Children’s Animal Ambassador visits Capitol Hill
“Prep Rallies” at local DC schools
Photo Credit: Save the Children
Tanya Weinberg 202.640.6647 (O), 202.247.6610 (M)
WASHINGTON (April 29, 2015) —
Lassie, the iconic collie whose latest role is animal ambassador
for Save the
Children, visited Congress Wednesday to inspire leaders to join her in
protecting children from disaster.
Nearly 10 years after Hurricane Katrina woke up the nation up to
the extreme dangers disasters can pose to children right here in the United
States, Lassie made her Hill visit en route to lead Save the Children “Prep Rallies”
at local schools. The events are part of America’s PrepareAthon!,
a grassroots campaign to get people better prepared for emergencies through group discussions, drills and exercises.
“Lassie’s devotion to keeping kids safe is well known and she is
an amazing addition to Save the Children’s emergency preparedness team. But
let’s be frank, Lassie can’t be in all places at all times. We need you all to
take leadership in protecting children from disaster,” Erin Bradshaw, director
of Save the
Children’s Get Ready Get Safe initiative, told attendees at
Wednesday’s Capitol Hill briefing.
“That means acting now to protect the little ones in your own families
as well as every child in the communities you represent across the United
States,” she added. “Children are not just little adults and their unique
needs must be planned for in advance of a disaster.”
Today a majority of U.S. families do not have a strong emergency
plan in place and 21 states and
the District of Columbia still lack basic
requirements for emergency plans in schools and child care facilities,
Save the Children experts told attendees. At the same time more than half
of U.S families report having been personally affected by disaster.
“We simply can’t wait for the next disaster to make sure we’ve
done our best to protect our nation’s children,” said Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY).
“Take it from my constituents, many of whom struggled to protect their kids
from major devastation during and after Hurricane Sandy. There is still
much work to be done to protect children and make sure their families get the
services they need in times of crisis. I urge my colleagues to join me in
making this a priority.”
Prep Rallies and America’s PrepareAthon!
After leading a pledge to protect children from disaster and
posing for photos, Lassie left Capitol Hill for Mundo Verde Charter School in
the NoMa neighborhood of Northwest Washington DC.
There, Lassie led 90 first-, second- and third-graders in a Save the Children “Prep Rally,”
which teaches kids emergency preparedness basics including how to recognize
risks, make a plan, and gather disaster supplies. Through interactive
demonstrations like the un-telephone game and disaster supplies relay race,
children learned critical safety skills that they can take home and share with
Thursday, preparedness efforts will continue across the nation and in
Washington, where Lassie is slotted to lead another “Prep Rally” at a child
care center at the Department of Labor.
New Research to Reveal Post-Katrina Gaps
In July, Save the Children will release its annual
Disaster Report Card in advance of the Katrina 10-year anniversary. The report
will detail what progress has been made and what gaps remain for protecting
children from disaster since the National Commission on Children and Disasters
formed after Katrina made a series of urgent recommendations.
Visit our Get Ready Get Safe pages for resources on preparing for disaster: www.savethechildren.org/GetReady
Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.