The Savannah team implemented YARDS, a curriculum focused on cultivating BIPOC youth-led mapmaking and advocacy skills to build community resilience to intersecting natural disasters.
BIPOC communities tend to face disproportionately negative effects from disasters like hurricanes, flooding, heatwaves, and tornadoes, especially in coastal communities in Georgia. Parents can often be too busy to get involved in advocacy around disaster preparedness. Youth are a sizable yet vulnerable population in Savannah's westside communities, but youth programs can indirectly bring in families and the larger community. Community partners asked that we develop a curriculum - YARDS (Youth Advocacy for Resilience to Disasters) to help teach youth to become advocates for change around disaster resilience in their communities.
The Savannah team created and began evaluation and validation of YARDs (Youth Advocacy for Resilience to Disasters), a 14 session curriculum piloted with up to 54 underserved BIPOC youth in Savannah middle schools through one summer camp and up to three after-school program groups.
Students learn about disaster resiliency through the perspective of environmental justice, and learn virtual map making skills to design green infrastructure solutions to disaster resilience in their community. Students also learn about civic engagement and youth advocacy, presenting their plans and maps to local leaders to advocate for change.