Nebraska Extension joins innovative national youth preparedness partnership

MyPI NE instructors practice the use of cribbing

MyPI NE instructors practice using cribbing

This week in Lincoln, the initial delegation of instructors within the Nebraska Youth Preparedness Initiative, MyPI Nebraska, completed a comprehensive certification and training workshop led by the MyPI National Coordination Team, and became the first state to train instructors under the national project umbrella.  According to Ashley Mueller, Extension Educator and Disaster Education Coordinator for Nebraska Extension and MyPI Nebraska State Program Coordinator, “Nebraska Extension is committed to helping Nebraskans when they need it most. Through MyPI, we’ll be able to expand disaster education to a teen audience. We have an opportunity to engage them in disaster preparedness and empower them to give back to their communities.”

Over the next two years, MyPI Nebraska will be offering an innovative and engaging youth preparedness program to approximately 125 teens across the state.  According to Ryan Lowry, Nebraska Citizen Corps State Program Manager, "MyPI Nebraska takes disaster preparedness and response education and combines it with a community service project to create program graduates who are more prepared to take care of themselves, their family, and their community. By reaching out to youth, MyPI Nebraska helps achieve our goal of whole community preparedness."  This program, based on a national award winning model delivered in Mississippi through the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Citizen Corps, enhances individual, family, and community preparedness for disasters while at the same time, strengthens youth leadership, communication skills, teamwork, decision making, self-esteem, civic responsibility, and empowerment, along with family communication and cohesion. “Our program in Mississippi benefits tremendously from key state-level coordination, partnerships and networks, so we were happy to see a productive partnership already in place between Ashley with Nebraska Extension and Ryan with Nebraska Citizen Corps,” said Dr. Ryan Akers, MyPI National and MyPI Mississippi Project Director.  Mississippi Citizen Corps State Program Manager added, “As a Citizen Corps State Program Manager it was great to see the buy-in for MyPI from my state counterpart in Nebraska.  The pool of instructors were knowledgeable, but much more importantly, enthusiastic for the opportunity to help teens in Nebraska become better prepared and to steer them through the leadership development process that MyPI offers.”

MyPI Nebraska is a component of the National Youth Preparedness Initiative, MyPI National, a partnership of eight states delivering the MyPI curriculum to teenagers across Nebraska, Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, and Mississippi.  According to Akers, “We are excited to partner with Nebraska Extension and excited to see MyPI Nebraska flourish across the state.  It is an exciting program that offers rich learning and leadership opportunities for teens and enhanced preparedness levels for families and communities across this great state.  It is abundantly clear to everyone on my team that the instructors here have a strong passion for disaster education, their youth and families, and the livelihood of these communities.”     

For students in the eight states, the MyPI model offers a flexible 5 to 10 week, three component program.  In Component A, teenagers will complete the U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency-certified Teen CERT training and corresponding modules focusing on Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety and Utility Control, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, and Terrorism and CERT.  In Component B, the Add-On Catalog features certification in CPR and AED usage, along with a technology track comprised of awareness programs focusing on HAM Radio, NOAA Weather Radio, Smoke Alarm Maintenance, and Smart Phone App and Social Media in Emergency Preparedness.  The Add-On Catalog also includes a Disaster simulation, and a Career Track that focuses on public safety, fire service, and emergency management careers.  The final element of the program, Component C, includes a comprehensive family and community service project entitled Prep + 6 in which each participant helps develop emergency supply kits and emergency communication plans for their family AND 6 additional families or households. This component allows for significant enhancement in individual, family, and community preparedness and resilience.  To graduate from the program, students must complete all components.

The partnering states in MyPI National are replicating the model created and delivered in Mississippi.  In 2014, the Mississippi Youth Preparedness Initiative was named FEMA’s national award winner for Outstanding Youth Preparedness program. It also received an Honorable Mention recognition for “Preparing the Whole Community.” In 2015, MyPI Mississippi was named one of the first entities to be named an official Affirmer of the new National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education. As such, MyPI is an engaged and recognized component of a nationally supported, progressive approach to preparing youth for emergencies and disasters.  MyPI National is also recognized as an Affirmer of the national strategy.

For additional information regarding MyPI Nebraska including the areas of the state that the program will be delivered in the initial deliveries, please visit the MyPI Nebraska website at or contact Ashley Mueller, Disaster Education Coordinator for Nebraska Extension and MyPI Nebraska Program Coordinator at or 402-727-2775.  For more information regarding MyPI National, please visit the MyPI National website at or contact Dr. Ryan Akers, MyPI National Project Coordinator at or 662.325.5914.