Nearly one year ago, Lindsey Wells’ family lost their Panama City Beach home during Hurricane Michael. Now, she has accepted an internship with the Red Cross of Georgia’s Disaster Cycle Services team and plans to help others be better prepared for emergencies and disasters.
“I experienced first-hand that people are so vulnerable after a disaster and I want to be of assistance in any way I can,” said Lindsey, a student at Kennesaw State University.
Hurricane Michael, the 3rd strongest hurricane in U.S. history, tore the roof off the Wells’ home. The entire family was devasted to see a place full of happy memories destroyed. But, in the days, weeks and months following the storm, it was seeing the impact to the community, as a whole, that was hardest for Lindsey to grasp.
Now, she has taken proactive steps to do something about it.
“I decided to intern with the Red Cross because I was able to see just how important all of the volunteers at the Red Cross were in responding to Hurricane Michael and helping my neighbors start to recover.”
Lindsey learned about Red Cross internship opportunities through one of her professors at Kennesaw State University. She was immediately interested because natural disaster had already struck her home and her heart.
“My family was not prepared for Hurricane Michael in any way,” continued Lindsey. I think if we had any information on different aspects of emergency preparedness we could've better dealt with the damage to the house and our own emotions surrounding the unimaginable devastation.”
On August 21, 2019, Lindsey took her passion for helping others be better prepared for emergencies and disasters one step further, completing a Pillowcase Project instructor training course at the Red Cross of Georgia headquarters, in Atlanta. There, she joined over thirty volunteers and staff wanting to make a difference with local youth.
The Pillowcase Project is taught by Red Cross volunteers in places like schools and community centers - and aims to teach children in grades 3-5 how to be better prepared for home fires and larger-scale emergencies, like hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes. The curriculum, which Lindsey hopes to one day teach in metro Atlanta-area schools, also focuses on coping skills – to help children better deal with emotions that might arise before, during and after a strong storm. The course also highlights the importance of students sharing what they’ve learned with family and neighbors.
“I think it is important to engage kids in the conversation of emergency preparedness because there is always a slight chance they could be affected by a disaster. The information they receive during a Pillowcase Project presentation could save their lives.”
To learn more about the Pillowcase Project and tips on how to be better prepared for emergencies and disasters, visit RedCross.org