WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Youth Preparedness Council, including Benjamin Cooke of Memphis, Tenn., will hold their inaugural meeting in Washington, DC today and tomorrow to discuss steps to strengthen the nation’s resiliency against all types of disasters.
“This has been an opportunity for members of the Youth Preparedness Council to share their ideas, experiences, solutions and questions on youth disaster preparedness with FEMA, other federal agencies and national organizations,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Engaging youth is critical to including the whole community in national preparedness. The Youth Preparedness Council is contributing to set a national agenda for how young people play a role in emergency management.”
The Council members will participate in roundtable discussions and plenary sessions today, the first day of their two-day visit to the nation’s capital. During the roundtable, the Council will meet with Administrator Fugate and discuss steps to strengthen the nation’s overall resiliency. In addition to developing their annual work plan to address youth preparedness during national disasters, the Council is meeting with other federal and private sector partners committed to supporting their work. Tuesday, council members will also visit Capitol Hill and learn how disaster management legislation moves through the legislative process.
Benjamin is among 13 exceptional Youth Preparedness Council members. He frequently speaks to diverse groups of youth about the need for emergency preparedness and volunteers at the Memphis Virginia Hospital. During the May 2011 flooding of the Mississippi River, he witnessed the benefits of planning and the values taught by the Memphis’ Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program. He has participated in community initiatives such as “Get Ready Shelby” and “Go Green Memphis.”
The Youth Preparedness Council is comprised of the following youth leaders (13 – 17 years of age) from each of FEMA’s ten regions:
• FEMA Region I: Rachel Little (Massachusetts)
• FEMA Region II: Gabriela Rodriguez Boria (Puerto Rico)
• FEMA Region III: Donald “Diesel” Embrey (Virginia)
• FEMA Region IV: Benjamin Cooke (Tennessee)
• FEMA Region V: Jason Reed (Indiana)
• FEMA Region VI: Dorian Tre’Vaughn Gregory (Louisiana)
• FEMA Region VI: Jonathan DeLong (Texas)
• FEMA Region VII: Nimansha Jain (Nebraska)
• FEMA Region VIII: Ashley Houston (Utah)
• FEMA Region IX: Divya Saini (California)
• FEMA Region IX: Tiffany Espensen (California)
• FEMA Region IX: Christian Chowen (Hawaii)
• FEMA Region X: Cayman Kirkhart (Idaho)
Council members are eligible to serve on the Council for two years.
To learn more about FEMA’s youth preparedness efforts, please visit: www.citizencorps.gov/getstarted/youth/youthindex.shtm.
To learn more about each council member visit: www.citizencorps.gov/getstarted/youth/youthpreparednesscouncil.shtm.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.