Two Regional Youth Leaders Participating in FEMA's National Youth Preparedness Council

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Release date: 
June 20, 2013
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KANSAS CITY, Mo – Today the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced five newly selected members, including Emily Rosenblum of Wentzille, Mo., have joined FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council (YPC). Also from our region and joining the council for a second year, is Nimansha Jain of Omaha, Neb. As council members, these young ladies support FEMA’s emphasis on and dedication to involving the whole community in disaster-preparedness related activities.  

“We’re very excited to have two young leaders from our region on the council. In addition to harnessing their ideas to improve how FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards today, the council grows leaders who will be amongst future stewards of our communities and country,” said Region VII Administrator Beth Freeman. “These young people will learn, share and influence their families and friends to make America more disaster resilient.”

FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council was formed last year to bring together youth leaders from across the country that are highly interested and engaged in advocating youth preparedness and making a difference in their communities. The Council supports FEMA’s commitment to involving youth in preparedness-related activities, and provides an avenue to engage youth population, taking into account their perspectives, feedback and opinions. Council members will attend a Youth Preparedness Council Summit on youth disaster preparedness and will also complete a Council project with FEMA support.

Young people are capable of playing an important role in emergency preparedness, and have the unique potential to help their communities be safe, stronger and more resilient before, during and after a disaster. Youth involved in preparedness programs are able to effectively spread important messages about preparedness to their family, school and community. By participating in youth preparedness programs, young individuals are empowered to become leaders at home, in their schools and communities.

In its second year, interest in the Youth Preparedness Council has increased based on the number of applications received this year for the five seats available. The five newest members of the Council from across the country have been selected based on their dedication to public service, efforts in making a difference in their community, and their potential to expand their impact as a national advocate for youth preparedness.

The distinguished members selected in 2013 are as follows:

• FEMA Region II: Sophie Friedfeld-Gebaide (New York)

• FEMA Region III: Alex Pasculle (Pennsylvania)

• FEMA Region IV: Louyankkah Justilien (Florida)

• FEMA Region V: Daniel Wernsman (Wisconsin)

FEMA Region VII: Emily Rosenblum (Missouri) ** See biography below

The returning Council members are as follows:

• FEMA Region I: Rachel Little (Massachusetts)

• FEMA Region II: Gabriela Rodriguez Boria (Puerto Rico)

• FEMA Region V: Jason Reed (Indiana)

• FEMA Region VI: Jonathan DeLong (Texas)

FEMA Region VII: Nimansha Jain (Nebraska) ** See biography below

• 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)

Over the past year, the Youth Preparedness Council members have been promoting preparedness in their communities and across the nation. Several members achieved noteworthy results, including:

• Rachel Little (Region I) authored a FEMA blog post about the importance of preparing for severe weather.

• Gabriela Boria (Region II) developed a preparedness group called REACT that holds “Preparedness Days” and started a Teen CERT program at her school.

• Ashley Houston (Region VIII) was requested to speak about youth preparedness on a panel at the 2013 Institute of Medicine Workshop (to be held in June 2013).

• Divya Saini (Region IX) was awarded the “Disney Friends for Change” grant for her Block Preparedness Coordinator work, and has authored and published three articles about preparedness in the Palo Alto Weekly Newspaper.

• Tiffany Espensen (Region IX) developed “Tiffy’s Tip Tuesday” in which she relays disaster preparedness tips via her Twitter account, which currently has 16,880 followers.

This summer council members will have the opportunity to participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit in Washington, D.C. During the summit they will ask questions of and make recommendations to organizations working on this critical priority—disaster resiliency. Council members will also choose a Council project and meet with FEMA Community Preparedness staff, who will be their ongoing support contacts and mentors. Members will also meet virtually with FEMA leadership on a regular basis throughout the year and will provide ongoing input on strategies and initiatives as well as updates about their projects.

To learn more about FEMA’s youth preparedness efforts please visit:

Follow FEMA online at,, and  Find regional updates from FEMA Region VII at Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at  The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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.


Emily Rosenblum of Wentzville, MO                      

Emily Rosenblum’s passion and dedication to emergency preparedness is demonstrated through her involvement with CERT and other community groups. As a Teen CERT instructor assistant, Emily participates in numerous countrywide disaster exercises, is an active Teen CERT spokesperson and continues to advocate disaster preparedness at her high school. Emily always considers those with learning disabilities and access and functional needs when making decisions during disaster response exercises. She has also volunteered hundreds of hours to helping the Boy Scouts of America with merit badges and award requirements, in addition to the Sam “Ready I Am” program that educates youth about natural disaster hazards.


Nimansha Jain of Omaha, NE                                  

Nimansha is a member of the Ralston Fire Explorer’s Unit, which provides training for fire and medical emergency preparedness and is certified in CPR. She has been elected to the University of Nebraska Medical Center Student Advisory Group, which works with high school students to promote public health and preparedness messages through monthly community sessions to almost 100 teens. Because some teens could not attend every session, Nimansha started to use social media to help share information from the sessions and get the word out on various volunteer opportunities for youth.

Last Updated: 
June 24, 2013 - 09:50
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