Thursday, May 13, 2010

"I felt ready to help vulnerable populations become better prepared to face emergencies."

At the University of Vermont my majors were sociology and environmental studies. I spent most of my classes researching disasters and their environmental effects. After completing my thesis, “Rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: Exploring the racial, economic and environmental relationships of two communities during the reconstruction process,” I felt ready to help vulnerable populations become better prepared to face emergencies.

The chance to work in the NY Red Cross’s Community Outreach and Preparedness department was a perfect match for my education and passion. I began my AmeriCorps service with the NY Red Cross in November 2009, administering and conducting emergency-preparedness events in Manhattan for residents, civic groups, nonprofit and government agencies, and other community organizations. Because most New Yorkers don’t think much about preparedness until after an emergency has disrupted their lives, these presentations are crucial to beginning conversations about preparedness before the fact. I meet with all kinds of folks and discuss how to create a communications plan, how to assemble an emergency supplies kit and how to stay connected in times of disaster.

So far, the most memorable moment of my internship has to be my first solo “Ready New York” presentation. The program was held at a settlement house in Lower Manhattan and I was unaware that my audience would be composed mostly of high-school students, 15–16 years old, until they began slowly trickling into the room. I wasn’t much older than these kids and I had no idea how they would take to a conversation about emergency preparedness, whether I would be able to hold their attention. I was a little rocky from nerves as I began, but their interest and my excitement made this one of my most memorable presentations. That first solo gave me a sampling of the broad range of connections I would make with New Yorkers as I guided them through the first steps of emergency preparedness.

Nicole Henderson-Roy from Jamaica, Queens

1 comment:

  1. Nichole -- I commend you on your work helping vulnerable populations prepare for emergencies and disasters. It is such important work. Great job.
    Professor Alice Fothergill
    Department of Sociology
    University of Vermont


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