Youth Preparedness Council
Interested in joining the 2013 Youth Preparedness Council or know a young person you'd like to nominate? Visit the Youth Preparedness page now to find out how!
2012 Youth Preparedness Council Members
Rebekka McCaleb - Sterling, CO
“Bekka” McCaleb is currently a sophomore at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colorado. She graduated in May of 2011 as the Valedictorian of Arickaree High School. Her passion for helping others has influenced her to pursue a degree in Behavioral Psychology. Bekka participated in the Pilot Program for the Colorado Disaster READY Training in the summer of 2010, which provided her the tools to assist in a tragic event that struck her community months following.
Rachel Little - Monson, MA (Region I)
Rachel is a freshman honor student who is involved in the Massachusetts Governor’s Council as a youth advisor. As part of this group, she participated in Project 351 for the September 11 Day of Service, traveling to Boston to meet with other youth and to participate in several community service projects. Also through the Governor’s Council, she participated in Cradles to Crayons, a group in the Boston area that collects clothing and items for children in need. Rachel works with the Street Angels, helping and caring for tornado survivors, and has participated in Care Kits for Troops and Step-Up Day, a mentoring program on youth experience.
Gabriela Rodriguez Boria - Juncos, PR (Region II)
Gabriela is a volunteer for her local American Red Cross where she helps organize fire and tsunami drills and collects food and donations for Haiti refugees. She is a member of the juvenile pastoral group at her church and collects canned foods for a local homeless dining center. She is also an active volunteer with the American Heart Association and participates in physical activities that prevent heart illness.
Donald “Diesel” Embrey - Mineral, VA (Region III)
Diesel has been involved in the emergency medical services field for many years. He is a Virginia state firefighter and emergency medical technician, a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer, and is certified in CPR/First Aid and Incident Command Structure. In February 2012, Diesel responded to a massive 2,500-acre brush fire in Louisa County, VA. Six months later, when an earthquake of magnitude 5.8 rocked his community, Diesel assumed a leadership role at his school, helped to evacuate his fellow students, and performed triage on injured students. He then responded to the Mineral Firehouse where he worked to establish an emergency evacuation shelter and triage center and then helped secure damaged buildings and search for injured persons.
Benjamin Cooke - Memphis, TN (Region IV)
Benjamin is a dynamic young man dedicated to public service. He demonstrates strong values, leadership, and communication skills. 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) CERT Program. He has participated in community initiatives such as “Get Ready Shelby” and “Go Green Memphis.”
Jason Reed - Jeffersonville, IN (Region V)
Jason is the cadet commander for his Civil Air Patrol squadron and is actively involved in his squadron’s emergency services programs, serving for several years as a search-and-rescue ground team member. He was a first responder for the devastating tornadoes that struck Henryville, IN, in March 2012, working alongside the local EMA departments, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and many other state and federal agencies. He conducted health and wellness checks in the community, created perimeters around damaged areas, and distributed supplies to those affected by the storm. He received state-level recognition for his efforts following this disaster.
Dorian Tre’Vaughn Gregory - Breaux Bridge, LA (Region VI)
Dorian is a youth leader in his community and is involved in many diverse activities. He is president of his 4-H, Students Against Drunk Driving, and the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church Good Gang Ministry and a member of the BETA Club and Student Council. He has also volunteered in community service projects that assist individuals in need and work to restore local communities. He was affected by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, relocating due to damages brought on by floodwaters. He has volunteered to serve his community in response to hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes.
Jonathan DeLong - Austin, TX (Region VI)
At age 7, Jonathan began volunteering weekly with a local animal rescue group. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, he helped gather supplies for rescued animals and donated his own toys for kids who needed to stay in the shelters. Following these experiences, Jonathan attended the City of Austin CERT training, obtained his ham radio license, and assisted in the communications room at Austin’s Emergency Operations Center during Hurricane Gustav. Last summer, Jonathan was one of 27 youth in Texas nominated to attend a leadership training camp for Teen CERT. Jonathan recently approached his high school principal to establish a Teen CERT program.
Nimansha Jain - Omaha, NE (Region VII)
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.
Ashley Houston - Hurricane, UT (Region VIII)
Ashley is an outstanding student and, as a member of the Health Occupation Students of America program, has completed the Teen Student Emergency Response Training at her high school. She worked with her family to put together 72-hour packs for all of the members of her household and to create an escape plan in case of fire, flood, or other disaster. Currently, she is working with a neighborhood response team where people would be assigned to identify problems and check on neighbors in the event of a disaster.
Divya Saini - Palo Alto, CA (Region IX)
Divya participates in the Block Preparedness Coordinator Program and volunteers at local neighborhood emergency preparedness events to encourage preparedness and teach individuals what they should do before, during, and after an event. She has developed a Facebook site for emergency preparedness, and she is the founder of Movers and Shakers, a teen club designed to keep Palo Alto resilient and to form a stronger bond between adults and teens through earthquake preparedness. Divya was recently recognized with a grant from the Palo Alto School Board to further her efforts in helping teens and others be prepared.
Tiffany Espensen - Burbank, CA (Region IX)
Tiffany is a 13-year-old Teen CERT graduate from one of the first classes held by the Julian/Cuyamaca CERT Organization. She has been active in the Teen CERT program, participating in numerous drills and classes, helping teach skills to other youth and promoting CERT in interviews. She currently stars on Nickelodeon’s “Bucket and Skinner” show. She has more than 11,000 Twitter followers and almost 1,000 Facebook likes on her fan page, helping her spread the word through social media. Tiffany will be starting high school and has a black belt in Wushu Chinese martial arts.
Christian Chowen - Laie, HI (Region IX)
Christian has participated in two community evacuations in Hawaii because of tsunami warnings. After discovering that the family’s go-packs were insufficient, he updated the family’s packs and kits. Christian is a trainer for Hawaii’s “Feeling Safe, Being Safe” program, working with individuals with disabilities to prepare for emergencies. As a trainer, he helps people to build an emergency backpack and explains why each item is important. He is considering combining his “Feeling Safe, Being Safe” work with the needs of his local high school, which has a significant population of students with disabilities. Christian is a Life Scout who has completed the Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge.
Cayman Kirkhart - Hayden, ID (Region X)
For his Eagle Scout leadership project, Cayman designed, planned, organized, and publicized “Be Prepared Day,” a community-wide disaster preparedness event that featured a series of classes and demonstrations to educate families about disaster preparedness. This 4-hour event required nearly 7 months of planning and coordination with personnel from 13 organizations, including local fire, rescue, and police units; the American Red Cross; the National Guard; the Coast Guard Auxiliary; the Health Department; and the Office of Emergency Management. “Be Prepared Day” was featured in the March issue of Boy’s Life.