Mart High School Teen CERT Member Announced for National Youth Preparedness Council
In May the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters announced that Chandler Villa, a 17-year-old member of the Mart High School Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), has been selected to represent FEMA Region VI on the National Youth Preparedness Council. She will represent the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico for matters concerning youth preparedness. She will also be implementing youth preparedness education locally as a service project.
Her nomination comes on the heels of the Heart of Texas Council of Governments (HOTCOG) involvement with the FEMA’s Region VI Citizen Corps Working Group. Originally, Chandler did not meet the requirements—she was a high school junior rather than a freshman or sophomore. However, FEMA headquarters accepted her nomination and she was selected for the position. This will be a great opportunity to build on the efforts of Mart High School’s youth preparedness activities as well as the regional Citizen Corps program as a whole.
Chandler first got involved with the Mart High School Teen CERT a year ago after talking to some of her teachers about it. She is currently a leader in Mart High School’s Student Activities and Government (SAG) and Secretary of the Mart High School National Honor Society. She is also a member of the school’s University Interscholastic League Journalism Team, yearbook staff and the golf team.
While involved with Mart High School’s Teen CERT Team, Chandler deployed during the Marlin Water Crisis in December 2015 by distributing water to impacted residents of the community.
Her experiences in the Teen CERT program also allowed her the opportunity to conduct public education events in her own community and the communities surrounding Mart. Other team activities included ride along training with paramedics.
Chandler is driven to serve others and maintains an interest in the medical field. Villa has plans to continue her education in the medical field. She has an interest in becoming an Emergency Medical Technician and perhaps study to be a nurse and physician assistant in college. She credits the CERT team experience with teaching her more about herself.
The CERT team was recognized for their accomplishments last year. The group received honorable mentions in two categories of the 2015 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards: Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness and Outstanding CERT.
National Youth Preparedness Council
Created in 2012, the National Youth Preparedness Council brings together youth leaders from across the country who are interested in preparedness and making a difference in their communities. Council members will also complete preparedness projects.
Chandler will take part in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit July 19-20, 2016, in Washington, D.C.
The summit gives members the opportunity to share their ideas and questions with national organizations. The students will have an opportunity to plan their legacy project. The council will also meet with FEMA community preparedness staff, who will serve as their ongoing support mentors.
The council supports FEMA’s commitment to involve youth in preparedness-related activities. It also provides an avenue to engage youth by taking into account their perspectives, feedback and opinions.