The Sensory Safe Zone
(November 27, 2018 – Greer, SC) Events that are widely viewed as fun for the whole family can be overwhelming and intolerable for children who are sensitive to noise and vibrations – and a parade is no exception. City of Greer resident Hope Holiday sent a request to the parade committee saying, “people who wish they could take their child to the parade, but due to sensory hearing issues it is too stressful and causes panic…It is a great struggle for us each year and we have to deal with tears and fear in a time that could be fun.”
At the Parade Committee meeting it became obvious that a sensory safe zone was the right thing to do and the City of Greer was just the place for it to happen. City Administrator Ed Driggers, agreed “It is imperative that we provide quality services for all residents and visitors in the City of Greer. We have worked diligently to ensure accessibility to and inside city facilities. The sensory safe zone provides an opportunity that allows all children and adults to comfortably enjoy holiday festivities and I can’t think of a better partner than Greer Relief and Resources to make this possible. Their motto perfectly sums up the city’s approach to services: every neighbor matters.”
This year’s Greer Christmas Parade benefiting Greer Relief is introducing a Sensory Safe Zone. Two blocks along the parade route on N. Main Street between W. Arlington Avenue & W. Bearden Street will be for families with children who experience distress dealing with sensory stimulation. All parade entries are asked to refrain from revving their engines, using sirens, air horns, and car horns along this portion of the parade route. The public is still encouraged to stand in the Sensory Safe Zone, but asked to be aware of what we are trying to accomplish and be supportive of the atmosphere we are creating.
“We encourage families to still bring whatever may assist to reduce your child’s anxiety and provide comfort from the potentially over-stimulating sights and sounds of the parade.” shared Greer Relief Executive Director Caroline Robertson. “We want the parade to be fun for everyone.”
For 80 years, Greer Relief has been providing safety net services for those in need in the Greater Greer area. The organization was founded in 1936 and is the oldest 501(c)3 non-profit in Greer. Greer Relief assists working poor and fixed income residences in the Greater Greer area by providing services to eliminate poverty by helping neighbors overcome barriers for success. Greer Relief is supported by the local community including support from the United Way. For more information, visit www.greerrelief.org, call (864) 848-5355, or stop by the J. Verne Smith Center at 202 Victoria Street Greer.