Mississippi Youth Preparedness Initiative (MyPI)

MyPI is an innovative emergency preparation program targeting teenagers across Mississippi and impacting families and communities across the state.  The program actively engages Mississippi youth (ages 13-19) in the process of personal, family, and community preparation for disasters.  Similarly, through education, training, and leadership opportunities and partnerships with organizations focused on youth development, MyPI will also engage our youth in the recovery function of emergency management.

The mission is consistent with the outreach goals of the Mississippi State University Extension Service as well as with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) focus on Youth Preparedness.

The MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Citizen Corps are committed to promoting emergency preparedness by empowering our youth (ages 13-19) to take a leadership role within their families and communities.  Citizen Corps, coordinated nationally by FEMA, is the nationwide grass roots movement to actively involve Americans in making our communities and our nation safer, stronger, and better prepared for emergencies of all kinds.  The MSU Extension Service has created MyPI to provide innovative training and education as well as specialized leadership programs and opportunities to approximately 4,000 teens per year for 5 years.  As a coordinating agency of MyPI, the MSU Extension Service coordinates the selection and training of Youth Preparedness trainers and the youth membership involved in the program as well as monitors youth progress in emergency preparedness education, training, and service to the community.  MSU Extension envisions approximately 105,000 families will be better equipped to cope with disasters.   

As partners, the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Citizen Corps will continue to set standards of excellence within Youth Preparedness and outreach programs.  

Through education, training, leadership and service opportunities, and partnerships focused on youth development, MyPI has the following goals:

  • To engage and motivate Mississippi youth (ages 13-19) to participate in personal, family, and community mitigation and preparation for disasters and to instill personal responsibility and ownership in these functions. 
  • To transfer specific skills needed to respond within communities in the aftermath of a disaster when emergency services are not immediately available.  These skills include, but are not limited to Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, basic Disaster Medical, Light Search and Rescue, First Aid, CPR, and AED usage.
  • To promote involvement in the recovery function of emergency management through a focus on leadership and community service.
  • To communicate new resources, strategies, and technological advancements that assist in the emergency management processes, equipping when possible.  
  • To explore and offer insight into career tracks within Emergency Management, Homeland Security, Public Health, Public Safety, Fire Safety, and other Emergency Management-related fields.
  • To connect qualified trainers with external community agencies and participating youth.

Through this 10-week program, participants will learn essential life skills, fulfill community service requirements, give back to their families and communities, build self-esteem, and receive the satisfaction that comes from helping others.

For participants, MyPI is essentially a 10-week program plus one Saturday in which ~4,000 Mississippi teens will complete Homeland Security-certified Teen CERT training and CPR and AED certification. The program also includes leadership and technology concepts and a career exploration track. Highlighting the program is a comprehensive service project entitled "Prep + 5" in which each participant helps develop emergency kits and emergency communication plans for their family and 5 others.  

A limited number of MyPI “test sites” will commence in select locations across Mississippi in the early months of 2013.  Once an evaluation of progress from those sites is completed and any necessary adjustments are made, full scale implementation of the program across the state will begin.  

For more information about MyPI, please contact Dr. Ryan Akers, MyPI Program Coordinator at cakers@humansci.msstate.edu.