Farewell to Anjuli Sastry!
I remember stepping out into the warm Washington D.C. summer night in July 2009 after flying across the country for the first time by myself from California. It was my first National Youth Council meeting and I was only 16 at the time, about to go into my senior year of high school. As I waited for my luggage to come through with all the other checked-in bags, I remember my fellow council member who had also traveled with me telling me that this meeting would show me that I either loved the Red Cross or hated it. That certainly frightened me and I was at a loss about what to expect.
But not only was the airplane ride an independent experience in itself but the meeting that was to take place after would test my American Red Cross disaster knowledge, allow me to bond and interact with peers my own age and older, and put me in professional settings at Red Cross Headquarters time and time again. After that first meeting, I threw myself into national initiatives involving social media, countless conference calls with my team, and even took on the leadership role of secretary of the council. All these experiences have more led me to become the Vice-Chair of the council, a position I am proud of and can say I helped contributed to change with because of my fellow council members. Going to Washington D.C. on a quarterly basis has led me to create a loving family of fellow volunteers who chase after the same goals and initiatives just like me.
I can truly say being a part of the council has made me grow and mature into an adult. It has transformed my shy and timid former personality into a more confident and independent one and prepared me for my college career at UC Berkeley and whatever comes next. I will miss my Red Cross family, but I know they will take care of the council because of the care and effort they have put into all the projects we have worked on together. To my current council, this isn’t a good-bye, but a see-you-later. Remember to keep persevering and never give up on the Red Cross mission. I admit that it has been a hard journey at times, but I will always be a Red Cross life-er at heart.
NYC Member 2009-2012