Upon my graduation with my undergraduate degree from Kent State University in 2012, I began searching for a job in the, somewhat general, field of ‘humanitarian aid’. Little did I know then that gaining a starting job in this field can be quite difficult, especially without practical experience. This is why when I discovered that my course offered a work placement module I was quick to sign up to take it. As an International Disaster Management master’s student I wanted to do my placement at an organization that was somehow tied to either emergency or disaster management. I was happy to see that the second round of organizations for us to choose from included several more that were focused on emergency management.

Luckily for me, I received my first choice of placements and began with the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum in December! The project I was to complete for my placement was to create a ‘worksheet’ for children to teach about disaster resilience and preparedness. As this worksheet was supposed to be for children it was to include games and activities so that it was fun and engaging for the children. I was very excited to be able to design and create this worksheet all on my own. During my undergraduate degree I took several design classes and have used these design and computer skills several times in the past for previous jobs, but I have not been able to utilize them thus far during my master’s education. After brainstorming different ideas and games with the team I was to be working with, I began to draft the worksheet.

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The worksheet I produced during my placement

There were four drafts of the worksheet before I came to the final draft, which can be seen below. After deciding that the worksheet should be aimed at 7-10 year olds, I had to adjust a few of the games I created to suit that specific age group. I do not, however, have any children so it was important that I talk to a few of the team members that did have children in order to get their thoughts on what their children would and would not like to do. In the end, I designed four activities/games centered around emergency management in Manchester. These four games included a maze, a word search, a match and word unscramble, and a dot-to-dot.

Creating these games was fun, but actually more difficult than I had originally imagined. The word search was the most challenging to create because every small change turned into changing almost the entire thing. Having my team review the worksheet after each draft was very important and helped me catch any small mistakes that I might otherwise have missed, such as accidental words in the word search! Once the final draft of the worksheet was complete, I accompanied the team to their quarterly Regional Development (RDG) meeting and presented it to the entire group. Not only was this a good experience, but I was also able to see firsthand the positive reception the worksheet received from the group. Overall, I really enjoyed working on the worksheet, and it is really nice to be able to have a tangible product from all my hard work!

For more information about the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum go to: http://www.gmemergencyplanning.org.uk/gmprepared/site/index.php

Or to view their online education games for children go to:

http://www.gmemergencyplanning.org.uk/info/19/kids_emergency_planning_corner

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