The mission of the American Red Cross is to help people prevent, prepare, and respond to emergencies. A natural assumption is that the organization focuses on helping adults become better educated with regard to disasters, but the truth is that the American Red Cross is equally committed to helping youth and young adults do the same.
Next week – January 20-24 – is Youth Preparedness Week. The National American Red Cross, as well as local chapters throughout the country, make connecting and working with schools, scout groups, and youth-centered clubs and organizations a priority throughout the year. But next week, with the spotlight shining on youth and young adult preparedness, the opportunities for involvement and education are even more available.
The first day of Youth Preparedness Week falls on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which means no school, no homework, and plenty of time to get involved in larger-scale activities through your local chapter:
- Take a preparedness or health and safety training course.
- Volunteer in the chapter office, at a blood drive, or in the community to help others prepare (many chapters distribute fire safety and disaster preparedness information throughout the community as part of the annual MLK Day of Service).
If taking a class or participating in a MLK Day of Service activity isn’t logistically possible, consider getting involved in a way that requires slightly less of a time commitment:
- Download one or more of the EIGHT American Red Cross apps. Each offers valuable information about a particular natural disaster or line of service – hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, first aid, pet first, shelter availability, and volunteering – that could be used to save lives during an emergency.
- Visit your local fire or police station for a tour and to learn more about how they serve and protect your community. In my experience, if you bring cookies or cupcakes to the fire station, the fire fighters often let you sit in the truck…
- Build your Emergency Preparedness Kit and create your Disaster Plan. If you’ve already done so, update your kit and update and practice your plan.
- Stage a fire drill. Surprise your family members by turning on your smoke alarm when they least expect it. Afterwards, talk about what everyone did well, and review anything they missed or need to practice in order to be better prepared.
- Donate blood. If you’re 17 years old (or 16 years old with a parent’s permission), visit a donor center or a community blood drive and spend an hour of your time donating blood. What better way to support your community’s preparedness efforts than by helping stock the local blood bank?
How will you, your family, and/or your friends celebrate MLK Day of Service and Youth Preparedness Week? Share your ideas and plans by commenting below!
Click here to learn more about youth preparedness trainings and MLK Day of Service activities in your area.
Click here to learn more about youth health and safety classes in your area.