August 19, 2011

4-H Youth Deliver Emergency Preparedness, Economic Development to Hurricane Belt

CHEVY CHASE, Md., Aug. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- When Hurricane Katrina passed through the city of Lucedale, Miss., on Aug. 29, 2005, the town of roughly 3,000 was left without power and resources for information such as radio and television. When the city went into recovery mode and assessed the property damage - which totaled about $2.4 million - the community realized that it was time to expand its communications systems.

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Realizing the need to provide more information outlets to residents during emergencies, Lucedale Mayor Doug Lee enlisted the help of eight youth on the Mississippi 4-H Tech Team to set the town up with its own Facebook page, and provide social media 101 training to local first responders and business owners.

On Aug. 15, 2011, roughly 30 Lucedale residents packed into a crowded City Hall to learn from the youth how Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube can help when communicating during an emergency, and when building marketing tactics for a business. During the event, the 4-H'ers reviewed how social media outlets work and trained the officials and business owners on a one-on-one basis.

"It's a big responsibility and I feel like I don't want to let my community down," said Marissa Landon, George County resident and member of the Mississippi 4-H Tech Team. "I want to stay involved and I want to do whatever I can to enhance our community through social networking."

The 4-H Tech Team will manage Lucedale's Facebook page and post information provided by the mayor's office. The youth also invited local businesses to enlist the 4-H Tech Team's help in establishing various social media outlets.

The Mississippi 4-H Tech Team has conducted several trainings to emergency management professionals and business owners throughout the state of Mississippi, and have scheduled training sessions in three other counties in the fall of 2011.

Stories like that of the Mississippi 4-H Tech Team are not uncommon among 4-H, and are taking place all across the nation due to the activism and ingenuity of 4-H youth who are breaking through obstacles, tackling big problems and making measurable contributions where they live. Visit to learn more about 4-H.

Related Links:

National 4-H Council
Mississippi State University Extension Service

SOURCE National 4-H Council