Nebraska is a True Leader. The state has more miles of river than any other state in the nation and is home to the largest aquifer. Due to recent rain, snow, and natural snowmelt occurring on top of frozen ground, our state has recently experienced historic flooding in numerous counties. The need for assistance is growing.
4-H, America's largest youth development organization, empowers young people to be true leaders who can endure through challenges, who know how to work well with others, and who will stick to a job until it gets done.
Nebraska 4-H calls all True Leaders to use their confidence, independence, resilience, and compassion, to assist in the flooding recovery efforts that are currently taking place across the state.
Below you will find resources to help you, your family, and community members, as you recover from the flood, assist with the recovery efforts, raise funds for disaster relief, or inspire kids to do more during the time of need.
Recovering from the Flood
As Nebraskans recover from the aftermath of flooding and disasters it is likely you, your family, children, and youth will experience a wide range of emotions. Many children and youth often do not have the experiences and knowledge needed to understand and feel safe during a disaster. We know that as parents and educators you want answers regarding what to do before, during, and after an emergency event. That’s why on the Nebraska Extension Early Childhood Development Disaster Resources website you’ll find various resources that may be helpful for you, your family, your children, and your community. Learning Child and 4-H campus and county-based experts are ready to help you support children, youth, and the adults in their lives during these events. Materials are available in English and Spanish.
Flooding can cause stress. Keeping young people informed about situations like flooding is important to help calm emotions and to ease the transition process. Numerous resources are found at Nebraska Extension: Flood Resources - Children & Family Resources. Below are also some tips for working and communicating with youth:
- Be a calm and reassuring presence. Remind youth that over time thing will get better.
- Acknowledge feelings and allow youth to talk about their feeling and concerns. Let youth know that it is okay to be sad, scared or confused.
- Build Resiliency. Help youth think about positive coping skills. It might be going for a walk, writing in a journal, engaging in an art project, or thinking about things that they are thankful for.
- Create an environment where youth can interact with their peers. Peer support can provide emotional support for youth.
- Simply, listen. If ever youth need adults to listen, it is now. Remember you don’t have to have all the answers. Silence is okay. Youth just need to know you care.
The following resources focus on how to support young people and can be shared with parents, volunteers, and community members:
- Helping Children After a Natural Disaster (National Association of School Psychologists)
- Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth Cope After a Disaster or Traumatic Event: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, or Teachers (SAMHSA)
- Parent Tips for Helping Adolescents After Disasters (NCTSN)
You can find more flood recovery information and resources from the Nebraska Extension Flood Resources website. New content will continuously be added, including information for:
4-H'ers Helping 4-H'ers
4-H’ers Helping 4-H’ers funds are available to any Nebraska 4-H family who has been impacted by a disaster and has been recommended for support by a 4-H parent or guardian, 4-H volunteer, or 4-H alumni. Grants are limited to $100 for an individual and $500 for a family. There is no deadline to apply. Applications must be submitted electronically.
Assisting with Recovery Efforts
There will be a long road to recovery and many 4-H'ers will want to contribute to the flood recovery. As you consider what can be done to assist with recovery,
- Make a plan. Gather support from others before you begin. As you develop your plan, review the 4-H True Leaders in Service Toolkit. Numerous resources for 4-H Club leaders are available as they assist young people in developing community service projects and service learning experiences.
- Support relief organizations. One rule for disaster response is that individuals and organizations should never self-deploy. Don't just show up to help. The best way to help in disaster areas is to support relief organizations that are already established in the area. Contact local organizations to see what support they need. You can also check with your county Emergency Manager to check for assignments.
- Raise funds. Not all organizations need unsolicited donations of used clothing, food, or household items. It takes time to organize these items and they may not meet the needs of the survivors. Money is often the most useful donation.
- Verify: Be sure to verify the legitimacy of an organization before donating. One source to verify the legitimacy of an organization is Give.org from the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
- Nebraska 4-H Fundraising Policy: Funds raised can be used to support local recovery efforts. Please review the Nebraska 4-H Policy Handbook: Section 12 for policies and procedures for 4-H fundraising.
- Donate: We have had numerous 4-H clubs across the country requesting to support Nebraska 4-H youth, clubs, or families in specific program areas. The best way you can help a 4-H youth, club, or family, is by contributing funds directly to the 4-H'ers Helping 4-H'ers Fund. This fund fulfills requests that are specifically designated to 4-H program areas and allows the option to give to the area of greatest need.
Youth can play an important role in disaster recovery. Volunteering can provide a way for youth to make valuable contributions to their community, to help others, and be a way to deal with their own feelings. It is essential that adults provide safe ways to youth to volunteer. There are several things to consider before and during disaster clean-up.
- Make sure youth have permission slips to particpants in the activity.
- Make sure adults volunteers have completed the appropriate volunteer screening procedures.
- Take a first aid kit on location in case there is any injury.
- Wear suitable clothing and protective gear.
- Discuss what is appropriate behavior while volunteering.
The following resources provide ways to mitigate risk when volunteering:
- Flooded with 4-H Volunteers: A Guide to Managing 4-H Youth and Adult Volunteers During Disaster Recovery
- Youth Preparedness: Quick Tips to Mitigate Risks
- Youth Preparedness: Guide to Management for Youth Preparedness Programs
- Keeping Children Safe During Disaster Cleanup
- What to Wear Before Entering a Home or Building
Flood Recovery Resources
Inspiring Kids To Do
True Leaders Making a Difference
Throughout our nation's history, and at every positive turn of events, young people have stepped up to the challenge, provided the kind of passion, innovation, and leadership to drive positive transformation when it is most needed. This is the kind of youth leadership that Nebraska needs now.
This April, as part of True Leaders in Service and National Volunteer Appreciation Month, 4-H'ers across the nation will pledge their hands for larger service - leading positive change that empowers their peers and their communities. Take a few minutes to register your flood relief efforts.
Share how you are making a difference by assisting in the flooding recovery efforts that are taking place in Nebraska. Be sure to include the hashtags below in social media posts.
#NE4H | #TrueLeaders | #NebraskaFlood | #NebraskaStrong