Rebuilding From Devastation | Campaign for the American South
In the wake of the tornadoes which ravaged the South a few weeks ago, many young people reached out to Splashlife, wanting to find a role to play in the disaster relief efforts. In response to our members' call for action, we created a nationwide campaign in partnership with other concerned groups, from Rock the Vote to Mobilize.org, and in doing so we reached more than 7 million young people in less than a week's time.
Splashlife has now extended that campaign to cover the devastation caused by the tornado that just tore through Joplin, Missouri, which is being called the deadliest twister on record after claiming at least 117 lives. Our first round of posts on Splashlife.com inspired emails and phone calls that would break your heart. Calls from people who are missing loved ones in the tornado, emails from those who've turned their Mom & Pop restaurants into soup kitchens for the homeless and the hungry, and messages of all kinds from young people who've been affected by the tornado and who are seeking to find some kind of meaning out of their suffering and loss by turning to us and asking what role they might play to help others. We've invited them to tell their stories and join the relief efforts.
Splashlife is also following the efforts of Team Rubicon, a group of veterans we first encountered in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Team Rubicon is a nonprofit formed by recently returned veterans who wanted to put the unique skills they’d learned in the military to use as first responders in disaster and humanitarian crisis situations. First in Haiti and then in Pakistan, Jake Wood and co-founder William McNulty discovered that the opportunity to serve again in a constructive capacity is enormously beneficial to veterans who are struggling to transition back into civilian life. Young military veterans have the highest suicide rate of any group — more than 18 veterans take their lives daily. Team Rubicon’s missions help the healing process while bringing a much-needed, highly trained corps of first responders to disaster zones.
Splashlife sent a film crew and blogger to interview Team Rubicon in Alabama at the epicenter of the tornado disaster. But just as we were finishing the first cut of the video from the Alabama mission, we discovered that Team Rubicon was heading out to Joplin. The video we shot is now up on Splashlife.com, and we want to support their efforts in every way that we can.
“As the founder of Splashlife, it's moments like this that make me realize why we built this company,” says Splashlife CEO Melissa Helmbrecht. “Splashlife serves many purposes, as it informs, entertains, and makes life more 'deal-able' for those coming of age in this challenging time. But most of all, for me, Splashlife was intended to be a place that young people know to come to first, as they try to make sense out of life's storms — real and metaphorical, big and small.”
Splashlife and the “Rebuilding From Devastation” partners — Youth Service America, Takepart.com, Rock the Vote, the National Conference on Citizenship, Mobilize.org, Team Rubicon, the University of Alabama’s On Campus Veterans Association, EDAR and Universal Giving — not only hope to bring awareness back to rebuilding the devastated regions in the South and Missouri, and assisting those in need, but also to show the power and impact of a group of young people whose purpose is to serve others. It is their firm belief, after all, that today’s young people can and will change the world.
By coming together and mobilizing when it matters most, groups like Team Rubicon have already proven that even amidst waist-deep debris and devastation, what still stands is the courage and strength of a Generation.