U.S.

July 31, 2013


Hurricane Sandy devastated the east coast, destroying communities and displacing thousands of families. Among the destroyed communities, was a HeadSchool_damage Start Facility in Brooklyn, which has served as a safe learning zone for children ages 3-5 for more than 25 years.  

When Hurricane Sandy hit, over four feet of water filled the basement, destroying classrooms and leaving the facility without heat and electricity. What’s more, some of families that lived around the facility lost everything in the storm, and were forced to sleep on moldy floors of gutted apartments. The Head Start Facility had no other option but to get the center open as soon as possible. But opening the center in December was just the beginning of the recovery process; they still had classrooms that were unusable due to the flooding. The center was open, but just barely getting by with the little resources they had left. 

Nearly eight months later, on June 20, 2013, IKEA, the Life Improvement Store unveiled a generous donation to Save the Children’s early education programs, and in addition, provided home furnishings, design expertise and manpoIkea_Savewer to help give the Head Start Facility a makeover. Thanks to IKEA’s donation, Save the Children’s staff along with volunteers from IKEA came together at the end of June for a week long make over, where three of the schools classrooms received a full transformation.

I was one of the lucky Save the Children employees who went to Brooklyn to volunteer. The days were filled with hardworking volunteers building furniture, painting walls and bonding over the common theme of the week – making a difference in the lives of children affected by Hurricane Sandy. With IKEA staff in their blue shirts and Save the Children in our red, the two groups of volunteers worked side by side to create a happy and safe environment for children to receive the best Final classroompossible education.

Having the opportunity to volunteer with the IKEA staff to rebuild these classrooms was a rewarding experience. I was able to see firsthand the tremendous impact the partnership of IKEA and Save the Children has on the lives of children. 

The Head Start Facility is now a fully functioning space where children can play and learn, leaving Hurricane Sandy in the past once and for all. 

Read how Save the Children has  helped children affected by Hurricane Sandy. Click here to learn more.

The Tough Got Going: Managing a Disaster, Inside and Out

You know that old cliché: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” I recently saw evidence of this in spades when Hurricane Sandy not only hit the Northeast—but also hit the Save the Children headquarters and, what’s worse, many of our staff members’ homes. It’s fascinating to see how people react when their lives are upended by a disaster, especially when they spend so much of their own lives helping others though crises. So when calamity struck in their own backyard, I saw over and over again what my Save

MVPs of Hurricane Sandy Relief are the Volunteers


StevewellsSteve Wells, 
– Emergencies Logistics Manager

Atlantic City, New Jersey 

November 13, 2012


The Superstorm’s force was like a 300 pound NFL linebacker
tackling a high school cheerleader.  That’s when we called in our relief
lineup – a crew of Save the Children volunteers dedicated to helping kids
affected by natural disasters.

The first to arrive were teams from Church Communities
International. They literally did a lot of the heavy lifting. Hauling boxes of
kid-friendly supplies all over affected areas of New Jersey, they loaded boxes
of relief items such as baby shampoo, diapers, blankets, books – and footballs!
Yes, footballs.

Matthieu and Ken made a great team. Credit_Pe CrumpKids in shelters lack healthy exercise and fun. That’s why a
key part of our work is the Child-Friendly Space program – a safe place where
kids can be kids. Our volunteers also helped staff the Child-Friendly Spaces.
These trained, caring adults create an environment where kids can work through
difficult emotions as a result of the storm and increase their ability
to “bounce back”.

Matthieu was one of the older kids in the Child-Friendly
Space. He picked up a football from the toy box and began tossing it like he
was looking for a pick-up game. That’s when a bunch of the volunteers had the
great idea to rally the kids for a game of catch. It went on for quite a while,
but the kids said the time flew by. “This was the best day ever,” said
Matthieu, out of breath from play.

Later that night, some of the volunteers were told they were
rotating out – a new crew was coming in to tackle the work. When he heard the
news he would be leaving, one young man who had been playing ball looked down
at the table. When I turned to see his face, he wiped away tears. Having felt
that way before, we all knew he was going to miss the wonderful kids.

I want to use this blog post to thank all of our volunteers,
truly some of the most valuable players in emergency response.

If you want to volunteer for Save the Children, please check
out our volunteer opportunities online
.

Hopefully, Matthieu will soon be back to playing ball
in his own backyard. Kids like Matthieu need caring people to support Save the
Children’s long termresponse efforts.
Please give generously to our 
Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Helping Children Cope With Emotional Distress After Hurricane Sandy

PcrumpPenny Crump – Web Writer/Editor

Bronx, NY 

November 11, 2012

 


Hurricane Sandy took almost everything from Marisol. Fleeing her home with little more than clothes on her back, she waited out the storm at the safety of her Aunt’s house. Her mom, Rachel, stayed behind to protect their meager belongings from looters in a very rough neighborhood in New York.

Rachel had been told that they would be safe in their fourth floor apartment. But the winds and rain proved too much for their rundownbuilding.

The roof collapsed around her, destroying most of their belongings and killing Marisol’s little kitten.

Marisol-rachel“I haven’t told Marisol about her kitten yet, she’s been through too much already,” said Rachel. “I’m relieved she was at her Aunt’s when it happened.”

I spoke with many other families like Mariol’swho lived in apartments that have been condemned due to storm damage. They have no place to go home to – crowded shelters are their only refuge until temporary housing programs get fully up and running.

It’s in these shelters that Save the Children offers our Child-Friendly Spaces program. It gives girls and boys a safe area where they can play, have fun and express themselves under the supervision of caring, trained adults. It helpskids build self-esteem, work through difficult emotions and increase their ability to “bounce back”. 

Rachel was relieved to see Marisol having fun with the other children in our program. “I am just overwhelmed to see my daughter playing and happy again,” she said while choking back tears.

I told her, “It’s ok, we’ll get through this together”.

Hopefully, Marisol will feel safe and secure again soon. Kids like Marisol need caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts. Please give generously to our Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Keeping Kids Safe…Before and After Sandy

After my visit to a Red Cross shelter in New Jersey yesterday, I am more convinced than ever that we must urgently do a better job protecting kids in natural disasters than what we have done so far.

 

Save the Children began emergency work in the US in a much bigger way after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, just over 7 years ago. I clearly remember the day of the storm when we made the decision to send a small team to Baton Rouge,

Health Concerns Rise as Children Remain in Shelters After Hurricane Sandy


Pcrump
Penny Crump – Web Writer/Editor

Atlantic City, New Jersey 

November 5, 2012


In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy with temperatures
dropping, Save the Children rushed to deliver blankets and other cold-weather
supplies to Hurricane Sandy survivors.

One of the children we’ve been helping is 4-year-old Didi. While Didi got an imaginary
“check-up” from her older cousin “Dr. Kelly” at our Child-Friendly Space,
other children needed real-life medical attention at the shelter. With everyone
staying in close quarters, exhausted from the upheaval and a nor’easter on the
way, conditions are primed for kids to catch colds – or worse.

R110212_SANDY___8_107553

To help keep children warm, we’re sending cozy onesies,
jammies, hats and mittens.

Save the Children is also delivering educational materials
to our Child-Friendly Spaces to help reinforce healthy hygiene, the best line
of defense against diseases. Things like hand-washing and eating healthy snacks
can help kids fight colds, and promotes healthy behaviors in the future.

What’s more, we’re providing parents with the supplies they
need to help keep kids clean and healthy, such as diapers, nutritious snacks
and hygiene supplies.

Hopefully,
Didi will be able to go home to a safe, warm home soon. Kids like Didi need
caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts. Please give
generously to our
 Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.

“Do You Think They’re Ok?”- Kids Recover from Superstorm Sandy

The shelter in the Atlantic City Convention Center shelter is a huge sprawling hall with a constant wave of people arriving and leaving in a regular ebb and flow each day. Some families have just arrived from other shelters, some go back to devastated houses, and some come back to stay for what might be weeks.

 

Many of those who come to shelters in New Jersey—like this one run by the Red Cross—are families who can least afford to lose a week’s wages, a refrigerator of food, or a room full of furniture, much less a house or apartment. They are working class or poor families, usually with kids. As is the case here in Atlantic City, kids make up at least 25% of the population in shelters in affected areas.

Read Article

There's No Place Like Home


PcrumpPenny Crump, Web Writer/Editor

New Jersey, USA

November 4, 2012


After meeting
Kelly at a Hurricane Sandy shelter in North Jersey, I thought I’d never see her
again as she got onto a bus headed back home. I was happy she’d be able to sleep
in her own bed. She’d hopefully find her home intact, including her beloved
stuffed monkey named Rosy who got left behind when her family was evacuated.

I was playing tea
party with some little girls in our Child-Friendly Space, when I heard a familiar
voice. It was Kelly! She called out to her little cousin Didi age 2, who was
delicately eating an imaginary cupcake at our party. Peals of delight filled my
ears, as they made that squealing noise in a register that only little girls
can produce.

Didi-2-kelly-8-releasedKelly seemed in
good spirits, but my heart went out to her knowing that she would be staying in
a shelter once again. She told me that after they left the shelter where we
met, they tried to go home.
Their modest apartment was unharmed by the
storm, but the heat still wasn’t working.  Kelly dashed through the
apartment to her closet, where she found Rosy! They tried to sleep in their own
beds, but it was just too cold. After the storm, the temperature dropped
dramatically — it was in the 30s with wicked winds. Her parents decided take
Kelly and her little brothers to an economy motel for the night and return to a
shelter until their heat comes back on. With a nor’easter coming, warmth is all
the more important.

Knowing Save the
Children would be at the shelter with toys, her mom, Natividad decided it would
be best to travel light and leave Rosy safe at home. Kelly was ok with that and
held tight to Didi.

Not soon after
she arrived, Kelly made fast friends with two other little girls. They had so
much energy to burn off having been cooped up in shelters for nearly a week.
With all four of us holding hands, we went skipping around the shelter singing
“We’re Off to See the Wizard”. There really is no place like home, but we're
thankful we can help kids make the best of it while they're here at the
shelter!

Kids like Kelly
and Didi need caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts.
Please give generously to our Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Being there, staying there


StevewellsSteve Wells,
– Emergencies Logistics Manager

Atlantic City, New Jersey 

November 4, 2012


Things change.  Everything
from changes in the weather to the addition or loss of a family member, we’ve
all experienced how changes both big and small canshape our lives.

Emergency situations also change, frequently and often with
little advance warning.In the past two days, our Hurricane Sandy response team
has seen many of the children and families residing in New Jersey and New York community
shelterson the move again. They’re gathering the few belongings they can carry
on their backsand loading packed busesen route to longer-term mega shelters.

This progression is not unusual, as it means that the
families are a step closer to returning home. But more moving means more change
for kids. And many changes, especially in an unfamiliar situation, can take a
toll on children, who rely on the familiar to feel safe and secure.

Save the Children wants to help provide children with a
sense of familiarity through structuredactivities in our Child-Friendly Spaces,
and when the kids move, we move with them.

Yesterday, we met Dayvon, an exuberant 6-year-old who sang
while he colored pictures of his friends on a large banner in our Child-Friendly
Space in northern New Jersey.  Although
he made new friends at the shelter, he sorely missed his friends from home
saying, “I really hope that they are okay. I don’t know where they are.”

During our scheduled Child-Friendly Space time, Dayvon’s
shelter got the call to close down and transport its residents to a larger
shelter where the populations of a dozen smaller shelters would be
consolidated. When Dayvon’s mom returned to space to tell him it was time to
leave, Dayvon started to cry. He didn’t want to move again, he didn’t want to
leave his new friends and the familiar faces of the Save the Children staff.  Eventually, his mom was able to calm him and
we gave him the banner the children had colored together.  Before he walked out the door, he peeked over
his shoulder and said “see you later,” which melted our hearts, as we didn’t
know where Dayvon and his mother were headed,or if we would see him later.

Our team quickly identified the new shelter sites and
mobilized our staff to set up Child-Friendly Spaces in the new locations.  We drove 2-3 hours, worked with shelter
management and by the time we were carrying activity kits in the door, a dozen
buses were offloading  and in the shuffle
we heard a cheerful , “Hey!” It was Dayvon and his mother, Dayvon still
clinging to the poster we had made together hundreds of miles and several hours
before.

That moment was truly the highlight of Save the Children’s
response thus far. Seeing Dayvon’s beaming, toothy smile and knowing that we’re
helping give these kids a sense of consistency and normalcy despite their constantly
changing circumstances. In the new shelter we’ve seen many of the children we
worked with previously at smaller shelters and, for each one of the kids, it’s
a happy reunion.  And that’s what it’s
all about — not just being there when the disaster hits, but staying there and
ensuring children and families have the resources they need to cope with
disaster and rebuild their lives.

There are still
thousands of families living in shelters unable to storm-ravaged home and we
plan to stick with them, even when the media cameras have left and public
attention is diverted.Thank you for your support and following us through the
Hurricane Sandy response.

 Please give generously to our Hurricane Sandy Relief fund or Text
HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10 to Hurricane Sandy Relief from your
mobile phone. When you receive a text message, reply YES. (Standard text
messaging rates apply.) Read the fine print.

Kelly Keeps Her Hopes Up After Hurricane Sandy

Penny CrumpPenny Crump, Web Writer/Editor

New Jersey, USA

November 3, 2012



“I forgot Rosy!” Kelly said, with worry in her voice. Rosy was left behind when Kelly and her family evacuated due to Hurricane Sandy. Rosy is Kelly’s oldest and dearest friend – her stuffed monkey.

I met Kelly at our Child-Friendly space at a shelter in New Jersey. Save the Children provides a safe place for kids to play, read and cope with the aftermath of the ‘superstorm’. It can be scary for kids in disaster shelters, surrounded by strangers and going without the comforts of home.

Kelly and her family have been in shelters since Sunday night when Hurricane Sandy was on a path that would soon devastate their community in New Jersey.

Kelly and Save the Children’s Amy Richmond at a hurricane shelter in New Jersey.


Kelly and Save the Children’s Amy Richmond at a hurricane shelter in New Jersey.
Photo Credit: Penny Crump / Save the Children.


Kelly is in third grade and looks forward to seeing her school friends and returning to art class. One of the things she likes at the shelter is that there are art supplies and other activities for kids. Kelly also liked the books and enjoyed a “tea party” with some of her little playmates.

Kelly keeps a watchful eye on her little brothers, Kevin and Kenny. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and you can tell by how patient she is with them that she’ll be a great caregiver someday. She really appreciated the toys for her brothers – dinosaurs and wild beasts. There were also fun games for older kids, as well as books. Kelly likes mystery novels best, they help keep her mind off a very difficult situation.

“I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to go home” she tells me. She’s concerned about the apartment where her family lives as it’s in a low-lying, distressed community. “The first thing I am going to do when I get home is check on Rosy.”

Kids like Kelly need caring people to support Save the Children’s response efforts. Please give generously to our Hurricane Sandy Relief fund.

Text HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10 to Hurricane Sandy Relief from your mobile phone. When you receive a text message, reply YES. (Standard text messaging rates apply.) Read the fine print.