Members of the Teen CERT program are participating in first aid training. One member is putting another young girl's arm in a splint while a third looks on and assists

I joined the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council three years ago, after joining the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Explorers, a program I have been a part of for five years. The program’s main focus is giving young people training in law enforcement as well as first aid and CPR. The main community service project we’re a part of is the Child I.D. Program, which can help parents in the event of an emergency by providing them with access to get fingerprints and identification cards for their children. In emergencies, these cards can help reunite families that may have been separated.

The first day on the Council I was nervous, but after the first hour with my fellow Region 6 members, sponsors, and FEMA leaders, I immediately felt at peace and found a place where I could be myself. I still have that feeling now and similar to my explorer group, the FEMA group has become a part of my family.

It’s been an amazing experience and allowed me to broaden my horizons and to meet some amazing people. By being a representative of Louisiana in Region 6, I helped my explorer program improve for the better and I became Teen CERT certified myself. My journey through Region 6 has been amazing and one that I am not finished with just yet.

Through the Council and the Explorers program, I became aware of the importance of being prepared for any situation, and I also know that although the best protection is prevention, the next is always preparedness. Preparedness isn’t simply a kit or a plan, it is a lifestyle to help save lives.

Programs like Teen CERT have been set up to help youth understand how to be prepared and how to respond in a disaster scenario. This has allowed me to better understand the mindset of how first responders work and how to assist my community in the event of a disaster.

All of these programs have given me a passion to want to make the world a better place for myself, my state, my nation.

It’s so important that other people realize how desperately we need programs like this because there are so many homes, lives, and opportunities that could have been saved if there was more knowledge of something as simple as preparedness.

Although we cannot change the past we can work on changing ourselves today in order to help save lives in the future.


Editor’s Note: