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From Here To Haiti

By It's My Life on January 14, 2010 4:41 PM | No TrackBacks

earthquake.jpgMore bad news in the headlines, Very, very, very bad news. As you know, on Tuesday a massive 7.0 earthquake hit Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Tens of thousands are dead, and an estimated 3 million people have been affected by the disaster. Add those numbers into the fact that children under 18 make up 50% of Haiti's population of 10 million people. OMG!

How can we help? At the very least, we can stay aware of what's happening on websites like Share your knowledge with friends and family. Beyond that, the word from relief agencies is that they need money. Lots of it! So if you and your family haven't already, please consider making a donation; it's a tough economic time but everyone can give a little.

First, you could donate your own money. Look at what you have saved up. Can you spare $10? Then encourage family members to follow your example and collect "pledges" to create a lump donation to relief efforts (even if it's a small one, more like a glob). Websites like,, and all accept donations for disaster relief efforts.

You can also make it a group effort by doing something fun with friends that will raise a little money. A lemonade stand, a garage sale, things like that. Make a Saturday out of it and you'll be surprised at what a good time you'll have. Read more of IML's tips for fundraising.

Another thing to think about is this: disasters don't just strike far away. Fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes are common in the U.S. That can make us feel a little freaked out when we read about it happening somewhere else. It's actually a great opportunity to come up with or review a disaster plan for your family -- a "to do" list for what needs to happen in case of an emergency. Here are some tips:

  • Contact your local American Red Cross chapter and find out what disasters are most likely to happen in your community. Ask how you would be warned and find out how to prepare for different types of disasters. Start by logging on to for more information.

  • Hold a family meeting to discuss the kinds of disasters that could occur. Explain how to prepare and respond. Practice what you discussed.

  • Plan how your family will stay in contact if separated by disaster. Pick two meeting places:
    1) A location a safe distance from your home in case of fire.
    2) A place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home.

  • Choose an out-of-state friend as a "check-in contact" for everyone to call.

  • Post emergency telephone numbers (police, fire department, ambulance, etc.) by every phone.

  • Make sure your parents know how and when to shut off water, gas and electricity at main switches. If they don't, make sure they learn!

  • Install a smoke detector on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Test monthly and change the batteries two times each year.

  • Contact your local fire department to learn about home fire hazards.

  • Learn first aid and CPR. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for information and training.

  • Meet with your neighbors. Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster. Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Adults should come up with a childcare plan in case parents can't get home.
For more tips, check out

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