U.S. Disaster Relief
In addition to our work with refugees overseas, The Schoolbox Project mobilizes and trains volunteers to provide emergency aid to victims of hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters in the U.S. We stay behind after our initial response for up to three months to provide child friendly spaces to areas where disaster has caused trauma and displacement.
CURRENT PROJECTS: HURRICANE HARVEY
The storm has passed, but recovery has just begun.
Floodwater is more than simple rain.
It is often contaminated with sewage and chemicals and can hide sharp objects made of metal or glass. Sewage can cause boils and rashes. Chemicals can burn eyes and skin after exposure. Floodwater can also carry disease.
Coming into contact with contaminated water, whether through ingestion or exposure, can cause severe stomach problems. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children should never play with toys that have been in the water until they have been thoroughly washed.
Once the waters recede, clean up comes with its own set of challenges. Contamination from floodwaters and the mold that quickly grows, particularly in a warmer environment will, at minimum, exacerbate asthma and allergies and, at maximum, cause serious and long-lasting illness.
The CDC advises people to wear rubber boots and gloves when they clean their homes, to avoid direct contact with any item that has come into contact with floodwater. Subra also recommends always wearing a mask or respirator.
Walls, floors, and anything with a hard surface that has come into contact with floodwater -- like appliances, countertops or children's play areas -- need to be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a bleach solution. Fabrics should be washed in hot water or dry-cleaned. Furniture like beds and upholstered sofas and chairs that can be saved should be dried in the sun and then sprayed with a disinfectant. Carpets should be steam-cleaned.
Not only is this a huge amount of physical labor – recovering from a natural disaster is often emotionally devastating.
We are here to help.
The Schoolbox Project is a mobile, child-friendly space that operates out of a colorful, converted school bus. It is staffed with local teachers, tutors and child whisperers (background checked, bilingual and trained in trauma informed care) and travels to neighborhoods where cleanup crews are helping families do this incredibly difficult and potentially toxic work. We provide homework help, supervised indoor and outdoor activities, crafts and play for all ages. Children will be safe, engaged, and nearby so that parents can focus on the task at hand. This program identifies and prioritizes underserved communities.
If you or someone you know is organizing street by street clean up to storm affected neighborhoods, and would like to partner with us to offer this free service, please write us via our contact page or call 1(903)504-4524.
If you would like to volunteer with our Harvey response program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, but keep in mind that we always give preference to applicants that are local to the communities we serve.