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MyPI Empowers Youth With Disaster Preparedness Training

Categorized: 4-H & Youth, South Dakota 4-H

BROOKINGS, S.D. - Disaster can strike a family or community at any time. Are you prepared?

SDSU Extension, is working to empower South Dakota teens, their families and communities through MyPI. My Preparedness Initiative or MyPI, is a two-time national award-winning youth disaster preparedness/youth leadership program developed by Mississippi State Extension and adopted by SDSU Extension.

"This hands-on training program is designed to get teens to take ownership of their preparedness plans, so they can take an active role in protecting themselves and those close to them," explained Ryan Akers, MyPI National Project Director and Associate Extension Professor with Mississippi State Extension.

Developed in 2013, following severe storms and devastating flooding in rural communities throughout Mississippi, the program is designed to train teens in several basic areas of disaster preparedness and then equip them with the necessary skill set to train seven families they know and help them prepare.

"Many times when disasters occur - whether it be a natural disaster, house fire or car accident - many youth think they are supposed to stay out of the way and wait for professional help to arrive. Those first moments are critical. While we certainly do not train our teens to self-deploy, we do provide them with the skill set to assist those in need prior to professional first responder arrival," Akers explained.

"A quarter of our nation's population is under the age of 18 ... this program shows them that responding to a disaster is not necessarily an "adult thing," and preparedness certainly is not," Akers continued. "We all have a place in helping secure our communities and our teens are empowered when they feel that they are a part of the solution, instead of an unused resource or barrier."

MyPI provides teens with basic skills to be safe before, during and after a disaster in numerous areas of preparedness including: basic disaster preparedness, fire safety and utility control; basic disaster medical operations; light search and rescue; disaster psychology, among others.

Through MyPI, students complete a technology track, career track, disaster simulation. They also have the option to receive CPR and AED certification. MyPI also gives youth the option to gain additional training in specific types of natural disasters which may be common in their region of the country.

Once MyPI program was proven successful in Mississippi, Akers began introducing it to other states by training extension personnel, who train teens, who then assist families and friends in their communities become better prepared for emergencies and disasters. South Dakota is the twelfth state to receive a MyPI grant.

Through the program's capstone leadership program, for every 25 teens graduated, 175 households will have enhanced preparedness measures through the development of emergency supply kits and family communication plans.

By the time they graduate, teens will make a widespread community impact in addition to gaining leadership characteristics, civic responsibility, self-esteem and empowerment.

In 2014 and 2017, MyPI received the FEMA Individual Community Preparedness Division's national award for most outstanding youth preparedness program.

"The idea is not to make youth completely self-sufficient, but to give youth the skill set to do basic things until more help arrives and so they are not part of the problem," said John Keimig, the SDSU Extension Youth Safety Field Specialist, who serves as the MyPI program coordinator in South Dakota.

This work is supported by the Smith Lever Special Needs Grant program, Grant no. 2017-41210-27102/project accession no. 1014022 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

MyPI training in six South Dakota counties

MyPI training will begin mid-2018 in the following six South Dakota counties: Beadle, Brown, Clay, Harding, Minnehaha and Pennington. Local SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisors and certified MyPI Instructors will be providing the training and oversight to interested youth.

To learn more about MyPI visit thier website. To learn how you can participate, contact Keimig by email.

Courtesy of iGrow. SDSU Extension, is working to empower South Dakota teens, their families and communities through MyPI. My Preparedness Initiative or MyPI, is a two-time national award-winning youth disaster preparedness/youth leadership program developed by Mississippi State Extension and adopted by SDSU Extension.

Recently, SDSU Extension 4-H staff received training in MyPI. Pictured here (left to right) R yan Akers, Mississippi State University Extension and MyPI Overall Grant Coordinator; Bobby Goff, MSU Extension; Laurie Elmore, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Harding County; John Madison, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Beadle County; Nathan Skadsen, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Minnehaha County; Chuck Martinell, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Minnehaha County; Jane Amiotte, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Pennington County; Paul Pederson - MyPI volunteer, Clay County; Becca Tullar, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Brown County; Lauren Hollenbeck, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Clay County; John Keimig SDSU Extension Youth Safety Field Specialist and MyPI S.D. Grant Point of Contact and Dave Nichols, Mississippi State Citizens Cop Council.

Courtesy of iGrow. SDSU Extension, is working to empower South Dakota teens, their families and communities through MyPI. My Preparedness Initiative or MyPI, is a two-time national award-winning youth disaster preparedness/youth leadership program developed by Mississippi State Extension and adopted by SDSU Extension.

Recently, SDSU Extension 4-H staff received training in MyPI. Here, Becca Tullar, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Brown County, practices using a fire extinguisher.

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