Helping Children ‘BeReady’ for Emergencies

IMG_20170711_170736984.jpgMeredith, who joined United Way as an intern for the summer, reflects on her recent attendance at a BeReadyLI Children’s Workshop

As a summer intern at United Way of Long Island, I was recently able to visit Hewlett-Woodmere’s Franklin Early Childhood Center to watch and learn about the BeReadyLI Children’s Workshop presented by United Way and partner PSEG Long Island.

Students from pre-k to first grade entered the room, intrigued by the construction vests and hard hats in front of them, and excited to see what they would be learning about. As the students sat down, they were asked, “When you think of an emergency, what do you think of?” It was amazing to see how excited they were to give their answer. They waved their hands in the air hoping to be picked to speak into the microphone and share answers like, “call 911,” “go to the exit,” and “don’t panic.”

When the children were asked if they knew their full name and the full name of their parents, I was shocked to see how few knew the answer. Most of them responded “mommy” or “daddy” when asked their parent’s name. Their answers showed how important it is to teach young kids the information they’ll need to know in an emergency.

Because of PSEG’s partnership with Sesame Street to create a “Let’s Get Ready” initiative, the students learned valuable information while watching videos of their favorite Sesame Street characters. They clapped along as Grover and Rosita sang songs about special helpers, like firefighters and police officers. It was clear that the interactive nature of this workshop made it easy for the students to soak up all the information.

One of the most entertaining parts of the workshop was when the students were taught how to make a “go pack”. This “go pack” is full of essential items to have for emergencies. The students were given clues as to what was in the “go pack” and had a blast shouting out the answers. They laughed with their friends, shouting “No!” when asked if a piñata should go in the “go pack” as well.

IMG_1667The workshop concluded with student volunteers putting on hard hats and assisting in holding up big letters that represented the safety slogan. The four students picked were more than excited to run up to the front of the room. I, along with the faculty and teachers, had a great time watching students repeatedly call out “be Prepared, be Safe, in an Emergency, Get ready” to remember the four things they need to do in case of an emergency.

After assisting during the program, MaryGrace Macavoy, an intern in PSEG Long Island’s Community Partnership Program said, “the [BeReadyLI] program is very educational and it is great that both companies are coming together to teach kids at a young age.” MacAroy said that since PSEG Long Island is a family oriented company it is important for them to help keep kids safe.

The students were thrilled to learn they were going to be able to take home a goodie bag containing an activity book, crayons, and a safety certificate. It also contained more information about 2-1-1 Long Island that they could share with their parents to prepare the whole family for emergencies.

After watching the workshop, I was pleased to see how much the students enjoyed learning what to do in an emergency. The workshop was entertaining and taught them a lot of information they need to know. Thanks to the partnership between PSEG Long Island and United Way, the students and their parents now have the information they need to be safe in an emergency.

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