Happy Birthday, Junior Red Cross!
On September 8th, I celebrated my ninth year with the American Red Cross. I spent the morning in a Disaster Action Team orientation in San Francisco, further expanding my volunteer career into the world of Disaster Services. I am still amazed at all the new ways I can serve, even after nine years of experience.
The variety of volunteer opportunities at the American Red Cross is unique. Just yesterday I spent some time on the phone with former California State Senator Jackie Speier (prounounced “spear”), a prominent community leader, discussing her experiences as a Red Cross youth volunteer. Ms. Speier started volunteer with her high school Red Cross Club in 1965 and continued her Red Cross career as club president, Leadership Development Center (LDC) delegate and counselor and a National Convention participant. She credits LDC with giving her the confidence to lead and inspiring her to choose a career in public service and public office. She went on to serve as a policy maker and public servant for over 25 years, authoring groundbreaking legislation in health care, privacy, consumer protection, child welfare, education, and prison reform.
As I was interviewing Ms. Speier for our 90th anniversary celebration, I realized how similar our Red Cross volunteer career paths are. I was also transformed by LDC when I attended as a delegate and later served as a counselor for several years and by my first trip to National Convention in 2000. Both experiences gave me a new confidence and considerable knowledge about the expansive work of the American Red Cross. I am inspired by Ms. Speier’s example and I will think of her as I continue my lifelong career in public service.
The celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Junior Red Cross is a chance for us to step back and marvel at all we have accomplished. Together, we have created and taken advantage of excellent service delivery and leadership opportunities for young people in this organization, ensuring that the humanitarian work of the Red Cross Movement will continue. Here’s to the next 90 years!
Sandy Tesch, California