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FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council Alumna Coordinates Summit for Service Learning and Youth and Community Preparedness

April 2019

In January 2019, students, teachers, and organizations in Guam gathered for the 2019 Service Learning and Youth and Community Preparedness Summit. The summit was hosted by the Guam Department of Education (DOE) and the Guam Homeland Security Office of Civil Defense (GHS-OCD) Guam Youth Preparedness Program (GYPP). Kiahna Espia has been involved since the beginning.

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“The [GYPP] started as a legacy project through my involvement in the 2015 FEMA Youth Preparedness Council,” she recalled. “Our goal is to educate youth through trainings and community outreach. We also give technical help for events and projects.”

The Summit connected more than 200 students and teachers with community partners. They shared opportunities for youth to help prepare their communities. Speakers also discussed topics such as resiliency, leadership, and civic responsibility.

This year’s summit theme was “Community Resilience: Sowing the Seeds for a Culture of Service Learning.” Presenters shared tips for creating and promoting service learning programs. Teachers also learned about a program for the classroom to help students see what they can do for the community.

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“We challenge the students to find the leader within them,” said Charles Esteves GHS-OCD Administrator. He added that they also shared tools to help students excel in these opportunities.

Kiahna also served on the Service Learning Committee. In this role, she met with partners to arrange speakers, resources, and exhibitors. She even met with the Superintendent of Guam DOE. Reflecting on this effort, she said she enjoyed working with those who share her interests in service and youth preparedness. “Volunteering while growing up showed me I can make an impact,” Kiahna recalled. “By taking education beyond the classroom, students can grow and give back to society.”

This article first appeared in the monthly Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter. Subscribe here.