Story: Making a shelter stay fun for kids

This story is written by Red Cross worker Chrystian Tejedor.

Staying at a shelter during a storm isn’t exactly what any kid would call fun, but Red Crossers in South Florida recently set out to change that with Tropical Storm Isaac threatening the area.

“Without electricity, kids aren’t going to be able to play on their electronic games for long,” said Gilbert de Armas, a 32-year Red Cross volunteer and shelter manager. “Anyone who stays at a shelter knows it’s a stressful time for both kids and adults, so we’re trying to make it easier for everyone.”

In case Red Crossers open shelters in South Florida, AmeriCorps volunteers have pre-sorted a cache of donated crayons, coloring books, playing cards, and board games that will be distributed to all the open shelters in the area.
“I was overjoyed by the response to our call for donated items,” said Sylvia Taylor, Mass Care lead for the Red Cross in South Florida. “Our kids will be well entertained.”

Shelter managers like de Armas are on board with the plan and they will set aside an area where children can play together.

“Sometimes when kids are in a shelter, they can feel anxious,” Taylor added. “We want them to feel more comfortable and to ease their minds of any worries relating to Tropical Storm Isaac.”

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