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CSA Youth Finalist: Heather Jackson

Teenager stays very busy by helping others.
One of this month's Community Service Awards spotlights is a finalist for the Youth Humanitarian Award from Caddo Gap in Montgomery County.

Heather Jackson's many volunteer activities are centered around her school and 4-H Club at Murfreesboro and Kirby in neighboring Pike County.

On a Spring night in 2010, a flash flood turned a peaceful Arkansas riverside campground into a disaster scene.

Twenty people died, some simply because they were not prepared.

"I think they could have, lives could have been saved in that they could have got out quicker because if they had had that stuff they could have got out and been okay, and even if they were in the woods they had some of the survival things that they needed in there," says Heather.
                                               
"And she was really appalled at all the people that were killed and she decided that she wanted to prepare some disaster packs of materials to try to save a few lives," explains Pike County 4-H Program Assistant Avone Petty.    

So, the 4-H'er from Caddo Gap selected items for a disaster pack and put together a pamphlet, 25-hundred of which she distributed at several outlets, including Lake Greeson campsites.       

"It kinda helps people to tell them that there's somebody who cares and who is planning, and although Heather's a young lady and somebody older should have thought of this," says Marty Reynolds with the Army Corps of Engineers.

And she didn't forget her own school.

"Since then she has trained all of our students 7th through 12th grades and most of our faculty in disaster preparedness, just centered it around camping because of our lakes and rivers in the area. Lots of our students do that," says Carla Golden, a teacher for Kirby Schools.

"There's three different kinds of bees that live in one and that would be the drones, the queen, and the workers," Heather explains. Among other projects as part of her involvement in 4-H, she also presents a program on the importance of honey bees to Arkansas agriculture. 

And she sews diaper shirts and sundresses for children in a Zambian orphanage, as well as projects for the Ronald McDonald House, the Hope Migrant Missionary Project, and the Haitian Relief Fund.

And what has the response been to the disaster packs?       

"I've had a lot of people say it's a really good idea,and they go home and start packing," she says.

Heather says she just wants to make people aware that disaster can strike at any time, and we all need to be prepared.

The CSA's are co-sponsored by KARK, the Duncan Firm, the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Volunteerism, and the Office of the Governor.

Click here for nomination forms and more information on the CSA Awards.
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