GEMA/HS Dispatch Sept 2018 - Page 14

youth “The of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” – Nelson Mandela Marcos Rios: A Georgia youth poised to help increase preparedness O Story by: Brandy Mai ne Georgia youth who is a current leader helping to increase awareness of the program, developing in his community and poised to continue an implementation guide, creating a catalog of all the making a difference is Marcos Rios. A Teen CERT programs across the nation and creating a 15-year-old rising high school junior, Rios heat map to identify gaps in youth involvement. “We is a member of the Federal Emer- used the heat maps to show us where gency Management Agency’s Youth there was a need for more involve- Preparedness Council and helping ment, then we created brochures “He won’t stop until the nation to increase preparedness and letters that were sent to youth and readiness for disasters. in those areas to encourage them to the entire nation “YPC has made me a different get involved,” he said. -no, the entire world- person,” he said. “I never knew “Marcos was basically our project knows about someone like me could save a life.” manager and tech guy,” said Ahjeetha preparedness.” Rios has always been involved in Shankar, co-chair of last year’s YPC his community and school activi- Teen CERT committee. “He helped - Ahjeetha Shankar ties, due to his mom working at his with organizing all the information, YPC Teen CERT Committee school and him staying after hours assigning deadlines and helping us while she was still working. But it budget and project management.” wasn’t until he saw an ad for YPC In addition to his Teen CERT that he knew about the program or about preparedness. involvement, the straight-A, full diploma student at “I’ve been active in a lot of things, and I knew those Marietta High School who’s involved in more than a skills could translate into being part of this program,” dozen school clubs and committees, Rios conducted an said Rios. individual project in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Last year, the first of the two-year appointment to and collected more than 38,000 rolls of toilet paper to YPC, Rios was actively involved in the Teen Community assist survivors of that storm. “YPC meets annually, our Emergency Response Team Committee of the YPC, team meets weekly, but we also do individual projects 14 | September 2018