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White House Honors L.A. Region Preparedness

American Red Cross Monument at National Headquarters
Osas Otasowie, the faith-based coordinator for the Red Cross L.A. Region, is being recognized for her work collaborating with local agencies to help implement the first-ever Teen CERT program in the Watts neighborhood.

Sept. 24, 2013 – The White House recognized several American Red Cross chapter staff and programs today for their work engaging entire communities to be prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds. The events at the White House are a part of the White House Champions of Change and the FEMA Preparedness Awards.

Among the honorees are Osas Otasowie of the Los Angeles Region, along with other partner organizations, who received the 2013 John D. Solomon Award in the category of “Preparing the Whole Community” for their work aimed at encouraging youth to be ready for emergencies.

Otasowie, the faith-based coordinator for the Red Cross L.A. Region, is being recognized for her work collaborating with local agencies to help implement the first-ever Teen CERT program in the Watts neighborhood. The L.A. Region along with the L.A. City Fire Department, L.A. Police Department, Department of Public Health, Chaplain of the Watts Gang Task Force and other organizations hosted an event from February to May that focused on giving youth in Watts a vision for life outside of their “two blocks” through skill development, career training opportunities and preparedness training in CPR and First Aid.

“Being ready for a disaster isn’t hard, and it isn’t just about a ‘someday’ event,” said Russ Paulsen, executive director for the national Red Cross Community Preparedness and Resilience Services. “These chapters honored demonstrate that bringing community groups together is the best way to moving the needle in how people prepare for disasters.”

Other Red Cross chapters honored include the Northeast PA Region and the Gateway to the Golden State Region.