Helping After a Disaster
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The Girl Scout National Program Team has developed two program resources that demonstrate how the Girl Scout Leadership Experience is all about helping girls be leaders in times of disaster. These resources also give tips and examples for engaging girls who want to help out:
- What Can a Girl Scout Do When Disaster Strikes? is a girl-friendly tip sheet that girls of all grade levels can use to channel their leadership experiences toward helping out in times of disaster. It can be downloaded on ForGirls.girlscouts.org/Disaster-Response.
- What Girl Scout Leadership Looks Like in Times of Disaster was developed for council staff and volunteers to help adults guide girls who want to know how they can help after a disaster. Download it here.
Girl Scout troops can always donate some of their funds to disaster relief, as long as it is a decision made by the girls. Girl Scouts are not allowed to directly raise funds for disaster relief unless Girl Scouts of America specifically lifts the fundraising restriction. We will keep you informed if the fundraising policy is amended by GSUSA.
For now, Girl Scout troops interested in helping should work through local community groups to assist in relief efforts. Please remember that donated dollars always help more than donated items, as the logistics of mailing and distributing these items are not practical after a disaster strikes. Charity Watch recommends that rather than attempting to donate clothing or other supplies, people can have a garage sale and then turn their used goods into cash that can be sent to a charity which will use the funds wisely.
The Red Cross: Red Cross is accepting donations either online or via text message. Simply text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.
We know that disaster activity and the images of disasters can be especially frightening for children. We urge our members to talk with youth to help them process their feelings and feel better prepared.
One of the best ways to help children with disaster-related fears is to engage them in disaster preparedness. Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, some Girl Scouts NorCal troops learned how to better prepare themselves and their families for emergency situations while earning the Emergency Preparedness Patch offered through the Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capital. Developed in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, this program helps Girl Scouts:
- DISCOVER information to prepare them for emergency situations;
- CONNECT to their communities, both locally and nationally, as they identify agencies that work to protect their communities; and
- TAKE ACTION by identifying community needs and supporting public safety and emergency preparedness in their communities.
You can find information about the Girl Scout Emergency Preparedness Patch by clicking here, and a downloadable preparedness activity book is available online here.