Did You Feel It?

If you live in Southern California and you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know what “it” is. On the evening of July 5th, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Ridgecrest, California and it was felt all over the region. This set off a flurry of media stories about whether or not we are ready for “The Big One.” In today’s Friday Fuel we’re exploring ways youth can engage in earthquake preparedness for the health and well-being of their families and communities.

“Disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts must take into account the unique needs of children, who make up roughly a quarter of the U.S. population. Starting or getting involved with a youth preparedness program is a great way to enhance a community’s resilience and help develop future generations of prepared adults.” -Ready.gov

Your family is the epicenter of your life, so that is a good place to start. When was the last time your family discussed an emergency preparedness plan? Next, find out what opportunities there are locally to get involved. For example, here at Mentor Me Learning headquarters, youth can visit ReadyOC where they can access a volunteer calendar that highlights trainings and events in Orange County.

However, there’s even more ways to shake things up when it comes to preparedness. Take some time to think about who is still left out. Who might not have the access or resources to be fully prepared for a disaster? FEMA offers a guide for youth to help implement an emergency preparedness program. For inspiration, consider one volunteer group who focused on emergency preparedness for National Family Volunteer Day in November. They partnered with a local nonprofit serving low income families to provide them with emergency backpacks filled with essential supplies. Then, they invited these families to come learn about preparedness through a day of fun, kid-friendly educational activities.

How can YOU get involved? SIMPLE!

Step#1: Visit Ready.gov for family-friendly emergency preparedness resources.

Step #2: Find out what your local community is doing to prepare.

Step #3: Design a plan for those who still need support to be safe after a disaster.

What are some of the vulnerable populations in your community? Maybe you’re connected to a preschool, senior center or animal rescue facility that can use support with disaster preparedness or education. Make this a new epicenter for change and see how far your community can feel the impact.

This piece was written by Marissa Nadjarian. We are proud to have Marissa as one of our main contributors and Mentor Me Learning Advisory Board Members. She is a service-learning specialist, educator, mother and founder of Philanthroparent. Learn more about Marissa and her work at https://philanthroparent.com/about/the-author/.