National Youth Council Blog: Hanna Malak
My name is Hanna Malak, and I started volunteering with the American Red Cross in 2010. I am on the tail end of my third year with the National Youth Council. It all started my sophomore year of college when I was selected to take part in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics ( NAIA)/ Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program. The NAIA program is a two week program where NAIA student athletes visit our National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and learn about the American Red Cross. Since the program in 2010 I have been able to get involved in a variety of different Red Cross programs which I am excited to share with you in this blog.
Menlo College Red Cross Club
After the NAIA program, I came back to Menlo College excited about the Red Cross and started a Red Cross Club on campus. Our main focus was blood drives but we also wrote letters to soldiers a part of the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. Before, the NAIA program, Menlo College held small blood drives on campus collecting about 15-20 units (1 unit = 1 person’s donation). After the NAIA program we were able to collect 65 units tripling the number of units collected. I loved every minute of it but if I could go back I would have had our club get involved in fundraising for the Red Cross and also some preparedness programs. A Red Cross club experience was a lot of fun and I was able to develop leadership skills by leading meetings and organizing blood drives.
Board of Directors
As a part of the NAIA program I was able to join the Board of Directors for the Northern California Blood Region representing youth and young adults. I attended quarterly meetings where we were given updates on our local blood supply, programs and initiatives. I was able to join a few committees including a committee to help recruit donors during the holiday season which tends to be a difficult time to recruit blood donors. We were able to come up with some creative ways to recruit donors during the holidays. It was at a board meeting where our Chair recommended me to apply for the National Youth Council. I did not know what I was getting myself into but it is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
National Youth Council (NYC)
In 2011 I applied and was selected for a three year term on the National Youth Council. I first joined a marketing working group that maintained the NYC’s social media platforms and worked with the marketing department at our National Headquarters providing feedback on different marketing campaigns. I then worked with the working group that helped develop the new layout to our website redcrossyouth.org . I served as the vice-chair to the national youth council for 6 months before I transitioned to an advisor role as I began my role as a Donor Recruiter for the Northern California Blood Region. My term on the National Youth Council is coming to an end but I am so thrilled with where we are today in terms of representing youth and the resources we have in place.
In August of 2012, I started working for the Red Cross as a donor recruiter and instantly fell in love with my job! I am responsible for recruiting new groups to hold blood drives and educating them on the need for blood, the process of donating. My older brother had cancer as a child and received many blood transfusions and helping to recruit donors is my way of giving back. I am able to work with Red Cross Clubs, leadership classes, churches, and different businesses on blood drives. It is crazy to think that every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Remember that the number one reason that people do not donate is because they were never asked. The number two reason is fear of needles. I have to admit that I too am fearful of needles but I understand the need for blood and honestly, donating blood is easy and painless.
I have been able to host some fun blood drives including D-League Basketball teams, the Zombie Mobb MC, a local biker group and even Roller Derby Leagues. I have also been able to hold some fun themed blood drives like our “Friends” blood drive where we had a TV showing episodes of friends and students were encouraged to donate blood with their friends. Please consider holding a blood drive or throwing a fun theme on your next blood drive. Visit redcrossblood.org for more info on hosting a blood drive.
In 2013 I joined the Silicon Valley Club Red at my local chapter. Club Red is the young professionals club which allowed me and many others to stay involved with the Red Cross after graduating college. I highly encourage everyone to join their Club Red or look into started a Club Red after college. Check out some resources for youth professionals here.
Our Club has done some very cool projects including a young professional mixer where we wrote cards for soldiers. We also did a Valentine’s Day card signing for blood donors. We are currently working on a put-put golf tournament fundraiser for the Red Cross. Club Red is a great way to stay involved with the Red Cross, to meet new people, and to do some community service.
If you have any questions feel free to contact Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Hanna’s bio and other NYC members’ full bios, click here.